Shingirirayi Mugodi, Entertainment Reporter
ORGANISERS of the annual National Arts Merit Awards have postponed the 20th edition to the year 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Addressing the media in the capital yesterday, National Arts Council of Zimbabwe director Nicholas Moyo said the awards ceremony which had been set for next February will now go ahead in 2022.
However, there will be other events to be held in-between to ensure artists’ remain relevant including honourary 2021.
“Let me begin by informing you that the next NAMA will be held on February 27, 2021 under the theme Our Legacy Our Pride.
“NAMA shall celebrate Zimbabwe’s 40th anniversary as well as 35 years of National Arts Council of Zimbabwe’s existence, to us, its celebrating a double.
“This is however going to be a unique event in the sense that on the night in question, we shall honour 40 legends as we celebrate 40 years of Independence,” he said.
Moyo said they decided to honour legends in the arts industry in 2021 for their efforts in putting Zimbabwe on the world map.
“We have therefore have dubbed it the NAMA Legends Awards and these also provide a strategic postponement of the competitive 20th NAMA whose hosting hung in the balance due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns.
“We are not cancelling NAMA, we are going to have a highly prestigious event next year in February but for legends.
“The prestigious competitive awards are therefore postponed for a year owing to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
He said the NACZ has taken into cognisance the fact that during this whole lockdown people most of the people in the arts sector have not yet had time to craft their work.
“We know people can say some musicians have had ample time to work on their music but were the conditions the same for the people on the theatre side, we look at dance, we look at visual arts and this has become necessary that we ensure that we postpone NAMA.
“The competitive NAMA that we are all used to will now be held in February 2022 and we will reward artworks that have been created between the periods December 1, 2019 up to November 30, 2021.
“As the organisers of the NAMA, we will try and ensure that we add more awards as we will now be judging the work that would have been done in a period of two year,” he told the media.
The 2020 NAMA Legends Awards will however be held virtually as they are not certain if the lockdown would have been lifted.
He also highlighted that those that will only be present on the day will be the legends and also a limited number of the media.
“The event will be done virtually and the public is invited to join us online, on television stations and also on radio stations.
“We are going to try and limit the number of people that will be allowed to attend the event in order for us to meet the lockdown regulations.
“We are planning for a virtual event because we are not sure if the lockdown would have been lifted,” said the director.