Corporates should sponsor NAMA

HARARE - The just-ended 12th edition of the National Arts Merits Award (Nama) held for the first time in Bulawayo on Saturday underscored once again the importance of corporate and government support for the awards.

ZTV, who for the past four years had refused to screen the live gala demanding payment upfront, was camped in Bulawayo and brought the awards presentations live to our homes.

Though the event witnessed excellent entertainment drawn mainly from Bulawayo, the cultural hub of Zimbabwe, it was clear that with more corporate sponsorship the awards would have been more glittering and spectacular.

The task force formed to assist in fundraising for Nama held its last fundraising dinner on Wednesday, just days before the big day, a sign that the corporate world had been slow to respond to pleas for sponsorship.

Government should also sponsor part of Nama as this is a national event, just like the music galas that receive government support.

It was evident throughout the function that organisers and artists put in their best effort but there was a lack of funding to oil the human machinery.

Nominees from Harare were only bused to Bulawayo on Saturday, the same day the awards were taking place as the organisers could not afford to accommodate them for more than one night.

This takes away the thunder expected from such glamorous galas.

Winners were not provided with any cash prizes besides certificates and trophies. The National Journalists Media Awards (Njama) sponsors give a cash reward of $3 000 for each award, money that can go a long way in helping artists at Nama if they receive it as well.

Artists in Zimbabwe do not earn that much and artistes have been finding it hard to make ends meet, and Nama should work harder and give cash incentives to the winners so they can buy guitars, microphones, paint and brushes and be able to pay for studios etc.

We call upon the corporate world to come forward and support our arts, just like they support the Hifa.

We applaud the effort and work put in the past 12 years by the National Arts Council in staging Nama.

But Nama should be more than just a presentation of awards, it should by now be a super-brand like the Grammys — powered by the corporate world.

Superstar musician Oliver Mtukudzi who was guest of honour at the ceremony could not say it any louder as he called for the corporate world to chip in and make Nama the glamorous event that brings together the famous and talented artists in Zimbabwe.

There is need for Nama organisers to start preparations of the event well in advance to ensure they attract the right investors.

Nama should engage a team of consultants that would be involved in sourcing investors for the event throughout the year. - Staff Writer

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