Monday January 20 2014

Viga Awards return

Nick Nyombi is the brain behind the Viga Awards.

Nick Nyombi is the brain behind the Viga Awards. PHOTO BY EDGAR R. BATTE 

By Edgar R. Batte

The Victoria Gospel Academy (Viga) awards are back and are to be launched at the end of this month. Nicholas Nyombi, the awards’ team leader, says winners will be awarded on Good Friday, April 18 at Lugogo Main Exhibition Hall. The awards aim at championing social transformation through music and media.

Nyombi says he got this idea because he has a passion for music and the media. “I can say it is an inspiration from God because I always prayed to God to enable me do things that I like, by serving God and helping society as well as earning a living from it. Viga is actually my dream come true.”

But the journey of these awards has not been smooth. The organisers have experienced their share of challenges. That is why they have not been held since 2008. “We had financial challenges and a few members of the team left. But we took it as an opportunity to restructure and come back stronger,” Nyombi explains. He talks of a team but in reality it was Nyombi doing the running-around to make sure he kept the awards on the social calendar.

He says, “It has been an excellent opportunity to grow my faith in God because there are times when I thought things were not going to happen and somehow we were through it. Now in all that I do, I trust God with all my understanding because He is the one who gives success,” he quotes Proverbs 3:5-6.

Even if the awards haven’t been held for close to six years, the thought of giving up has never crossed his mind. “No never. I can never give up,” he firmly says. Nyombi says that part of the reason the awards have not been consistently held is because Christian events and activities are assumed to be free and non-commercial.

“That is one of the challenges we faced when we were starting out. Paying for gospel concerts was taboo and sponsorship was not coming through. I had to rely on my savings and most times expecting no returns,” he explains what he went through to keep holding the awards before he took a break.

Amidst all this, Nyombi still lists his dreams and has kept an eye on them. “We seek to professionalise the gospel music industry. The music industry must be structured to recognise the different arms i.e. labels, promoters, managers, distributors, copyright etc, and also appreciate it’s a commercial entity,” he adds.

Offering his thought about the gospel music scene, Nyombi says that the local music industry is growing at a terrific speed but the traditional gospel artistes and the church are yet to appreciate the status quo.