Ngqwele Dube, Sunday Life Correspondent
THE Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) have received more than 400 nominations for the 40 awards that are going to be dished out during the inaugural ceremony scheduled for next month.
The nominations closed last Monday and the organisers were busy all week going through the entries that had been submitted. The spokesman for the organisers Nkululeko Nkala said the entries were overwhelming considering this is the first edition of the awards. He said they were humbled by the entries and spent the whole week sorting out the papers.
“The submissions were just overwhelming. We did not think the response would be this big. We hope this is a sign the awards would be a great success. While we haven’t finished counting, it looks like we are going to have more than 400 submissions but many are directed at music in its whole diversity. We are glad people have reacted in such huge numbers,” said Nkala in an interview on Thursday evening, adding they had counted just over 200 by that time.
BAA had three ways through which nominees could be nominated and these were self-nomination, submissions by third parties and a panel made up of selected local arts luminaries, grouped by the organisers, also forwarded names for consideration by the adjudication panel.
Nkala said the judging desk would, in the next fortnight, be seized with coming up with the best artistes that would go on the final nominees list that would be released on 3 June.
The awards ceremony has been slated for 30 June at the Large City Hall, and this year’s event is running under the theme, “Celebrating Arts Excellence”.
Nkala said they have an initial list of 40 awards under various categories but they would be making a final determination depending on the nominations made. Awards categories on offer include Art in Schools, Media, Film, Fashion and Lifestyle, Spoken Word, Theatre, Dance, Visual Arts, Music, Deejaying and Special awards.
“We will be making the final decision on the awards list after going through the nominations because we wouldn’t want to end up with a category with one or no nominations but from the submissions we have received so far it looks like the list is going to be long,” said Nkala.
During the launch Nkala revealed they had a budget of $40 000 and were seeking partners to come on board and assist fulfill the long-held dream of having the arts awards specifically targeted at the Matabeleland arts industry.
He revealed entities that have come forward to partner them so far include the Bulawayo City Council that has offered the Large City Hall for use for the awards ceremony and would also be funding one award, Monomotapa Hotel that has offered them vouchers that would be offered to winners.
At the launch ceremony, several individuals and organisations pledged support for the awards and these include United Refineries Limited (URL) chief executive officer, Busisa Moyo, who pledged to get three companies to sponsor, CNC pledged $200, studio time; one music video, 100 CDs, 100 DVDs and a photo shoot for one of the winners in the music award category while South African-based jazz musician, Sibonginkosi “Mr Prince” Tshabalala pledged to fund the recording of an album by the winner of the jazz musician of the year award.
The Bulawayo Arts Awards are multi-disciplinary arts awards that recognise and honour exceptional individuals and collaborative artistic efforts in the city of Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South.
The steering team of the awards comprises Saimon Mambazo, Raisedon Baya, Reason “Rizzla” Sibanda, Nkululeko Nkala, Vusumuzi Siqalaba and Mvuselelo Huni.