Arts awards go regional
This year’s 5th NAMA was held in style with the spirit of celebrating 25 years of Zimbabwe’s independence and as such honoured outstanding artists who contributed to the growth and development of the arts and cultural sector since independence by giving them awards under the Silver Jubilee Arts Awards. The awards which were graced by Zimbabwe’s vice-president Joice Mujuru were also part of the 5th edition of the yearly National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) dubbed NAMA Special Jubilee Awards, where deserving artists were conferred with various awards. Vice President Mujuru said the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe’s vision should be to lead the arts and cultural sector to become the largest contributor to the gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2010 whilst facilitating the growth of a diverse, dynamic and sustainable arts industry that fosters national identity. Mujuru said Zimbabwe acknowledges the challenges the arts and culture sector has been facing in terms of funding and shrinkage in its consumer base. “The challenges are characteristic of all the economic sectors in the country at the moment.” She urged the Minister of Education, Sport and Culture to boost the Arts development Fund operated by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, which caters for project funding through a revolving loan scheme, scholarships for artists and grants. According to UNESCO, cultural industries have grown phenomenally since 1980 and had become in the 1990s the centre for the generation of cities and that jobs related to the arts have been growing rapidly. The recognition of outstanding achievements enables the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe to take stock of developments within the arts industry and a new permanent NAMA trophy was also unveiled at the colourful ceremony that was held in Avondale at the 7 Arts Theatre. The NAMA Special Jubilee Awards were conferred to outstanding individuals from various art disciplines such as film and television, theater, dance, music, visual and literary arts. These included the late musician Simon Chimbetu, Cde Chinx, the late comedian Safirio Madzikatire, Chimurenga music great Thomas Mapfumo, the late sculptor Nicholus Mukomeranwa, Oliver Mtukudzi, and author Charles Mungoshi. As from next year, institutional monitors per each discipline will be selected from each country in the region to monitor the arts industry. The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe launched the inaugural National Arts Merit Awards in 2002. Ambassador of Sweden to Zimbabwe Sten Rylander said the event is important in the Zimbabwean context because it covers all art disciplines and complements the work of various arts disciplines working to promote new artistic talent in their respective sectors. “Sweden realises that this talent cannot exist in isolation hence its commitment to supporting activities that recognize and reward artistic excellence. Cultural work in various forms creates visions, manifestations, debates and meeting-places that represent powerful triggers of social change. Recognition of artistic talent is an important component of promoting professionalism as well as a source of encouragement to upcoming as well as established artists.” This year’s NAMA saw Hosiah Chipanga scooping the Outstanding Musician/Group award with gospel diva Shingisai Siluma walking away with the Outstanding song award for the song Nanhasi. The Outstanding album award went to music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi, who also won the People’s Choice Award and the Outstanding Choral music award went to Chitungwoza Harmony Singers whilst the video of the Year award went to Mabasa Enyama by Mahendere Brothers.