The Sunday News
Sandisiwe Gumbo, Sunday News Reporter
BULAWAYO is getting ready to celebrate the vibrant creativity and talent in the city with the highly anticipated 7th edition of the ROIL Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAAs) set for the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre on November 25.
The remarkable event marks a major milestone in honouring and recognising the immense local talent within the Matabeleland region. However, it doesn’t stop there — the BAAs have gone above and beyond by not only applauding artistic excellence but also making a positive impact on the community.
Through their noble initiatives, deserving individuals have been granted household stands, thereby contributing to individual and community development. And guess what adds an extra sprinkle of excitement this year? The symbolic significance of the number seven, associated with completion and perfection.
As part of this year’s historic edition, the organisers will be honouring seven icons within the arts sector, over and above the lifetime achievement award. While the organisers have remained mum on the seven icons that will be honoured, their contributions to the arts community are expected to be highlighted and celebrated during the event.
“This is our seventh edition and biblically seven is a number of completion, hence as part of this year’s edition we felt the need to recognise seven amazing people that impacted and paved the way for most of us to be where we are, and to be able to do what we are doing. Unfortunately we can’t announce who they are, but come the 25th, seven people will be recognised,” said one of the organisers, Nkululeko Nkala.
He said besides the honouring of these seven icons, they were expecting this year’s edition to be bigger and better, starting with the ceremony relocating to a bigger venue at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre.
“The BAAs are about celebrating and recognising local talent. In terms of evolving we try to make the event better with every edition. At first it was about recognising the talent in Matabeleland but over the years we started changing people’s lives, over the past two editions we’ve managed to give away household stands and we believe most people that have either won or have been nominated have gone on to be something regarding their arts,” he added.
To enhance the quality of production and overall experience, the organisers secured a partnership with the Culture Fund Trust of Zimbabwe, where they were expecting to bring about improvements to various aspects of the event.
“In terms of production, this year we have an amazing partnership with Culture Fund Trust of Zimbabwe. We were able to do a technical workshop and auditions for performers, meaning everything this year is going to be a step above everything that was in previous years. There will be good sound and good lighting because of the workshop, there will also be good dancers because of the auditions.”
For collaboration and exchange within Zimbabwe’s artistic community, artistes from Harare are set to participate in the event for skill exchange purposes. This direct engagement not only fosters a sense of unity among artistes from different regions but also provides an opportunity for knowledge sharing and enrichment.
“Now that we get partnerships like the Culture Fund, it means we can always create more work, meaning we can create more platforms for skills exchange. We have people coming from Harare for skills exchange like artists to work with our choreographers, about two people coming to be part of the ensemble and we are also going to have some technical guys coming for skills exchange. It is a win to everyone that we are going to be able to recognise our own.”
Looking towards the future, Nkala highlighted that they hope to be the best that we can ever be and be able to maintain the transparency that has kept the BAAs going over these many years as they change more lives.