By Joyce Mukucha
The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) has advised stakeholders in the cultural and creative sectors, sponsors and the nation at large that this year’s edition of the National Arts Merit Awards Legends at 40 (NAMA), which was scheduled for February 27 are set to be held on the 27th of March.
NACZ Director, Nicholas Moyo said prestigious competitive annual awards which will run under the theme ‘Our Legacy, Our Pride’ had to be postponed by a month owing to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on creativity and the arts sector in particular over the past 8 months.
He pointed out that lack of activity in the sector has greatly affected the ability of artists to create in their usual spaces.
“The ceremony that will honour 40 living legends has had to be pushed forward by a month to allow the event organisers and suppliers to make up for the down time during the lockdown conditions which include reduced business time and travel restrictions.
“The NAMA process includes various planning and execution stages that were disrupted by the implimentation of the lockdown and for NACZ to host a credible event, it has become necessary to push the date to alloy for the smooth planning of the awards,” he said.
The Director added that while the NACZ recognized that some arts disciplines were able to operate under the stringent lockdown conditions, the whole integrity of NAMA stood to be compromised in a situation where there were significant inhibitions to creativity created by the stringent lockdown regulations.
“In this regard the postponed NAMA will be held in February 2022 and will reward art works created in the period 1st December 2019 to 30th November 2021. This extended period is to allow artists to resume their operations in light of the relaxed COVID19 regulations”, the Director said.
Moyo said the NAMA shall celebrate Zimbabwe’s 40th anniversary as well as the 35 years of National Arts Council existence.
He added that the NAMA legends will be held online as a way of trying to abide with the Covid-19 measures on crowds and gatherings and he stressed that NACZ was making concerted efforts to ensure that the historic event is accessible to every citizen.
“The #NAMA Legends at 40 will now be a virtual event in line with Covid-19 restrictions on gatherings, as such NACZ is working with various service providers to make sure the event will be available to all Zimbabweans across multiple viewing channels.
The event, he said, will be unique in the sense that on the night NACZ shall honour forty (40) legends as it celebrates 40 years of Independence, therefore, the organisation has dubbed it NAMA Legends Awards.
Hosting the Legends Awards, Moyo indicated that the NACZ strives to reflect on the developments and celebrate achievements in the Cultural and Creative Industries(CCIs) over the past 40 years and celebrate the achievements by honouring awards influential people who managed to build and shape the various subsectors of the CCIs.