By Vongai Mbara
The night was glamorous, the stage was fantastic and the ceremony had its highs and lows. It is not often that National Arts Merit Awards ceremonies go with less blemish than positive comments, but this year the flow of the programme was good.
The ceremony, which was held at 7Arts Theatre in Avondale on Saturday night lived up to its billing. It seems enough groundwork was done to pull an event that can be rated as one of the best ceremonies of the awards.
If it was not for comedian Carl Joshua Ncube who went overboard with his jokes at times, it would have been the best awards ceremony done by National Arts Council of Zimbabwe.
Most people know that Carl has done well working behind the scenes for Nama ceremonies, but someone must have known that it is risky to bring him to the fore on such a national event.
Sometimes he embodies a loose cannon and throws jokes without considering his surroundings. Some of his jokes are insensitive. He has his way of doing things in front of fans that appreciate his vibes, but Nama was not the right platform for his diction.
Well, enough about Carl and his comic lines. Back to the ceremony.
By 7pm, guests were making their way into the auditorium and most made their presence on the red carpet felt in various ways. Some had outrageous outfits, some ladies left nothing to the imagination while a bigger section of nominees made bold statements through their appearances — negatively and positively.
Organisers strict with their starting time and they set the ball rolling when there were still a few people in the auditorium.
Sound and lighting guys were also excellent as they made things flow flawlessly. The sound engineers should be applauded for a good job. Over the past years, Nama has been criticised for failing to handle the technical issues properly. This year it was a different story — the technical team did a good job.
However, the organisers were found wanting in terms of demarcating space for nominees and ordinary guests.
While most artistes on the nominees list were having red carpet interviews, ordinary guests occupied front seats and it consequently led to delays in the programme as some award winners found spaces at the back of the auditorium. They had to walk all the way from the back to the stage to take their awards, which delayed proceedings.
It was another disappointing year for dancehall musician Killer T, who has become a perennial nominee and fails to take anything home. He was nominated for Outstanding Song for “Takangodaro” and the award went to Jah Prayzah whose track “Mudhara Vachauya” scooped the accolade.
Now to the winners of awards.
Just like last year, Jah Prayzah and Winky D took home two awards each and this time they were the biggest winners. Jah Prayzah won Outstanding Male Musician and Outstanding Song accolades while Winky D took Best Album and People’s Choice awards.
They both gave credit to their strong fan bases and production teams for their success.
“This is for all the ‘Gafas’ (Winky D fans). You have made this possible. I alone cannot do this, I only sing. My younger brother Layan and my producer Oskid also help me to make music so I want to thank them,” said Winky D upon receiving the People’s Choice Award.
Ammara Brown got emotional upon receiving Outstanding Female Musician award, which she dedicated to her father Andy. She went on stage with her sister Chengeto.
“I stand tall because of my family. I want to thank everyone, my sister Chengeto, my son Khameel who is the light of my life. We learnt a lot from our father and this (award) is for Andy Brown,” she said.
In the Spoken Word category, Q Dube took Outstanding Comedian award beating Samantha “Gonyeti” Kureya and Ntando Van Moyo. Jesesi “Neria” Mungoshi took the Outstanding Actress award while Anthony Tongani took Outstanding Actor, beating Admire “Bhutisi” Kuzhangaira who was one of the favourites in the category.
ZBC’s Andrew Neshamba took outstanding journalist in Television award. Although hip-hop musician Takura did not win the Outstanding Male Musician award in which he was nominated that went to Jah Prayzah, his hit song “Zino Irema” got Outstanding Music Video accolade, with its director Andy “Cutta” Sobhuza taking home the gong.
To entertain the crowd, Jah Prayzah and his massive band took to the stage and performed some of his best songs. Different dance groups also showcased their skills on stage and the crowd loved the exciting styles that were shown by the flexible dancers.
In the Special Awards category, 2 Kings Entertainment won outstanding promoter gong and IYASA was honoured with Arts Personality Award.
Below is the full list of nominees,
1 THEATRE AWARDS
Outstanding Actor Everson Ndlovu in Liberation
Rumbidzai Karize in Liberation
Outstanding Theatrical Production
Liberation by Savanna Trust
Matesu Dube for Warrior
2 SPOKEN WORD AWARDS
Nqobizitha Dube aka Q Dube
3 LITERARY ARTS AWARDS
Behind the Wall Everywhere by Farai Mungoshi
Outstanding Children’s Book
The Unwelcome Visitor by Farai Nyandoro (Jomo Kenyatta Foundation)
Whose Land is it anyway by Benjamin S. Sibanda Special Mention
4 VISUAL ARTS AWARDS
Dimensional Work Gumbeze Renherera by Anthony Bumhira
Outstanding 3 Dimensional Work
Washing Hair by Edson Kangadza
Outstanding Mix Media Work
Mhodzi Dzemusango by Semina Mpofu
Woman Curated by Valerie Kabov& Rodney Badza at First Floor Gallery
5 DANCE AWARDS
Outstanding Female Dancer
Christina Jenkins in Ghost
Outstanding Male Dancer
Stephanie Thomas in Phantom
Outstanding Dance Group
Timikha Fisher — Listen
6 FILM AND TELEVISION AWARDS
Jesesi Mungoshi in Muzita Rababa
Anthony Tongani in Conflicts
Outstanding Music Video
Zino Irema(Ndirikukuwonai Zvangu) by Andy ‘Cutta’ Sobhuza ft. Takura
Outstanding Screen Production (TV)
The Arthur C Evans Show directed by Trey Ncube
Outstanding Screen Production — Short Film
Seiko directed by Sydney Taivavashe
Outstanding Screen Production
— Full Length Film
Muzita rababa directed by Nick Zemura
7 MEDIA AWARDS
Outstanding Journalist — Print Tinashe Muchuri — News Day
Outstanding Journalist — Radio
Tawanda Gudhlanga – SFM
Outstanding Journalist — TV
Andrew Neshamba — ZBC
Outstanding Online Media
8 MUSIC AWARDS
Outstanding Female Musician
Outstanding Male Musician
Mukudzei Mukombe aka Jah Prayzah
Gafa Futi by Wallace Chirimuko aka Winky D
Mdhara Vachauya by Mukudzei Mukombe aka Jah Prayzah
9 SPECIAL AWARDS
2 Kings Entertainment
10 Arts Personality Award