Tanzania: Could This Be a Year Without Kili Awards?

The year is at the half way mark and still there is no hint at all on when the Kilimanjaro Tanzania Music awards will take place.

Tanzania Music Awards are national music awards held annually in Tanzania. They are also known as the Kilimanjaro Music Awards or the Kili Music Awards after their sponsor (Kilimanjaro Premium Lager).

The awards were established in 1999 by the National Arts Council (Basata).

The Kili music awards have since its inception been one of the most consistent awards ceremony in the region that has survived as others such as Kisima and PAM awards got wobbly.

Authorities at the helm are tight lipped and they maintain that they are not time barred whatsoever and that they will soon make an announcement.

Even the Facebook page carries a similar promise as the latest update says ‘Kili Music Tour Coming Soon’.

“No, No we are just working on certain logistics and when the time is right we shall announce the dates when the awards shall take place.

These awards as you know don’t have a specific date when they are supposed to take place,” said an official from the National Arts Council (Basata).

As for the sponsors, they too maintain that when the time is right they shall make the announcement and that there is no need for panic.

According to some observers, the sponsors signed a five-year deal with the National Arts Council; it is therefore a bit confusing why the awards don’t have a particular calendar.

“What the sponsors signed was an exclusive deal which means there is supposed to be more certainty in the organisation of these awards instead of the guess work that we have been thrown into,” says a former academy member who preferred anonymity.

By all accounts it is getting rather late and the earliest these awards can take place after all the due procedures have taken place then it could be sometime in August but that is only IF! These might sound like assurances to the anxious followers out there but in the same vein very worrying moments for the industry and all that it stands for.

By holding the awards rather belatedly means the main purpose for this prestigious awards night will have been overtaken by events.


Kili Music awards is vote oriented which until the last edition depended largely on the votes cast to determine the winner of a given category.

Engaging voters to determine artistes whose songs dominated the airwaves in 2015 some nine months later will be such a tall order and the outcome won’t be one that many had desired.

“You remember last year how some of the prominent songs lost out due to the fact that they had been released earlier on and the so-called teams ganged up to turn the awards into their personal play grounds to vent their anger against one another,” says one pundit.

As we have witnessed in the last couple of events voters at these awards voter for some of the most trivial reasons and sometimes for reasons that are rather unmusical.

The awards risk bringing songs that were outside the timeframe that is supposed to be contested for by such unwarranted delays.

As a matter of fact, hosting these awards cost hundreds of millions and given the changes that have taken place in recent months countrywide there is fear that the pulling the plug on the awards.

Should this turn out to be the truth then it would mean that Basata will have to look for some quick fixes to keep the awards afloat something that will not be easy in such a short period.

Lack of an alternative

The Kili awards have in the past 16 years enjoyed the monopoly of being the only awards where musicians are awarded annually making it the point of reference for the success of every Tanzanian artiste.

Unlike in other countries where there are several such awards which honour different genres here it was Basata’s monopoly with no awards being registered during this period.

According to pundits this was shot in the foot because these other awards would have come in handy in times of uncertainty to fill in the gap.

“Should the awards fail to take place then the blame should squarely go to Basata for its failure to diversify, first in terms of the sponsorship deals and then second not giving room for other such awards to flourish,” says an analyst with one of the radio stations.

Any losers?

There are losers each time such awards don’t take place but of course the most obvious one is the artiste who lose out on the promotions that these awards offer and the glory of being recognized on the final day. But perhaps even more critical is the fact that as the norm has been in the past three years or so, after the events the winners are taken on a countrywide tour. The Kilimanjaro Winners’ Tours are not a free bus ride, they are paid handsome fees and this is where the true worth of the awards come in play. In an era where hard copies of CD no longer sell, live performances are the only source of income for today’s artiste.

Therefore, this will not be any good news for the artistes in any way and besides it is only through such tours that the countryside fans get to see some of these artistes.

Source: The Citizen