Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
Winners from previous editions of the Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards (RoilBAA) are set to receive Covid-19 food relief packages from the event’s sponsor, United Refineries Limited.
The hosting of the awards that are in their fourth edition has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic which has seen the country go on lockdown for the past five months. Due to this, event organisers at one point, considered to cancel the ceremony which is held to recognise good effort and talent among Bulawayo artistes.
However, in a statement, event organisers yesterday said the show will go on. The awards which were meant to take place on August 29 have however, been moved to November 28. The awards categories have also been trimmed from 50 to 32 with the call for entries set to commence on August 28. The opening of entries will run concurrently with an online concert that will set the ball rolling for other events surrounding the awards.
RoilBAA spokesperson, Nkululeko Nkala said they decided to postpone the event after rethinking the format of the awards due to the ongoing pandemic. It was during this time that they also decided to assist creatives whose livelihood has been greatly affected by the Covid-19 induced lockdown.
“As we all find our way through the devastating consequences of coronavirus, RoilBAA is redoubling efforts to help, protect and sustain our creatives and their families and ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable creatives are prioritised in response and recovery efforts.
“It is to this effect that we launch the RoilBAA Conscious Citizenship Strategy, a strategy that can play a critical role in supporting the arts sector and help their efforts in creating work in these trying times. The spread and impact of Covid-19 is unprecedented. This public health emergency will likely result in a global economic crisis — both of which will hit the poorest and most marginalised communities the hardest.
“With this in mind, we will postpone the main RoilBAA ceremony (planned for 29 August 2020) to November 28, 2020 and direct our efforts towards this strategic stimulus programme,” said Nkala.
He said through the RoilBAA Conscious Citizenship Strategy, 100 previous RoilBAA winners and other people involved in the awards, have been identified to benefit from the RoilBAA Covid-19 food relief packages.
“In partnership with our main sponsor, United Refineries running under the Roil banner, RoilBAA, with the possibility of other players joining in this drive, will issue subsistence vouchers or stimulus food packages to our 77 previous winners plus 13 of our core RoilBAA team to make it 90 recipients.
“We will also identify a further 10 vulnerable artistes who’re not necessarily past award winners, for example, elderly artistes to make the figure 100 recipients. The process will involve delivery of stimulus packages to the artistes’ homes and places of work and will be documented for a delayed video programme to be aired online and on TV. This will be supported by a mini online concert to feature a few artistes abiding by Covid-19 safety regulations,” said Nkala.
He encouraged people and potential sponsors to come on board to help artistes.
“During these unprecedented times of Covid-19, the awards and the arts in general cannot fully survive without the support and encouragement of sponsors. In return, sponsors have the opportunity to become associated with the creation of unique and exciting work that gives pleasure and value to audiences and develop the skills and abilities of all the artistes involved,” said Nkala.