Tafadzwa Zimoyo Senior Arts Reporter
Founder of local talent search show StarBrite, Barney Mpariwa, says lack of resources to fund the programme has taken off its glitz and glamour. Mpariwa’s comments come on the backdrop of inccessant criticism from some sections of society who feel that the talent show has failed to blossom over the years.
Mpariwa said they have creative ideas, but were failing to implement them because of funding challenges.
He, however, said the show was continuing to grow despite the criticism and lack of sponsorship from corporates and other major stakeholders in the arts sector.
“People want us to be like American Idols or South African Idols, but what they are forgetting is that those shows came after us,” said Mpariwa. “We are not getting the support we want from some of the biggest shareholders in the arts sector.
“I work with money from my pocket and we only get some resources to use from well-wishers. We now rely on resources from well-wishers to give to our winners.
“For now, our winners get residential stands, 20 000 bricks and solar packages among other prizes.”
Mpariwa said some of their products were already winners in some circles and he cited Ishan of the hit song “Kure” as a good example.
“He is a product of StarBrite,” he said. “Surprisingly, not any awards show has recognised us but we are the only surviving talent show in the country.”
Mpariwa said it would have been justified if criticism was centred on the talent as anything else was beyond their control.
He highlighted some of the attempts they had made to improve the show’s quality, including engaging reputable personnel.
“StarBrite is making a difference in many people’s lives and we are proud of that,” he said. “The talent for this year is exciting.”
Asked on the integrity of the judges, Mpariwa said they had a renowned panel which included seasoned guitarist Clive Mono Mukundu, media personality Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa and journalist Robert Mukondiwa, who were working on voluntary basis.
“I think it is difficult to please people,” he said. “They once blasted my former judges, saying they didn’t know what they were doing and I worked on that by engaging reputable personnel. If you check the panel, you can tell that they are respected individuals who have good credentials.”
Mpariwa said they had dedicated Season 7 finale to the late James Chimombe, with all contestants expected to perform his songs at the event to be held tonight at Woods Sensation Club in Harare.