HOLLYWOOD actor Denzel Washington once said, “man gives an award, God gives the reward”, which suggests the thought of the validity and relevance of awards ceremonies and the worth of the gongs.
Zimbabwe’s showbiz scene has of late become abuzz with several awards, with the latest edition being the Zimbabwe Film and Television Awards held on Saturday.
Recently, Bulawayo hosted the seventh edition of the annual Bulawayo Arts Awards at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Grounds in Bulawayo, with the ultimate prize being a BMW bestowed on Insimbi Zezhwane.
Some creatives who spoke to NewsDay Life & Style expressed mixed sentiments about local awards.
Actor and businessman Mthunzi Nkolomi said awards in the arts industry served as motivators and evaluative measures, offering recognition and validation to artists.
“Awards inspire creativity, elevate artists' profiles and provide opportunities. However, the subjective nature of art raises concerns about fairness and inclusivity, as certain styles or perspectives may be favoured,” he said.
Nkolomi said the competitive aspect of awards could lead to rivalry which overshadowed the intrinsic value of artistic expression.
“To address these challenges, the industry should focus on diverse and inclusive evaluation processes, transparent criteria, and a commitment to recognising a broad spectrum of artistic endeavours,” he said.
“Ultimately, well-managed awards contribute to celebrating and encouraging artistic excellence while enriching cultural diversity.”
Quizzed on the value of getting a gong as an artist, he said they needed to bring some form of financial gain.
“Industry awards may lose their significance if artists do not receive tangible economic benefits and global exposure. While recognition is essential, it should translate to opportunities for financial sustainability and broader reach,” he said.
“Without these practical advantages, awards might be perceived as symbolic gestures rather than catalysts for meaningful advancements in artists’ careers and the overall growth of the arts industry.”
He said to ensure the continued relevance of awards, there must be concerted effort to link recognition with substantial economic opportunities and increased global visibility for artists.
One is reminded of legendary girl-group TLC which announced to the world its bankruptcy at the height of its perceived success, moments after getting Grammys, sending shockwaves across the globe.
Earlier this year, United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean musician Qounfuzed ranted on social media that he will never submit for nomination again after he failed to get a nomination at the National Arts Merit Awards.
“We are not sure what criteria is used with all Zimbabwean awards, but we will not submit any more of our works to any award shows,” he said on his official, Facebook account.
Former SkyzMetro FM presenter Jane Hlomani also flagged some awards ceremonies for being compromised.
“To a certain extent they are very fair because some nominees are talented. Such acknowledgement motivates the artists; however, some awards and nominations are rigged and that can mess up one’s levels of focus,” she said.