Entertainment - Featured - November 24, 2020

NAMA awards suspension of categories, artists react

THE suspension of categories of the National Merit Awards (NAMA) due to COVID-19 ripples has affected the societies and the arts industry.

National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) the board that regulates the arts sector temporarily suspends the usual esteemed NAMA categories.

The move by NACZ has brought mixed feelings over the key stakeholders since some of them had defied odds in their creative spaces to produce competitive content.

In an interview with Business Mail Showbiz, NACZ Communication and Marketing Manager Rodney Ruwende said that they are now honoring 40 legends who have contributed to the development of the sector.

“It is prudent to celebrate the 40 legends who have contributed to the development of the arts sector over the stated period as well as to inspire other young artists who have been affected by the COVID-19 induced lockdowns to get back to their creative spaces and create pieces that will make them the legends of the future,” Ruwende said.

“The strategic postponement of the 20th NAMA is meant to allow artists to go back to their workspaces and create new products which can be distributed and accessed by the people so that the works produced can meet the judgment criteria for NAMA.

“Therefore as NACZ we have opened up the platform for artists to start working right now and their works will then be considered over the prolonged period,” Ruwende said.

The deferred NAMA will reward artworks crafted in the period of 1st  December 2019 to 30th  December 2021 as a means to allow artists to resume their operations in the light of the relaxed COVID-19.

Speaking to the publication, Zimbabwe Writers’ Union president Memory Chirere welcomes the development although they are effects of it.

“The idea by NAMA to award 40 legends is noble. Although it would have been great if at least 100 legends were honored,” Chirere said.

“However, I think what they could have done is to allow the usual NAMA to run and select the art categories that were active during COVID-19,” he said.

Chairperson of Zimbabwe Film Industry Development Platform Anthony Mutambira expressed mixed feelings towards the move.

“Nevertheless, the decision not to allow participation and ownership in terms of choosing 40 legends is regrettable and likely to cause controversy,” Mutambira said.

The 20th NAMA will be held under the theme ‘Our Legacy, Our Pride’ on the 27th February 2021 which is going to be an exceptional event were 40 artists who contributed to the industry since independence are going to be honored.

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