By Kudakwashe Vhenge
Nominees for the 19th edition of the National Arts and Merit Award (NAMA) were today announced from the entries submitted by artists.
Chairperson of the Adjudication Committee, Professor Ruby Magosvongwe revealed the nominees’ list today.
NAMA, a platform of the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) recognizes outstanding achievements within the arts sector.
However, there have been calls by artists for the need to incentivize those artists who would have scooped a prestigious award in different categories on the day.
Speaking to this publication on the sidelines of the nominees’ announcement event, Director of the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, Nicholas Moyo disapproved the idea of giving artists money saying awards are not about money but rather their craft.
Asked on whether they as the Arts Council have made any efforts to engage the corporate world in order to incentivize winners, Moyo professed lack of interest in approaching corporates for that cause.
“We don’t engage businesses because we are not interested in giving the artists money. Awards are not about giving people money. The award is the one that is supposed to be used by artists to market them.”
“After winning, recording companies are now more willing to sign the artist, if one is a writer, readers and libraries should start looking for your books and that’s where the money is,” he explained.
NAC through NAMA have in the previous year’s given winning artists money but Moyo reiterated that it was not anything to celebrate about.
“However we are cognisant of the economic challenges faced by artists in the country. As National Arts Council we have given price money before because at times other partners who say we have this much so why don’t we, but those are spoils. We don’t do it anymore because that’s not the issue.
“I don’t want anyone celebrating me or celebrating Arts Council if we give artists envelopes,” added Moyo.
On the contrary, Jacaranda Culture and Media Cooperation (JCMC) who recently got a five-year contract from NACZ to host the annual event of NAMA have expressed optimism in incentivizing artists in the future if all partners come on the same understanding.
JCMC productions and events director, musician, Leonard Mapfumo said his organization mainly comprises of artists, and they would hope to see artists getting something besides winning an award hence have approached various corporates in that endeavour.
“The good thing about JCMC is that there are a lot of artists and we understand the value in terms of getting an award and getting rewarded with the award hence there have been efforts to approach a lot of corporates,” he said.
Mapfumo urged the corporate world to come on board in appreciating artists’ talents without necessarily having to recognize them only when they are shouting out names of products and services whilst advertising.
“We would love the corporate world to come and play a part and show their appreciation because we always find artists doing adverts for corporates. They want the end products but we are also saying they must show appreciation of what they do outside of jingles and commercials advertising,” he added.
Mapfumo also urged NAMA awards partners to come on board if they are to achieve this cause.
“The initiative must be from all the parties, the National Arts Council, JCMC, the corporates and even the listeners to show appreciation to the artists so that when they go home they have the award and something else,” added Mapfumo.
The issue of monetary incentives for award-winning artists has been topical amongst artists who have in the previous occasions seen themselves getting nominated and at times winning the prestigious awards with nothing much to show from it.
With the Zimbabwean arts industry estimated to be generating 6, 9% contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the industry plays an integral part in government’s Vision 2030 aimed at ensuring that Zimbabwe attains a middle-income economy hence the need to properly incentivize artists.