The Sunday Mail
ITALIAN theologian Thomas Aquinas once said, “The test of the artiste does not lie in the will with which he goes to work, but in the excellence of the work he produces.”
While artistes are constantly working hard in their various disciplines, not all of them manage to create brilliant products and those that do deserve to be rewarded for their efforts.
This Saturday, a creative atmosphere will engulf the HICC, which plays host to the 18th National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) where artistes who excelled in their fields will be recognised.
The move to hold the event at the imposing venue is a big statement and the significance will certainly become apparent on the day.
Awards ceremonies in Zimbabwe always court controversy for one thing or the other, and while many have already questioned the nominees, adjudicators seem to have struck a balance this time around.
Some heavy hitters who always dominate these awards have been pushed aside by new blood. Both Jah Prayzah and Winky D, who are always battling it out for top honours seem to have released their grip on the event with the likes of Enzo Ishall, Baba Harare, Jah Signal, Tamy and Janet Manyowa spicing up the music category.
This could be a sign that the tide has shifted on the local music scene with new voices coming through to claim their place. In the past, artistes from the capital have been dominant but this time around there is representation from other parts of the country with Matabeleland well represented in numerous categories.
The People’s Choice voting platform was opened on March 4, and will run until the awards night. The special award is given to an artiste or arts organisation selected by the public.
In a statement Nama adjudication panel chairperson Prof Ruby Magosvongwe highlighted that there had been a rise in entrants in the music category thereby creating more competition.
“In music, entries increased with many artistes producing singles and pushing the competitiveness in the sector.
There was a clear upstaging of seasoned artistes by unexpected names,” said Prof Magosvongwe.
She added that in performing arts, a number of productions were not well packaged and thus denied adjudicators a fair assessment of the entries.
The Sunday Mail Society caught up with one of the nominees at this year’s awards, Long John, who said the recognition was a sign that he was doing something right in his craft.
“For me this is more than just a nomination but rather a sign that I am on the right track and all this hard work that I am putting in is not going unnoticed.
I am always travelling and representing my country around the world and to know that I am also appreciated in the motherland is a big deal, something that will motivate me to keep going,” said Long John. Nama is a platform where National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) recognises excellence in the creative industry.