B-METRO Showbiz reporter and social media coordinator Langalakhe Mabena was crowned the Outstanding Arts Journalist (across board) at the Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards (RoilBAAs) which were held at the Large City Hall on 24 December.
It was third time lucky for the gifted scribe as the prestigious gong had eluded him twice before, after he had been nominated.
Langalakhe has come of age with accurate and consistent cutting-edge showbiz reportage in picturesque language, which has earned him huge respect in the industry.
Mabena shrugged off stiff competition from three other equally exceptional journalists; Bruce Ndlovu from our sister paper Sunday News, News Day’s Sharon Sibindi and Thembi Terry Whande from Ingudukazi Magazine.
Ever humble, an ecstatic Mabena did not have much to say when he received the career milestone award.
He commended the RoilBAAs for recognising his works and acknowledged the readers who voted for him.
“This is the third time that I was nominated at the RoilBAAs in this category and finally, I have managed to scoop the award. I believe hard work, consistence and belief in myself has made it possible for me to be crowned the Outstanding Arts Journalist this year.
“I commend the RoilBAAs for coming up with such a platform that decorates those who work hard. I also thank the readers who voted for me, and of paramount importance, the B-Metro editorial team who are an invaluable support structure to my work,” said Mabena.
Mabena is often described as a controversial scribe in local showbiz and on social media.
Last year, he ran a series of stories exposing the state of life of internet sensation Skhosana Buhlungu who lived in poverty in the thickets of Nkayi, the chaos surrounding his music and its call for suppression and censorship by the “mafias”.
The series raised alarm, trending on social media, locally and abroad such that well-wishers built a modern homestead for Sikhosana and donated livestock to the Dlala Nthethe hit-maker.
To add more to his mettle, this year he wrote Lerato “Nqindi” Ndlovu the poet’s life story, where he laid bare, the life of the underrated yet gifted lyricist.
He praised Nqindi as a gem in a swath of barren land in Ntalale ward, Gwanda, Matabeleland South.
Mabena believes local creatives should embrace constructive criticism to grow as artistes and the industry as a whole.
Paraphrasing George Orwell he said: “Journalism is writing what someone else doesn’t want printed. Anything apart from that is public relations and that doesn’t change or fight the obstacles that our local artistes are facing.
“Constructive criticism must be embraced so that we can have progressive dialogue, correct where things are wrong, if need be, as well as embrace the artistry in creatives from our region,” said Mabena.