|Another Nama snub for Blues?|
|Saturday, 28 July 2012 20:33|
Bulawayo has again expressed the desire to host the National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) — one of the country’s most prestigious ceremonies — even after capitulating last year after failing to raise enough money.
But there are many questions that are begging for answers: Has Bulawayo suddenly found a winning formula? Do the artistes in Bulawayo have a secret sponsor that they are not willing to disclose? Or is the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ), the owners of the brand, going to pour in all the money?
And even more intriguing, if the artistes who are supposed to vie for the awards are the ones organising the ceremony, what will stop them from manipulating the process? Isn’t this the same as asking football players to organise the soccer stars awards? There is definitely something very wrong going on.
Josh Nyapimbi of Nhimbe Trust, one of the leading arts companies in the country’s second largest city, Bulawayo, expressed dismay at the way the NACZ was handling the matter of taking the awards to Bulawayo.
The prominent arts practitioner, who is also the Arterial Network country representative, said he only read about the process in the papers and took up the matter with both NACZ director Elvis Mari and his assistant Nicholas Moyo, who did not give him satisfactory answers.
He continued: “I have no problem if credible people within or without the arts sector run the awards as long as they are a success. But I think the arts council is going about this the wrong way.”
“The arts council has a regional office here, which should more than assist in having this thing happen in Bulawayo. Even if it goes to tender or they just handpick someone capable, it would be much better.
Albert Nyathi, another son of Bulawayo who is now based in the capital, echoed Nyapimbi’s sentiments, saying he, too, had been surprised to hear that Bulawayo had put up another bid, especially after the first one did not go down so well.
However, the popular poet declared that he would do everything in his power to campaign for the hosting of the event in his city of origin, although he doubts the NACZ’s sincerity to have the awards hosted in the City of Kings.
“However, the artistes need someone to bring them together and help them communicate in order to strengthen an opportunity such as this one. I believe that is the role that the NACZ should take, but if so many of us have not been told, it means that they have a different game plan and we hope it works,” said Nyathi.
Cont Mhlanga, the director of Amakhosi Theatre, whose efforts last year to have Bulawayo host the awards this year hit a brick wall, had no kind words for both the NACZ and the new committee set up for next year’s awards.
The controversial arts guru, who has created many works that have toured the world while some were big hits on the small and big screen, said he would be surprised if the event was more than just a cheap musical event.
“Remember the bulk of the people that are nominated for the awards are based in Harare and that means more expenses in terms of transport, food and accommodation. That in itself adds to the hosting of Nama,” said Mhlanga.
“We created all sorts of committees and I announced to everyone what we needed to do, but no one came forward, including all those people in this new committee,” said Mhlanga.
The recently set up committee comprises Jomo Mhone (co-ordinator and technical liaison), Kudzai Chikomo (media liaison), Possenati Sikhosana (marketing), Cynthia Malaba (finance), Tafadzwa Matsika (fund-raising), Archie Mhone (logistics), Desmond Ntini (catering), Priscilla Sithole-Ncube (administration) and Raisedon Baya (administration).
Said Mhlanga: “Now I ask myself if these people did not come forward because the idea had been proposed by Mhlanga or what. They know that I had made inroads, but they have not reached out to say ‘guys let’s do this thing collectively’ or say ‘Mhlanga, can you share with us the things you learnt last year?’”
Bulawayo. If they don’t need me and others they have evidently left in the cold, well, I wish them good luck.”
Raisedon Baya, who also organises Intwasa Arts Festival, which also struggles every year to run smoothly because of resources, says as the administrator in the committee that is striving to bring Nama to Bulawayo next year, he shares the thinking of Mhlanga and others.
“This time if we fail, it would be Bulawayo that will have failed because we are not going to leave any stone unturned and any idea unexplored,” declared Baya.
“We might not be able to pool our resources as the people of Bulawayo, but why can’t the rest of the country with the assistance, of course, of the NACZ, which is represented in every province by the way, help us stage a memorable event?
“We also need that focus and limelight on our city to inspire the young artistes this side of the country and also for the good of our businesses,” argued baya.
NACZ deputy director, arts promotions and development, Mrs Audrey Charamba, said the arts council had just completed the stakeholders’ consultative process and were still reviewing their findings.
“We are really keen on stakeholders’ input given that this is the highest awards ceremony in the country. As soon as we are done with our review we will make our findings and position known.
“We want the awards ceremony to go to Manicaland, Midlands, Bulawayo, and so forth, but we have to do that within the context of realism,” said Mrs Charamba.
She said if the Bulawayo community could come up with a fund-raising strategy and raise a reasonable amount of money the NACZ would then chip in with the rest and also assist in organising the event.