Diasporan committed to local arts

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PUBLIC health specialist, Dorcas Gwata, of Tribal Sands, says she is committed to supporting the local arts after pouring in an undisclosed amount of money as cash prizes to all the finalists in the Outstanding First Creative Published Work category at the National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) ceremony held at 7 Arts Theatre on Saturday
night.

BY TINASHE MUCHURI

Gwata, who is based in London, told NewsDay on the sidelines of the Nama reception held at Dandaro Inn last Friday, that she was committed to supporting people at the grassroots level.

“I chose the first published creative work because I am after the grassroots. I say so because I work with people at the grassroots. I am a socialist and I believe in distributing the prize,” she said, although she was not keen to disclose the figure.

“I am not here to disclose the amount, but, in my view, everyone is a winner.”

The Nama are structured along the winner-takes-all system, but over the last few years, the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (Nacz) has been struggling to provide cash prizes and there was an outcry last year after winners were each given a two-metre piece of cloth and an undisclosed amount of cash.

Gwata, however, said the real value was not in prize money, but the effort put in the production of the work.

“The real value is in the effort put in writing, in editing, the work and some write using candlelight,” she said.

Gwata said her decision to partner with the local arts — which will see her organising writers’ workshops — was fuelled by her commitment to Zimbabwe.

Gwata said she was currently working with Nacz to facilitate the creation of a database of writers and workshops would be held in September this year.