BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
THE forthcoming 18th edition of the annual National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) has recorded a sharp increase in entries, with 1 436 received to date, against the 1 334 entries submitted at the last edition.
In an interview with NewsDay Life & Style yesterday, awards organisers, National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (Nacz)’s spokesperson, Cathrine Mthombeni, said the increase in the number of entries was confirmation of the popularity of the programme and appreciation of the awards.
“Last year’s 17th edition of the Nama entries was 1 334. There is an increase in entries for the current edition, purely because the awards are credible and are supported by reputable partners, hence people generally want to associate with a quality product,” she said.
“The increase is also testimony that Nama is a stable brand that is growing annually, in recognising excelling artists and acknowledging their immense contributions in arts promotion and development.”
Mthombeni said they had moved forward this year’s awards ceremony date from February to March 23. The ceremony would be held at the Harare International Conference Centre, under the theme African Royalty.
The awards ceremony, established through an Act of Parliament in 1985 by Nacz, to recognise excellence in creativity and talent, had the major aim bto stimulate artistic creativity and originality.
Mthombeni said preparations for the event were on course, with participants expected to fight it out in eight entries — namely music, literary, dance, visual, film and television, theatre, media and the spoken word.
“The world is hungry for Zimbabwean works of art from film, visual arts, music, dance, literature, amongst others, and these should be packaged and marketed accordingly. The theme of the awards ceremony, African Royalty, also speaks to the idea of our artists producing work that tells the proudly Zimbabwean story in a quality and global standard,” she said.
Mthombeni said submissions came from production houses, studios, stables, galleries, organisations, associations, groups, artistes, monitors and the public.
“Some of the entries were identified by monitors, who were appointed by Nacz and kept an eye on any excelling artists throughout the year. Independent adjudicators chaired by Professor Ruby Magosvongwe who is also a board member of Nacz, have been going through the entries in order to come up with winning entries ahead of the announcement of nominees.”