Local act protests SABC’s decision

2010-05-21 00:00

RUNNERS-UP in the Song for Bafana Competition have challenged the decision by SABC to choose Don Clarke as the winner of the contest.

Jude, a group of five members from Imbali and Northdale, decided to challenge the SABC because they feel they have been robbed of a chance to represent Bafana Bafana during the Fifa 2010 World Cup.

Said Daniel Chetty, a group member: “We feel very betrayed by the SABC because they should have checked for the legitimacy of all the contestants to ensure that the judgment is fair to everyone.

“It’s like David and Goliath, but at least David knew who he was up against, whereas we never knew until the end.

“We did a home amateur recording and we put our hearts into this thing and all our singing abilities,” Chetty said.

He said the SABC judges violated the rules when they chose Don Clarke and his band as winners of the Song for Bafana Competition.

“Professional recording artists/companies may not enter the competition. This is the rule that the panel of judges failed to recognise when choosing the winner,” Chetty added.

“We lodged a complaint with Kaizer Kganyago from SABC telephonically on the May 14, and he requested our grievances be forwarded to him in writing and he would take the matter to the relevant people.

“We were unaware of the fact that Don Clarke was a professional songwriter.”

Responding to the allegations, Don Clarke said: “Firstly, I am distressed that these allegations have come from the other contestants, and on a personal level am deeply hurt by the whole situation.

“I have been a professional songwriter for some time and have a private studio in my home in the Drakensberg. As part of the process of writing songs for presentation to my various clients, I need to record professional demos of varying quality. This should be obvious.

“But the greater portion of my work involves the writing and production of songs on a spec basis in the hope that major recording artists will cover these. In this respect I have been quite successful, especially in the Afrikaans market,” said Clarke.

However, Clarke said he has never been signed to any record company as a professional recording artist, nor have any of his recordings been professionally marketed or distributed in terms of such a contract for financial gain.

“It would probably be best to illustrate this by saying that a thorough search within the entire record industry of this country would not reveal a single album recorded by a professional recording artist called Don Clarke,” he said.

“A similar search, however, would reveal that I am well known as a songwriter.

“Perhaps some confusion has come about because, about three years ago, I won a song competition initiated by the organisers of the Splashy Fen Festival who were searching for a song to represent the spirit of the festival.

“I won this competition and was obliged to submit my demo of the song to the organisers for inclusion on a compilation album which, in very limited numbers, was sold at the festival that year. I was, however, not paid anything from the proceeds of this album, so this cannot be regarded as a professional contribution,” said Clarke.

The SABC could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.

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