NACZ Legends awards a damp squib

ON Saturday, the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) grabbed national attention by holding an awards ceremony purportedly to honour 40 living legends in the arts sector, but the event turned out to be a damp squib after it left out real veterans of the arts sector.

The omission placed the famed organisation’s integrity at stake.

We wonder why this great national institution has failed to learn from its past mistakes.

Saturday’s event must not go unchallenged.

Apart from recognising doyens of the arts sector, the event was also meant to celebrate the country’s 40th independence anniversary and NACZ’s 35 years of existence.


But following the disgraceful outcome, there was nothing much to celebrate except growing anger and disdain as the bulk of artists who deserved to be recognised as legends were missing on the selectors’ final list.

What a shame!

We have always and will continue questioning the integrity of events that “celebrate” the cream of living Zimbabwean artists but end up doing the opposite.

Honestly, how could NACZ fail to recognise music gurus such as Jonah Moyo, Busi Ncube, and gospel icons like Machanic Manyeruke, Charles and Olivia Charamba, among others?

That is how fraudulent last Saturday’s event was.

We are not against honouring artistes who have made a mark on the country’s showbiz, but we get worried when unknown entities and newcomers are given the legends’ tag ahead of veterans who have stood the test of time and kept the wheels of the sector turning even without monetary gain.

Surely, that won’t cultivate a vibrant arts sector.

NACZ’s weekend awards to artists from diverse disciplines that included mbira instrument makers, film, theatre, music, dance, visual arts, literary arts and the spoken word, left a lot to be desired.

This is why the council’s awards have always hogged the limelight for the wrong reasons.  The arts mother body should jealously protect its brand and stop celebrating mediocrity.

While NACZ claims that there was a rigorous exercise that enabled its adjudicators to come up with a truly representative list of legendary contributors to the creative sector in Zimbabwe over the past 40 years, their choice leaves a lot to be desired.


NACZ must put its house in order.