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#NAMALegends @40| The Selection Process Explained & The Full Honorees List Part 3

Here is part three of #NAMALegends @40 Awards honorees list.

Here is part three of #NAMALegends @40 Awards honorees list.

Joyce Jenje Makwenda: Ethnomusicologist

Born and bred in the bustling township of Mbare, Joyce Jenje-Makwenda is a renowned ethnomusicologist. Her exact year of birth is 1958. Since 1984 she has carried out research and interviews on early urban culture, music, politics, education, religion, media, fashion, taboo, sexual and cultural issues and women’s histories in Zimbabwe. She continues to tackle Zimbabwean culture and township music through novels.

She traces the origins of township/urban music and how it has evolved over the years to be what it is today. A mother of four and a grandmother, she has been very instrumental in promoting the rights of women and the girl child and addressing the trials and tribulations women face in society. Her most popular writing — Zimbabwe Township Music — which is a celebration of old age popular music, which evolved in the colonial urban setting, has become the main text on the history of music.

Joyce’s research on township music and her novels have been a fulfilment of her childhood dream and are a timeless and rich source of the evolution and development of music that has uniquely characterized Zimbabwe. She traces the effects of foreign music on early urban settlers from as far back as the 1930s. The other book “Gupuro” is about traditional divorce and the dilemma of a token payout.  Her book Usenzeni highlights the pain, sorrow and problems that see three generations of women stand up to be counted and claim their space in life. Besides tracing the growth and development of urban music, Joyce explores other topical issues that affect women through her informative books.

Joyce’s interest in documenting the development of township music was influenced by the knowledge of music performances that her father David exhibited under him attending the various shows back then. David became fully abreast with the music and musicians of that time, information that his daughter Joyce gleaned from him. This soon became the back-borne and launching pad for Joyce’s quest to research township music and subsequently the writing of the very informative book – Zimbabwe Township Music.

Today many music historians and music students including researchers rely heavily on books written by Joyce, particularly those in search of knowledge about how the development of music Zimbabwe panned out.

Lovemore Tshuma (Majaivana): Singer

Born Lovemore Tshuma in Mambo Township in Gweru on December 14, 1954, Majaivana started off singing at an early age, in 1968, when he would sing in the church choir in which his father was a minister. Following his father’s death, he moved to Mzilikazi in Bulawayo with his mother where he dropped out of school to pursue a career as a musician.

As the eldest of seven children, it became his duty to fend for the family. His youngest brother also wanted to help, and he took off from Bulawayo to work at the mines in South Africa. This great trek to South Africa by young men from Matabeleland which he says led him to write the song, Isitimela Se Goli.

At 15, he became a drummer in a local Bulawayo band. He would make a short stay at the band as he realised that there was not a lot of money performing in the city’s music scene and he relocated to Harare where he performed in nightclubs singing Tom Jones and Elvis Presley songs. In the capital, he noticed that singers like Thomas Mapfumo were recording their music and playing electric guitars.

After a while, Majaivana went back to Bulawayo and performed with the Marisha band for four years after which he returned to Harare and joined the ‘The Jobs Combination’ named after businessman Job Kadengu who was hosting them. Together with the band, Majaivana instantly became popular with songs such as Isizungu and Isitimela which were social commentary songs. Other songs he recorded with the group that included Fanyana Dube were “Okwabanye” (some people only take but never give), “Mama Ngivulele” (Mother please give me your blessing) “Istimela” (a lover blaming the train for going with his girlfriend), “Ukhozi” (the hawk taking away a child) and “Salanini Zinini” (farewell all my friends). This however, made him move from the band’s shadow to become a competent solo artist. In 1980 Lovemore had the opportunity to share the stage with Bob Marley at Rufaro Stadium during Independence celebrations and later with musical giants such as Dorothy Masuka and Hugh Masekela.

He worked as a milk man for Dairiboard after a misunderstanding led to a break-up of the group. Returning to Bulawayo in 1985, he teamed up with his brother Anderson and several other musicians who had just returned from Victoria Falls to form the Zulu Band recording N lbum which included the song Amathamsanqa which spoke about him not having done well at school, wanting to buy a car, wanting to buy a house and better his life.

That song sold well and he went out and bought a house through the sales. Majaivana and the Zulu band went on to release their first album which had original sounds that had no western influence. The album had the hit song ‘Salanini Zinini’ that made the band even more popular. Majaivana, recorded his last album Isono Sami and quit music in 2001 when he went to America to pursue personal interests. “Angilamali” was one of the songs from his last album which expressed his pain about how he had been treated by the music industry in Zimbabwe until he emigrated to the US.

A true legend of Zimbabwean music, Majaivana has been a great inspiration to many a musician such as Jays Marabini, Solomon Skuza, Sandra Ndebele, Africa Revenge, Willis Watafi, Busi Ncube, Albert Nyathi and many more. The legacy of his music is carried on today in the likes of Lwazi Tshabangu, his son Derrick Majaivana and Royal Destiny.

Matesu Dube: Theatre/Dance

Matesu Dube founded Umkhathi Theatre Works in 1997, in Njube Bulawayo together with Maqhawe Moyo, Alexander Mhlanga, Richard Mahachi, Tshoga Ndlovu, John Ndlovu and the late Mthandazo Sithole.

The group was created as a way of creating employment for youths in the Njube suburb after the collapse of Young Warriors Theatre Company, which used to do its rehearsals in Njube. After the group, Matesu and some members of the folded group decided to use the skills they had already acquired by forming their group.

The name Umkhathi was inspired by the mood and environment they were living in at that time. The group specialises in drama, theatre and traditional dances such as Isitshikitsha, Amantshomane, Amabhiza, Muchongoyo, Chinyambera, Jerusalem and Setapa, a Botswana traditional dance.

At that time the group embarked on the production of very popular radio plays and made money for the group. They also performed at different schools in the city where they staged plays for the pupils.

The groups breakthrough came in 2001 when they were invited and performed at the Mitisong Festival in Botswana in 2001 and in 2004 when they were invited to perform at the Aberdeen Youth Festival in Scotland. The group has also managed to perform in South Africa, Botswana, Scotland, the United States of America, Cote d’Ivoire, and Taiwan.

In 2000 the group won a National Aids Council sponsored drama competition and went on to represent Zimbabwe at the International Aids conference in Durban, South Africa. In 2011, the group won the Chibuku Neshamwari provincial finals and came second in the national finals. In the same year, Umkhathi won their first National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) Outstanding Dance group award.

In 2019 the Group launched the Bulawayo Child Fest after realising that the city of Bulawayo had no festival that catered for young audiences. The annual performing arts festival provides a platform for artists to showcase artistic works created for young audiences mostly theatre, dance, poetry and music. The initiative also identifies and honour the raw talent found in abundance in Bulawayo. Bulawayo child Feld has thus become an arts development programme meant to nurture rural children where practitioners visit schools in and around the city teaching children how to sing, dance and play the drums among other skills to empower them.

Matesu Dube and Umkhathi Theatre works, have stood the test of time and have established themselves as one of the leading Arts ensembles in the city. The group is also a training and mentorship hub where hundreds of young people have been trained in various arts disciplines. Its rigorous junior policy has also ensured its continued endurance as artists come and go but the group remains strong and focused.

 Musaemura Bonas Zimunya: Literary Arts

Zimunya was born on 14 November 1949 in Mutare. In 1973 he was expelled from the University of Rhodesia and went into exile in the United Kingdom where he studied at the University of Kent, Canterbury. Hand attained a Bachelor’s degree in 1978 and a Master’s degree in 1979. His Master’s dissertation was later published as Those Years of Drought and Hunger: The Birth of African Fiction in English in Zimbabwe.

In 1980, he returned to newly independent Zimbabwe were took a University of Zimbabwe position as a professor of English.  In 1992 he received a Fulbright scholarship to the Pratt Institute in New York and in in 1999 he joined Virginia Tech in the USA as Director of Black Studies.

Zimunya began publishing poems when he was still at school. He broke into print gradually in the 1970s in periodicals like Two-Tone and Chirimo. Later, he appeared more emphatically in group anthologies like including Kizito Muchemwa’s Zimbabwean Poetry in English in 1978 and Gwenyambira in 1979. In 1981 he co-edited with Mudereri Khadani, And Now the Poets Speak. His first collection Thought Tracks was published in 1982 the same year he produced KingfisherJikinya, and other poems.

In 1985 he published Country Dawns and City Lights. Zimunya co-authored and edited Chakarira Chindunduma in 1985 while in 1987 he co-authored Samora! These were followed by Birthright (1989), The Fate of Vultures (1989), Perfect Poise (1994), Selected Poems of Zimunya which was published in the Serbian language, and English in 1995 as a collection that contained both the lyricism of his earlier work and the cynical perspective of the critic.

In 1993 Zimunya published his only collection of short stories, Nightshift. The prolific writer has been a subject of many academic articles including like Veit-Wild’s Patterns of Poetry (1988) and Teachers, Preachers and Non-Believers (1992), and many journal articles.

Musaemura Zimunya is undoubtedly one of Zimbabwe’s leading poets as he is the most anthologized of all poets. He writes poetry both in English and the Shona languages and is also a prominent scholar of Zimbabwean literature. His poems over the decades reflect on the physical beauty of his country, his people’s struggles against settler-occupation and racism, the meaning of African myths and traditions, and the meaning of freedom to the individual. Zimunya is highly regarded as a pioneer in the development of modern African poetry with his work being read at universities across the globe. Zimunya has played an instrumental role, administratively with the Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF), Zimbabwe Writers Union (ZIWU) and Zimbabwe Writers Association (ZIWA).

 Nakai Matema: Film Producer

Born in 1970, Nakai Matema is a film producer with experience spanning over two decades.
Currently, she works with the Zimbabwe International Film Festival Trust as the Trust’s Producer and has also held the position of Acting Executive Trust Director for a year. Nakai has always been involved with the film business in various capacities ever since she graduated from the Harare Polytechnic years back. Her achievements as a film producer have been locally recognized through awards at the National Arts Merit Awards, NAMA.

Internationally, invitations to film festivals around the world to talk about working in film under extraordinary circumstances bear testimony to her blossoming career. She started her career as an assistant to the Festival Coordinator on the first Southern African Film Festival (SAFF) in 1993. The turning point in her professional film career commenced when she volunteered to participate in this festival that widened her conceptualization of the film industry while gaining invaluable experience. Nakai thrived as a producer under the pioneering ZIFFT project – Short Film Project (SFP) where many of the leading crop of filmmakers had their first hand at film making. Nakai has worked in film production locally and internationally. She continues to work and influence film making – as film director and producer at the Zimbabwe Film and Festival Trust.

After a stint at SAFF, she landed a coordinator’s post at the Zimbabwe Film and Television Allied Workers Union (ZIFTAWU) that introduced her to the Zimbabwean film community replete with its challenges. The experience jolted her to be more determined in building robust film institutions, a zeal that also manifested in her at the Zimbabwe International Film Festival Trust. In pursuit of quenching her thirst for film production, Nakai enrolled for a short course in filmmaking at the UNESCO Film and Television Training Project in Harare. The project was run by the well respected Mozambican, Pedro Pimento who imparted a wealth of knowledge on Nakai and other film producers. On completing the course in 1994, Nakai joined Zimmedia, a small independent film and video production outfit founded by Simon Bright in 1987. While there, she worked in various coordinating roles for a number of the company’s film projects that included: Tree Seeds (Documentary), SADC Music Festival (Music compilation video), and Dance for Peace (Documentary). It was during this period that Nakai worked on a Liberation War feature film -Flame.

Since 2001 Nakai has worked on many film productions, making her one of the most important producers of her generation. She continues to inspire many young filmmakers under impossible circumstances. Models of filmmaking developed by her and others during this era will inspire many, not just in Zimbabwe but around the world. She boasts of an avalanche of film productions under her belt and her iconic stature in the industry, particularly amongst female practitioners remains motivational.

Nicholas Zakaria: Musician

Born in 1956 to parents of Malawian extraction in the Mazowe area, Nicholas Zakaria was endowed with innate musical skills that manifested at an early age hitherto. Nicholas’ father, Maluva Chekani, was a musician and it was he who influenced Nicholas to become an accomplished musician. By the age of eight, Nicholas could already play the guitar with the aplomb of a veteran.  At age 14, he formed his band christened the Green Mangoes and cut short his pursuit of secondary education. Consumed with the passion for music, he left his place of birth Mazowe for Harare, initially settling in Dzivaresekwa, where he soon found himself in the company of other musicians such as Shepherd Chinyani. Together they formed Vhuka Boys, just before independence. Versatile and oozing with dexterity, Nicholas Zakaria aka Senior Lecturer currently fronts a sungura outfit Khiama Boys.

The moniker Senior Lecturer emanates from his coaching and mentorship of equally renowned musicians Alick Macheso and the late System Tazvida. Displaying selflessness, Madzibaba Nicholas as he is also affectionately known owing to his apostolic religious beliefs strongly believes in nurturing talented and upcoming sungura musicians. The phenomenal growth of sungura as a musical genre in Zimbabwe is credited to a certain degree to his mentorship and nurturing initiatives. Nicholas remains as the man behind the rise of sungura musicians in the mould of Alick Macheso and System Tazvida including an avalanche of other young ones. He has 27 complete music albums to his credit to date.

His perseverance in music witnessed his latest music album Inzwa Unzwe being nominated in the Best Sungura Album 2020 under the Zimbabwe Music Awards. Held in high esteem for creating one of the most distinct and celebrated sungura sounds in Zimbabwe, Nicholas remains a doyen of local arts, music in particular. He has been in the music industry for many decades and his influence in sungura as a genre reverberates across this music subsector. As evidenced by the nomination of his 27th album for best sungura album, Nicholas is still soldiering on in the highly competitive music industry, proving that he is still a force to reckon with.

Nkululeko Innocent Dube: Writer, Director, Choreographer

Nkululeko Innocent Dube is the brains behind Inkululeko Yabatsha School of Arts (IYASA) who quit the teaching profession to venture into arts full-time. A teacher by profession, Nkululeko started the group as a dance/drama initiative at Mpopoma High School in Bulawayo and turned it into a professional platform for young people involved in the arts.

Dube founded Iyasa to support and promote the best interests of young musicians, dancers, actors and poets. Iyasa pioneered the sub-genre where dance is accompanied by contemporary music through a sound system. The group has since developed to become a resource centre for most established and upcoming artists, especially actors, poets, musicians, singers and dancers.

He also established Isiphiwo Sami talent search as a vehicle for training scholars and teachers in secondary schools in theatre and other art genres.

Dube has led IYASA to several local and international awards including three National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) in the Best Dance Group category, the NAMA Video of The Year award, NAMA People’s Choice Dance Group award and the Zimbabwe Music Awards (ZIMA) Best Dance Group category. In 2016 he scooped an award for Best Music in the production “Mein Bauenhof” (My Farm House) at the Austrian Stells awards with IYASA. The musical portrayed the differences and similarities of children growing up in a farmhouse in Europe and Africa.

While Iyasa has become popular in Zimbabwe for Dance, it also delves into theatre where Dube’s theatre productions make use of various art forms such as dance and music, which add more flavour to his work, making it stand out even more. He has also pioneered in collaborative productions including the production ‘Black & White Ain’t No Colours’, a collaboration between a German theatre group and Iyasa. He has utilised such collaborations to broaden cultural freedom digging deeper into various aspects of people’s cultures and building bridges among people from different nationalities and belief systems.

With Iyasa Nkululeko has nurtured various talented artists including Sandra Ndebele, Nomathamsanqa “Nkwali” Mkhwananzi, Roben Mlauzi and Futurelove Sibanda.

Dube is a true living legend as he introduced the concept of accompanying dance with contemporary music and nostalgic urban costumes while Iyasa has become an incubation hub, where he has developed and nurtured Artists who have become household names outside the confines of the group.

Phathisa Nyathi: Writer/Historian

Born in Kezi, Matobo district in Matabeleland South in 1951, Nyathi’s writing career began in 1988 with the publication of Ngilecala a short story published by the Literature Bureau which was followed in 1990 by the play Kunzima Malokazana and Vulingqondo a Zimbabwe Junior Certificate (ZJC) Ndebele revision book. Igugu Lika Mthwakazi a history of the Ndebele from 1820 -1893 was published in 1994 with its sequel Madoda Lolani Incukuthu following in 1996 covering the 1896 Ndebele resistance to colonialism.  Its sequel was Uchuku Olungelandiswe published in 1999 c dealing with Ndebele history during the colonial period.

The veteran writer has produced most of his works in IsiNdebele with a view that it enables constant development of the language to achieve a rich cultural heritage for future generations. His publications Material Culture of AmaNdebele (2000) and The Traditional Ceremonies of AmaNdebele (2003) have been Nyathi’s contribution to the preservation of Ndebele art and Culture with his publications.

Nyathi’s passion for Zimbabwean arts and culture have seen him take up various responsibilities in arts and other organisations. These include Secretary-General, Zimbabwe Writers Union (1989-19990, Deputy Director, Mthwakazi Actors and Writers Association (MAWA) Chairman of the Bulawayo Branches of the Zimbabwe Academic and Non-Fiction Authors Association (ZANA) and the Zimbabwe Writers Union (ZWU); Committee Member, Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee of Zimbabwe (2009). He has also sat on the boards of various Arts related institutions including the Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF 1989-1998), the Zimbabwe Book Development Council (ZBDC), Mambo Press Editorial Advisory Board, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) and Intwasa Arts Festival KoBulawayo

In 2018 Nyathi was a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) for his contribution to the Cultural and Creative Sector in Zimbabwe. He has championed local storytelling and cultural presentations. He has sought to document the history of prominent Zimbabweans from Matabeleland whose different contributions to the history and development of Zimbabwe had remained largely untold. In 1998 he published In Search of Freedom: Masotsha Ndlovu a biography of one of the country’s national heroes. He followed this with Alvord Mabhena: The Man and His Roots (2000) chronicling the life of the former long-serving General Manager of the National Railways of Zimbabwe. In 2020 he completed a biography on Rebecca Mabhena nee Dlodlo, the widow of prominent nationalist and national hero Welshman Mabhena. He also published a moving account on the life of Stanford Sithole aka Dumisani Tembo/ Dakamela, a Zipra guerrilla and another on the life of Dauti Salatiel Mabusa, a captivating story of a prominent businessman and farmer who was detained and imprisoned multiple times during the liberation struggle

 In 2010 Nyathi founded Amagugu International Heritage Centre (AIHC) in Bulawayo to promote the documentation, preservation and promotion of indigenous cultural heritage. The centre provides a venue and organises a variety of cultural, educational and recreational programmes for the public to learn and appreciate different facets of indigenous heritage, history and cultural context. The centre is a culmination of a lifetime of work in research, preservation and promoting Zimbabwean Art and Cultural practices.

In a writing career spanning over 30 years, Nyathi has become the leading voice in the preservation of Zimbabwean Arts and culture. His thrust on Ndebele history, cultural practices and biographies of prominent personalities makes him a legend His work transcends cultural boundaries and seeks to create a reservoir of knowledge for future generations on the origins of the state and its leading practices and traditional figures.

Paul Chidyausiku: Writer

Born in 1927, Paul Chidyausiku is one of the revered pioneers of the literary arts genre in Zimbabwe. Indeed, he is the epitome of excellence in the art of writing. He wrote the first Shona play Ndakambokuyambira to be published in 1968. At the time it was published, the play was his fifth book. He was also a journalist and worked for Moto Magazine as an editor. Chidyausiku went to an Agricultural College and taught Agriculture for many years before he went back to school to train as a journalist at the London School of Journalism in England.

He worked for Mambo Press as an Editor for Moto Magazine. Chidyausiku moved on to the Literature Bureau as an Editorial Officer. He next moved on to the Ministry of Information as Assistant Director, Branch of Foreign Services. He was later invited to join Zimbabwe Newspapers to pioneer a newspaper in Shona called Kwayedza. He was one of the first few Shona writers to be published in Zimbabwe in the 1950s.

He has had nine books published in Shona – one of which is a collection of Shona poems which won him an award, and one in English – Broken Roots. Some of his poems in English were included in anthologies like Voices from Africa published in England, A Century of Poetry in Southern Africa, an anthology in Australia, one in Namibia and two in Zimbabwe. His writings are deep-rooted in Shona Traditions as demonstrated by his reverence for an African mother. A novelist, playwright, poet and journalist, he is known in Zimbabwe for his excellent Shona novels, plays and poetry, some of which received awards. Indeed, Paul is a pioneering figure in terms of writing. What makes him stand out is his love of writing in his language – Shona.

Over the years he has written numerous books predominantly in the Shona language like Karumekangu (1970), Longman Zimbabwe, Kuyaruka Kwomukomana (1991), Mambo Press, Gweru, Kuyaruka Kwomusikana (1991), Mambo Press, Gweru, Kuziva Mbuya Huudzwa: Kurera Nokurumura (1967), Mambo Press, Gweru amongst others.

Paul remains an influential figure in the literary arts whose writings play a pivotal role in perpetuating the Zimbabwean way of life and the role of the African woman (mother) in the family set up. He uses the art of writing in conveying critical messages that build the home, community and ultimately the nation. His books will always be a source of valuable information and inspiration. They inform, entertain and educate, all at the same time.

Rashid Jogee: Visual Artist

The late Rashid Jogee was born in Bulawayo. He started painting at the age of nineteen and between 1973 – 1976 Study of textile design at Mzilikazi Art and Craft Centre and he continued his training between 1976 – 1978 Studying applied arts and design at the Bulawayo Technical Collage.

Jogee was famous for his colourful abstract and expressionist compositions; He uses watercolour, acrylic, and also carves stone. He is Zimbabwe’s most independent and original artists, who works in a variety of styles and techniques in which, mood and visual apparitions of nature, cities, and people are captured in line, pattern, symbol and gesture. Famous for these spontaneous colourful compositions, Jogee’s idiosyncratic works transcend the attention of market forces and shun commercialism.

Jogee had over forty-eight exhibitions in Zimbabwe, as well as exhibitions in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, England, USA, Denmark, and Sweden. In 2013 he represented Zimbabwe at the Venice Biennale. In the 1992 he received the Presidential Award of Excellence for his contribution and outstanding dedication to the development of the visual arts in Zimbabwe. In 2006 he received the Intwasa Festival Award.

Jogee conducted numerous workshops in Murewa, Cyrene and Marondera in Zimbabwe and Thapong in Botswana. He has held numerous solo exhibitions in Zimbabwe including “Retrospective Exhibition of Rashid Jogee`s Work,” National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Bulawayo (2012) in 2012. “Rashid Jogee“, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Bulawayo (2001), “Colour Fields & Inner Landscapes“, Gallery Delta, Harare (1992), “Rashid Jogee and Richard Jack“, Gallery Delta, Harare (1990), Rashid Jogee and Berry Bickle, Avenue Nine Gallery, Bulawayo (1989) and “Rashid Jogee and Stephen Williams”, Gallery Delta, Harare, (1978).

He had been part of other numerous exhibitions where he entered his work in Group Exhibitions including “Colour Africa” in Munich Germany (2011), “34 Years Plus: The Gallery Delta Benefit Exhibition”, (2009), “Transitions. Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Collection of Robert Loder of the Triangle Trust, The Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental an African Studies”, London, England (2005), “Harare Biennale”, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare (2004) “4th International Artists Residency at the Godown Art Centre”:, Nairobi (2003), “Kunst in Zimbabwe, Iwalewa-Haus, Bayreuth, Germany (2001), “African contemporary art. Sculptures and paintings from Zimbabwe and Uganda ”, Art Transit, Berlin, German(1995) and “Contemporary Art from Southern Africa: Art from the Frontline”, Glasgow Art Gallery, London, England (1990).

He’s works have also been featured in numerous publications including Murray and Barbara’s Transitions. Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe 1960 – 2004, “Notes on my Involvement in Art Making in Southern Africa over Two Decades” by Robert Loder and “Changing Seasons”, notes from a meeting with Rashid Jogee by Voti Thebe.

Jogee had been active in the arts for over 3 decades and was considered one of the god fathers of contemporary art in Zimbabwe. He has taught at Mzilikazi Arts and Craft Centre as well as Founders High school in Bulawayo imparting knowledge and grooming young talent in the city.

Watch out for part 4 of The 2021 #NAMALegends @40 Awards Honorees List.

BACKGROUND: The National Arts Council in November 2020 Announced the postponement of the 20th National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) due to the devastating impact of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) on creativity in the country. The NACZ Director Mr Nicholas Moyo at a press conference announced that the holding of the competitive NAMA under the circumstances would have jeopardized the credibility of the entire processes associated with the Awards.

Instead, the Director announced that the NACZ would be holding a special celebratory NAMA dubbed “#NAMA legend @40” which would honour 40 legends to put a cap on the country’s 40th Independence anniversary and Celebrate 35 years of the existence of the NACZ. The event originally penned for 27 February 2021 was postponed to 27 March 2021 after government announced stringent lockdown conditions in the beginning of January 2021. The month-long lockdown affected the services of critical materials and input suppliers who had to work with limited staff numbers and reduced working hours which impacted on their ability to fulfil tasks within the expected time frames hence the decision to postpone. In addition, the event which initially was going to be a mix between virtual and live event presentation had to take a new dimension as a 100% virtual show following the introduction of stringent controls on gatherings.

With the legends Awards the NACZ intends to honour individuals who have dedicated their lives to the development of their art through their work and assisting others in the sector. The legends are people who are well regarded in their sector who helped define our lives as Zimbabweans with their artworks over a long period. The awards given to the legends in a sense represent government’s recognition of their talents and achievements which are in line with promoting the national interest, values and aspirations. #NAMA legends@40: Celebrating Our Legacy, Our Pride.

ImChris Charamba

Head Storyteller @ Enthuse Afrika | Progressive Writer | Content Creator | Critic of the Arts and Contemporary Culture | Idealist | Creative | Digital Strategist | Follow him on Twitter @ImChrisCharamba 

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