Bulawayo artists have queried the list of names of nominees who are set to receive prizes in the coming National Arts and Merit Awards (NAMA) this weekend.
NAMA, a national event where excelling artists are honoured has always been held in Harare but this year it has been moved to the city of Bulawayo set for the 16th of February.
One of Bulawayo artists Majahawodwa Ndlovu commonly known as Jeys Marabini told Radio Dialogue that they have concerns with some of the names on the list.
“These adjudicators are biased in their selection because some of their songs that they presume to be popular are only popular in Harare not here Bulawayo,” said Ndlovu, “There are a lot of popular songs here for example by Martin of Ndolwane Supersounds and Khuxxman which we know are popular countrywide but have been left out.”
Ndlovu said even though they are not satisfied with the way the list appears they welcome the event being held in the city of kings for the first time.
Another artist Mbekezeli Mpofu known as P.O.Zee said it is sad that everything is done in Harare yet the commemoration is to be held in Bulawayo as if in this city there are no judges. Mpofu also said people seem to not to understand Bulawayo music.
“It seems the only popular music in this country is sungura and urban grooves and nothing else,” he said.
However, Amakhosi Arts director Cont Mhlanga said the list of nominees reflects some change in the selection criteria citing that there are new names that have never been selected before.
“This time a lot of new names dominate and that is good as it gives NAMA a meaning,” said Mhlanga. “But in future instead of making people nominate themselves by filling forms they should make the centres choose their best nominees.”
Director for National Arts Council Nicholas Moyo said they are yet to make improvements especially concerning venues of hosting the event.
Moyo said he feels the selection criteria is fair because it accommodates even those artists who do not have access to exhibition centres. He said music studios and art galleries flight in a list of forty nominees that they would have selected and their work is scanned by a body of adjudicators where the best will be selected. He further mentioned that NAMA has monitors who go around the country every year and produce reports on their findings. He said some of the nominees come from these findings.