BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
THE country’s leading privately-owned publishing company, Alpha Media Holdings (AMH), scooped two gongs at the 18th edition of the annual National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) held on Saturday at the Harare International Conference Centre.
AMH are the publishers of NewsDay, The Standard, Southern Eye, Zimbabwe Independent and operates an online radio and television station Heart & Soul TV (HSTV).
The Standard was honoured for its incisive news coverage of diverse arts and culture stories under the Arts Service Award, while its columnist Fred Zindi won the Outstanding Journalist gong in the print media category.
The Standard editor Kholwani Nyathi said:“We are humbled by the recognition from Nama. It is a timely recognition of The Standard’s leading role in reporting and promoting the arts in Zimbabwe. Our arts section, The Standard Style provides a platform for artists from all genres to market their talents and reach out to more followers. The two awards cement The Standard’s reputation as a leading family paper that caters for all segments of society.”
Other notable individuals who walked away with awards included the late legendary author, Charles Mungoshi, who was posthumously honoured with the Lifetime
Achievement Award under the special awards category, ExQ who banged a double in Outstanding Male Musician Award and the Outstanding Album gong and gospel musician Janet Manyowa who clinched the Outstanding Female Musician Award. Others who received awards were Danai J Gurira (Artiste in the Diaspora), Unplugged
(Outstanding Promoter) Mai Patai (Viewers’ Choice Award) and Mokoomba (Arts Personality Award).Enzo Ishall took the Song of the Year Award and Tendaishe Chitima won the Outstanding Actress Award.
Nama organisers and the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ), said they were determined to make the country find value from the creative and cultural industries that have been acknowledged major economic drivers.
In his address at the awards ceremony, NACZ board chairperson Herbert Chimhundu said the arts had the potential to make a substantial contribution to the gross domestic product of the country.
“Arts are expressions of culture and statistics from around the world show us that many nations thrive on their creative and cultural industries. As we pursue both Vision 2030 and Agenda 2030, we are determined to make sure that Zimbabwe follows suit in a visible way and that the creative industry grows to the level where it will be acknowledged to be a major economic driver,” he said.
“In addition to their obvious contribution to social cohesion and what we may call gross domestic happiness, as National Arts Council, we want future Nama editions to celebrate this latter aspect of the contribution of the arts to national development.”
Meanwhile, Nama chairperson of adjudicators panel Ruby Magosvongwe said: “There is nowhere we would expect the objective assessment of work not submitted, but perceived by some to be doing well. Adjudication is done at three levels. Firstly, a small group of experts go through the pile of entries that is reduced to most probably 10, which then comes to the main panel for scrutiny.”
“The second stage is a review by experts after the input by the panel. The last lap is the conversation around preliminary results. This is where nominees are agreed upon, justified and winners decided by the panel of adjudicators for submission to NACZ.”