THE National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) faces a new hurdle ahead of the National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) ceremony set for Bulawayo next week after the Bulawayo City Council turned down their request to use both Large and Small City halls for free.
Report by Nqobile Bhebhe
The awards are pencilled for Large City Hall on February 16.
Council said it could not offer its facilities for free due to financial constraints.
Through a letter dated January 10 to the council, Nama organisers requested to use Large and Small City halls for a week for free.
“The 12th edition of the National Arts Awards (Nama) will be held in Bulawayo for the first time on the 16th of February 2013 under the theme Convergence Through the Arts.
“The awards’ primary role is to recognise and reward talent and excellence in the field of art and culture in the whole of Zimbabwe.
“A taskforce made up of sons and daughters of Bulawayo has been set up to run the event.
“As the taskforce responsible for making the event a success and memorable, we request through this letter, the use of the Large City and Small City halls for the event for free.
“The venue will be required from Monday 11th February till Sunday 17th February 2013,” reads part of the letter.
Organisers had requested the venues to be availed to them days before the event for artistes, and technical rehearsals as well as nominees and presenters’ rehearsals.
However, councillors threw away the request on Wednesday.
The councillors’ resolution on the issue was “that the application by Nama for free use of the Large and Small City halls from 11th-17th February, 2013 be not acceded to for reasons detailed in the report, eg financial constraints”.
In reaching the decision, council said in the past it had not acceded to request for free use of its facilities except in the case of national events such as Independence celebrations.
Occasionally, the city council does grant rebates of 25% or 50% on merit to charitable organisations.
Deputy Mayor Amen Mpofu said council should review the free use of municipal facilities, saying only national events could be considered although they had their own budgets
However, NACZ assistant director for arts and promotion development Audrey Charamba said they would make arrangements to ensure they secure the venue.
“We were in the process of inviting partners for the awards ceremony, but they (the council) had their constraints. We respect their decision and we will ensure that the ceremony goes ahead at the same venue,” she said.
A total 35 awards are up for grabs from the eight arts categories.
Artistes vying for awards in different categories include Clive Chigubhu, Carl Joshua Ncube, Nothando Nobengula, Caroline Mashingaidze, Sniper Storm and Blessing Shumba.