THE awards season climaxes this Saturday as the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) hosts the 19th edition of the National Arts Merit Awards (Nama), which have been dubbed the “Mother of Arts Awards”.
Marshalled by Napoleon “Napster” Nyanhi of Jacaranda Culture and Media Corporation (JCMC) the Nama ceremony is set to give a befitting end to the awards season.
The choice of venue, which is the colossal Harare International Conference Centre (HICC). and a star-studded line-up of performers that includes sungura king Alick Macheso, Jah Prayzah, Freeman, Ammara Brown, Gemma Griffiths, Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana among others, speaks volumes of the hosts’ intentions.
Previous editions of the event hosted in the capital have been held at much smaller venues like the 7 Arts Theatre and Reps Theatre.
But the 18th edition of the ceremony took place at the HICC making this the second year running at the giant auditorium.
Furthermore, the ceremony will for the first time in over five years be open to the public. Past ceremonies have been strictly by invitation.
Members of the public who wish to attend are expected to fork out $200 for an ordinary ticket while the VIP pass is pegged at $500. Nama comes at a time when every other awards ceremony in the arts has already taken place.
The awards season kicked off with the Zim Hip-Hop Awards on December 13 2019, followed by the Zimbabwe Music Awards (Zima) on January 25, and the Zim Dancehall Awards (February 14) and the Star FM Music Awards that were expected to take place last night.
And this coming Wednesday, the Dancers’ Association of Zimbabwe will honour excelling members of their union through an awards ceremony slated for the capital.
This event will certainly be a consolation to dancers as none of their groups or individual members are part of this year’s edition of Nama. Adjudicators of Nama did not list any nominee in the dance and choreography genres amid revelations that they felt there was lack of creativity in the genres in question.
However, artistes from other genres falling under categories like spoken word, literary arts, theatre, visual arts, film and television, media and music will get a chance to battle for honours at the country’s premier arts awards event.
Pundits note the diverse competition on the local awards scene brings vibrancy to the overall arts sector.
Awards give artistes an extra push in their respective trade thus it is imperative to recognise and reward excelling individuals or groups.
The 19th edition of Nama comes at a special time as Zimbabwe celebrates 40 years of self-rule on April 18.
Accordingly, organisers of the event are pulling out all the stops to guarantee not only a total success of the event but a bigger and better edition.
A carnival atmosphere is expected to engulf the HICC this Saturday. The NACZ enlisted services of top service providers to ensure smooth flow of business on the day.
Chairperson of the Nama adjudication panel Prof Ruby Magosvongwe said due diligence had been observed to give credence to the awards.
“These awards are in response to industry needs and their introduction follows sector-wide consultations. The NACZ would at this juncture like to extend its gratitude to all artistes, production houses, producers, media houses, promoters, creative stables, arts organisations and institutions for their participation as it keeps the Nama brand alive,” she said.
While every Nama awards category is equally important, it is without doubt that the most attention will be on the music category. But unlike in previous editions, the battle this time around will be mostly among the tenderfeet.
Newcomers Darlington Mutseta aka Mambo Dhuterere and Tinashe Gonzara better known as Ti Gonzi will battle it out with Wallace Chirumiko, real name Winky D, in the Outstanding Male Musician category.
It will also be a tight contest as Mambo Dhuterere goes head-to-head with Freeman and Willis Wataffi for the Outstanding Album award.
Freeman and Alick Macheso’s “Ngaibake”, “Kure”, “MuGarden” and Mambo Dhuterere’s “Mweya Ndisesekedze” make the nominees list in the Outstanding Song.
Panganayi Hare will represent the sungura family as he battles Ishan and King 98 for Outstanding Newcomer.