The Bulawayo Arts Awards Extravaganza

It was glitz and glamour at the Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards ceremony held at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair’s Hall 4. The event could easily have been held in the plush surroundings of Johannesburg, New York, London or even Hollywood.

State of the Art Admire Kudita

The event arrayed in its galaxy an unabashed host of beautiful women (for which the city is known). But the city of kings is in my view better and more aptly titled the city of dreams.

If you must insist on the city of kings epithet, then you must add “queens”. From the saucy to the outright dangerous, the ladies’ outfits stunned and bedazzled. In the end, it was just an ogle fest of heart attack inducing proportions. It was just the kind of surreal fanfare you see in the glossy pages.

The fashion chronicles

I saw Nyasha Mtamangira, a television presenter in a jaw dropping outfit sauntering on the red carpet. I do not know what they call that kind of outfit she had on. But I could see the likes of US pop princess JLO in that kind of outfit.

Right there on the red carpet, Clayton Chehore of C’n’C Productions, one of the nominees for the awards, was snapping away. ZiFM presenter and brand influencer MisRed was queening it on the red carpet and later on stage presenting an award.

“I got so many entries when I did a call out to be dressed by a Bulawayo designer for the Roil Bulawayo Awards and it really was hard picking by finally we land on @candcclothingbrand simple because their design spoke to my inner African Queen!,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

She also tweeted that the other awards needed to be cancelled.

The awards spinoff

The awards show, as they are being done currently, in Bulawayo offer in microcosm, the vision of what our national creative and cultural industries economy could look like.

By definition, they span across music, dance, fashion, theatre, architecture, publishing, arts and crafts, motion picture, photography, ICTs and tourism. These sectors are all interlinked because at the core lies the creative and imaginative DNA of a people.

So now for the simple, an awards show can and will catalyse a number of related activities namely, dressing up (fashion designers get commissions and so do make-up artists), hospitality (eating out and drinking) just to name a few. To give you an idea of where I am coming from, read the following excerpt from Unesco:

The concept of cultural industries — the creation, industrial reproduction and mass distribution of cultural works — is not new. In 1948, Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer coined the term.

Half a century has passed since they developed the concept and during this time the ways of creating, producing and distributing cultural products has changed dramatically.

Cultural industries have incorporated, in addition to adapting to technological advances and the evolving place of media in society, sophisticated production processes and large-scale distribution methods to reach global markets.

In the 1990s, in Australia and the United Kingdom, the concept further evolved towards the creative economy. The creative economy places an emphasis on creativity and presenting it as the engine of innovation, technological change and as a comparative advantage in business development.

This led to the introduction and use of the terms “creative industries” in policy development circles. — Unesco: Section for the Diversity of Cultural Expression.

Parting shot

Lest you say I am just a dreamer telling or writing tall tales about the creative and cultural industries, let me share a little in number terms of what the rest of the enlightened world already knows which we do not.

The creative economy is an important part of global trade. The global market for traded creative goods and services totalled US$547 billion in 2012.

Cross-border trade of creative goods has shown sustained growth in the last decade. Growth rates stood at 8,6% annually from 2003 to 2012, showing the strength and resilience of the sector despite the economic deceleration of the world economy.

Exports from developing countries, in particular in Asia, are growing faster than in the developed world.

That’s according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Creative Economy Outlook and Country Profiles: Trends in International Trade in Creative Industries Report.

Next week, I continue unpacking the Bulawayo Arts Awards.

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