The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) continues with its decades-long tradition of championing the promotion and development of the arts sector. Today, the parastatal announced its 2021 theme and the dates on which the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) ceremony will take place.
The NAMA 2021 will be held on the 27th of February next year under the theme ‘Our Legacy, Our Pride’. The punctilio, which will mark a 35 years milestone for the council, is designed around celebrating Zimbabwe’s 40th anniversary.
NACZ Director, Nicholas Moyo, told the press in Harare that this year’s edition will focus on honouring forty creative legends, both active and retired, who have distinguished themselves not only in their creative exploits but also for their example as inspiring role models for the new generations.
“This will be a unique event in the sense that on the night we shall honour forty (40) legends as we celebrate 40 years of Independence, dubbed NAMA Legends Awards #NAMAlegends. These Legends Awards provide for a strategic postponement of the competitive 20th NAMA whose hosting hung on the balance due to COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns.
The prestigious competitive annual awards are therefore postponed for a year owing to the impact of the COVID-19 disease on creativity and the arts sector in particular over the past 8 months. In reaching the decision to postpone the competitive NAMA, NACZ is cognisant of the fact that a lack of activity in the sector has greatly affected the ability of artists to create in their usual spaces,” said director Moyo.
By hosting the Legends Awards, NACZ said it desire to reflect on the developments in the Cultural and Creative Industries over the past 40 years and celebrate our achievements by providing honorary awards to the people who were influential during the period in shaping the various subsectors of the CCIs.
“The awards are a special honour and recognition to legendary creatives who have raised high the flag of the country over the stated period.”
The director also said that while the council recognize that some arts disciplines have been able to operate under the stringent lockdown conditions, the whole integrity of NAMA stands to be compromised in a situation where there were significant inhibitions to creativity created by the stringent lockdown regulations.
He said that the postponed NAMA will be held in February 2022 and will reward artworks created in the period between the 1st of December 2019 and 30th November 2021. This extended period, he justified, was to allow artists to resume their operations considering the relaxed COVID-19 regulations.
NAMA events managers, Jacaranda Culture and Media Corporation (JCMC) said they were up to speed with the event.
JCMC managing director and NAMA executive producer Napoleon Nyanhi said they were “looking to raise the bar” even though the event would be different due to COVID-19.
“#NAMAlegends will be different due to COVID-19. We don’t envision that by February 2021 all the lockdown restrictions will be lifted, but we are still very excited,” he said.
Speaking on the plans and things to expect, Nyanhi said;
“The first thing on our calendar is the Inaugural Annual Golf Day to be held in two weeks time on the 4th of December 2020 and we are saying annual in the hope that it will happen every year. It will be folly of us to wait for one event every year. Our hope is to see creatives and corporates coming together and create more synergies in such a setting.”
Nyanhi, a former radio personality, called for art and media practitioners to come on board and be a part of the golf day, which he said created convenient networking opportunities for the corporate and the creative sector. It was a good “interface for the artists and the funders”, he said.
Also present at the press conference was Elton Kurima from Kayse Connect, who expressed their joy to be working with the NAMA brand and urged more corporates to support the awards.
“We watched the last NAMA, and we impressed. We are honoured to be working with NAMA and the corporate world to uplift the brand Zimbabwe through Cultural and Creative initiatives as these. I just want to invite other corporates to come on board,” he said.
Other corporates represented were Old Mutual, Delta Beverages, Seed.Co, and Zimnat.
NACZ said more details of modalities of the historic #NAMAlegends will be availed to stakeholders in due course.