Guma Guma’s hyped up live TV debut flops

Saturday June 30 2012
guma guma

The Urban Boys on stage during the Primus Guma Guma Superstar Season II competition. Photo/Cyril Ndegeya

The stage was awesome, the lighting super, the backup band excellent, the cameras were rolling and the sitting arrangement was splendid but there was one thing missing— the live telecast that had been planned.

It was meant to be the first show relayed live on the state broadcaster —Rwanda Television (TVR) — and the first time for the 10 artistes competing in the Primus Guma Guma Superstar Season II competition to perform live before an audience did not turn out that way.

According to sources, East African Promoters (EAP), the organisers of the Bralirwa sponsored competition, had been preparing the ground for two weeks — setting up the stage, ensuring that the lighting was perfect and that the back-up band had the right vocals.

It only turned out later that the red carpet event at the Private Sector Federation Expo Tent was not going to be relayed live on TV.

The MC of the evening, Lion Imanzi, did not mention to the invitees that the event was not being aired live, instead diverting the audience with wit and charm throughout the show.

However, it was obvious something was wrong when he started calling the musicians quickly on stage without his usual intriguing, tension-filled build-up.


He asked them to do one song and a quick interview each. The whole event was over in about 40 minutes — that was quick compared with the previous live shows.

But while all seemed well, at least for the guests, a heated argument between national broadcaster Orinfor, EAP and Bralirwa officials had been going on in the background.

Rwanda TV had deployed the outside broadcasting van earlier in the day, installed cameras in the tent ready to relay the event only to fail to transmit to the television sets of anxious Rwandans.

The social media were awash with complaints about this failure, even before the end of the first act. “Again these guys cannot show us PGGSS. Oh TVR, very disappointed,” ranted one Fiona on Twitter.

An Orinfor technician told me, “There was a misunderstanding between Bralirwa, EAP and the Broadband Company BSC. We were initially to use the fibre optic to relay the event but we think there was a misunderstanding about who would pay for the fibre optic.”

“We usually use our transmitter which we could have installed earlier on over there but it was impossible to do that by the time we got to know,” the technician said.

According to the technician, Orinfor pockets Rwf6 million ($10,050.2) for one hour of every live show.

Inside the tent, the performances were going well, with King James, who was the first on stage, exhibiting the stage presence that almost won him the top prize last year.

The R&B singer with his back-up singers, put on a breath-taking performance of Buhoro Buhoro and Parapara, in between breaking it up to display a few groin clutching Michael Jackson moves which mesmerised the crowd.

The rookie Danny Nanone appeared on stage in a full ceremonial army gear with two models, rapping through his Ijanisha to the approval of the crowd.

Rapper Riderman, known for his stage power, was once again spot on, performing Mwitende with a queen dancer whose x-rated moves would have been a disaster for live TV, though the performance itself was awesome.

Knowles, one of the two female contestants, proved that she is out to get the money. Dressed in a long, low cut glittering black dress with a knee-high slit, she looked splendid during the performance. Her backup dancers, a perfect salsa dancing couple added value to an already good show.

Hip hop gurus Jay Polly and Bulldog again proved that they are a force to reckon with. The youngest in the pack, rapper Young Grace, also exhibited talent.

Just Family, well knowing that they might not be among the favourites, did put up a good closing performance, energetically performing Arahebuje, despite their unusual fashion sense.

The other groups in the competition, also top contenders, Urban Boys and Dream Boys, were equally good.

Despite not airing for the voters, two contestants will leave the show this week.

Immediately after the performances, a CD containing the recording was rushed to RTV, which broadcast it just in time for a few people who had not given up to catch a glimpse of what transpired.