The National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) have become outdated and need a fundamental rebranding, artists have said.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ consultative review meeting of the awards on Thursday afternoon, the artists called for a complete revamping of the Nama system saying the current format no longer served its intended purpose.
The meeting was facilitated by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ), organisers of the awards. Various artists and media personnel attended the meeting.
Renowned theatre practitioner, Cont Mhlanga of Amakhosi, said the current regime of the awards was losing value because it had become outdated.
“The current model of the awards has outlived its time frame and what is required is a complete redesigning of the process,” said Mhlanga. He said he was shocked to realise that there was no mission statement.
He was supported by another member form the gathering who said what was needed was a fundamental re-thinking and re-positioning. The gathering agreed on the motion with Nicholas Moyo, deputy director of NACZ applauding the observation.
He said although the meeting was initially poised to review the process, they would consider the suggestions. The attendees agreed that the awards needed to be improved in their various levels from entries and nominations to the actual event.
“These are noble ideas we are getting here and I am happy that the ideas are coming from the owners of the awards,” said Moyo.
Elvas Mari, the director of the NACZ, said besides all the suggestions that were made by the stakeholders, what was required were clear structures from the foundation of each art sector.
“I spoke to my counterparts at the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) and I noticed that they had workable systems in their various disciplines,” said Mari. “They even have awards in those disciplines which artists have failed to do for many years now.”
Numerous concerns were also raised on the awards which affirmed Mhlanga’s suggestion that a new system was needed.
Inasmuch as the change is needed, it will not be an overnight exercise.