Apostolic choral groups are furious over their omission at this year’s edition of the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) that were held in Bulawayo recently.

This is not happening for the first time, as last year’s edition went without a nominee before the arts board removed the category completely. And this has left apostolic choral groups fuming for recognition.

Apostolic choral music gained popularity in 1999 with Vabati VaJehovah being the pioneers. And since then the genre became popular with many groups emerging.

In an interview with RelZim.org, many such groups blasted National Arts Council for not considering the efforts of Apostolic choral groups.

Richard Magaya, a member of Vabati VaJehovah said he felt betrayed over the issue, as choral music is still popular in the country.

He said they submitted their albums long before but were surprised to find out that their efforts went in vain. “Last year the category went without any nominee and we never got the reasons. This year the category is not even there, which means we are being let down by our own body.

They did not give us the reason why there are no winners in the category for the past two editions and the confusing thing is that the genre is still very popular and many groups are keeping on rising,” he said.

Vabati VaJehovah won the award two times.

Alouis Kurima , leader of Mabasa Avatumwa another choral group whose hit song ‘Mandigonera’ was voted Best Choral Song in 2010, echoed the same sentiments.

“I still remember last year that we submitted our forms at NACZ. We were four groups: Vabati VaJehovah, Hwayana DzaJehovah, [we] and Chiedza Chevatendi. Our category written no nominee.

Choral music is still going strong and we will continue with it despite NACZ ignoring our efforts.This is not fair at all. We are doing much for the industry and we need to be recognized like other artists,” fumed Kurima.

Tapiwa Chibaya, leader of Chiedza Chevatendi said, “NACZ should announce that choral music is no longer accepted because it is disappointing to note that we are not being considered despite our efforts.”

Attempts to get a comment from National Arts Council were fruitless.