Featured, Other Arts & Culture Issues

NAMA must change please!


Unlike in other countries were they have many platforms rewarding players in the creative sector for their hard work on an annual basis, Zimbabwe has just one major platform and that is the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA).

For instance, in South Africa they have the South Africa Film and Television Awards (Saftas), Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards, The South African Music Awards, and South Africa Dance Awards amongst many others. Having a number of platforms that are genre specific helps in keeping the competition in those sectors alive.

However, when you come back home, NAMA seems not to recognize the task at hand because they always have a lot of loose ends when it comes to selecting nominees, and running a flawless, top drawer event with a lot of glitz and glamour, showing that they are celebrating the crème de la crème of creatives in the country.

How does a platform that has been running for a solid 17 years make blunder after blunder year in and year out – very silly blunders to make matters worse, which a kindergarten chap would avoid after getting it wrong the first time.

Surely for an event that takes place once a year, there should be a sense of pride that comes with it, but it appears the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, seem not to decipher the gravity of the matter at hand as they run the event like it’s just a charade.

Winning a Safta or a SAMA is a very big deal in South Africa and it totally changes an artist’s rank in that space and globally.

However, with all the blunders such as nominating a dancer in a production they never featured in or selecting avarage music videos as the best, as is the case in this years edition, is causing many to doubt the credibility of the platform – hence it no longer has major impact on how people perceive an artist or creative after winning the NAMA gong

The last time we checked most of the adjudicators and monitors involved in the process are fundi’s in the arts and it baffles to see them making error after error each and every year.

This mediocrity has to stop!, the arts must be taken seriously.

To the organisers we say, stop rushing to make decisions regards who makes the cut. Take your time and do the proper assessments, NAMA must change please!

Meanwhile, the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) announced that it had launched the People’s Choice for the 17th National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) voting platform on Monday 5th February 2018.

“Voting will run until the awards night on 17th February 2018 at 2000hrs. The People’s Choice Award is a special award given to an artist or arts organisation selected by the public. The public is afforded the opportunity to vote for an artist of their own choice at every NAMA,” read the statement.

The People’s Choice award has been one of the most contentious of awards as it is the only category that allows the public to have a say. It gauges the impact and appeal an artist has beyond the technocrats’ view of their artistry.

Several voting systems have been tried by the National Arts council to collect and correlate the results. Though these voting systems have not been constant, this year’s system maybe the most accessible yet – through the use of social-media chat platform, Whatsapp. We expect that an increase in the number of votes as a large number of Zimbabweans are on Whatsapp.

According to the statement, this is how you vote, “To vote for one’s favourite artist for this year’s People’s Choice Award, one has to send the artist’s name to this Whatsapp number +263 772 168 045. The syntax is #ARTIST NAME. The Artist with the most votes will be declared a winner and awarded at the awards ceremony.”

Though the People’s Choice award has largely been won by musicians, the public is at liberty to select an artist of their choice in any of the NAMA categories of Music, Literary Arts, Dance, Visual Arts, Film and Television, Theatre and Spoken Word.

Happy voting!!!


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