NAMA 22 in the heart of culture…A night of fashion, arts and debate Msiz'Kay

Mthabisi Tshuma, [email protected]

TONIGHT, Bulawayo will host the 22nd edition of the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA), the most prestigious event in the Zimbabwean arts industry. The awards will be held at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre’s Hall 3. 

The ceremony will be a celebration of fashion, arts and interactive discussions, featuring the best and brightest of the Zimbabwean creative sector. The nominees and performers will have a chance to showcase their talent and make their mark on the world stage. The awards will also honour the legacy and contribution of some of the most influential artistes in the country’s history, such as the late Cont Mhlanga, the late Oliver Mtukudzi, Albert Nyathi, Thomas Mapfumo, Danai Gurira, Tsitsi Dangarembwa and others.

The NAMA, which were first held in 2002, aim to celebrate and promote the arts in Zimbabwe, and to recognise the role of art in social change and activism. Many of the artistes who have been recognised by the awards have used their art to raise awareness and spark dialogue on important social issues, such as poverty, inequality, and human rights abuses.

Arthur Evans

This year, the awards will be held in Bulawayo for the third time, after being hosted in Harare for most of the previous editions. Bulawayo is the cultural hub of the country. It has a rich history and a vibrant arts scene. The city is also home to many of the nominees and performers, who will have the opportunity to shine in front of their home crowd.

The event will be a spectacle of glamour and glitz, as the stars arrive on the red carpet, hosted by Noxy Divine Diva. The celebrities will dazzle the media and the fans with their fashion choices and their statements. They will also share their expectations and aspirations for the ceremony, and their views on the state of the arts in Zimbabwe.

Calvin Mangena

The NAMA are a significant milestone on the cultural calendar, and they bring with them the promise of change and the hope of a brighter future for the arts industry and the country at large. Will the ceremony live up to the hype and deliver a memorable night for the people of Zimbabwe, or will it disappoint and fail to impress? The answer will be revealed tonight.

The ceremony will also feature performances by some of the most celebrated artistes in the country, such as Tamy Moyo, Albert Nyathi, Baba Harare, Bhekiwe, Msiz’Kay, MJ Sings, Master H, Calvin Mangena, Everton Mlalazi, Noluntu J, Ngoma iNgoma, and more. There will also be some surprises that will keep the audience entertained and engaged.

Everton Mlalazi

However, not everyone is happy with the choice of performers, as some have accused the organisers of sidelining talent from Bulawayo, and favouring artistes from other regions. This has caused a stir and a debate among the arts community, with some claiming that it is unfair and disrespectful to the artistes who have put Bulawayo on the map. Others counter that the diversity of the performers will only enhance the quality and appeal of the ceremony, and attract more attention to the city and its culture.

Tinashe Kitchen, the director of Jacaranda Culture and Media Corporation (JCMC) defended the selection of the performers, saying that the awards are a national event, and not a regional one. 

Noluntu J

“NAMA is not about a particular region, it is a national event. It is about celebrating artistes from all corners of the country. We are happy to have artistes from all parts of the country performing, not just Bulawayo or Harare. 

MJ Sings

“Furthermore, if you look at our over 100 nominees, all 10 provinces are represented. Bulawayo actually led the way with the most submissions across all our nine categories. We are happy that the nation’s artistes have embraced the call to support the event and we look forward to more artists. We also welcome the feedback of the general public and look forward to improving NAMA as we go forward,” said Kitchen. — @mthabisi_mthire

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