The changes were announced by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) this afternoon, August 8, 2012, as part of a raft of changes to the award categories, the marketing of the awards and other issues related to the annual ceremony.
The changes came about after considering suggestions from stakeholder meetings held in Bulawayo, Harare and Mutare earlier this year.
Presenting the NAMA review report, chairperson of the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, Dr Thokozile Chitepo, said, “There was a general consensus that NAMA having been running for eleven years was due for review, with the hope of making it better and to meet the needs of the current creative environment.”
With her was the chairperson of the National Arts Council, Mr Elvas Mari, NAMA adjudication board representatives Dudu Manhenga (chair) and Memory Chirere.
The changes to categories include the introduction of an award for Outstanding Director in the Theatre/Drama Category and the cutting down of the people’s choice awards from six, one for each category, to one overall award.
Under the media awards, the Outstanding Online Media Award which has only ever been awarded once, to Zimbo Jam in 2010, as a special Chairperson’s award, will now become a permanent feature, given the growth of online publications.
In the Visual Arts category, there will now be an award for the outstanding exhibition of the year while the Outstanding Choreographer will now be honoured in the Dance category.
The Outstanding Screen Production (TV Soap) and Outstanding Screen Production (TV Drama) awards have been combined into the Outstanding Screen Production (Television) award while the Outstanding Screen Production (Film) has been split into two separate awards; Outstanding Screen Production (Full Length Film) and Outstanding Screen Production (Short Film).
Besides the category changes, the NACZ wants to introduce a marketing department that will focus on using social media to promote NAMA and other activities as a way of engaging the public more intimately.
There are also plans to come up with a dress code for the awards to keep them classy and elegant and a proposal has been put forward to invite Zimbabwean fashion designers to dress nominees.
NAMA will remain an invitation-only event and the NACZ is exploring ways of ensuring that it is held in different cities. Strong bids have come in from Bulawayo and Mutare and the former is set to host the 2013 awards.