The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Reporter
THE 2020 Bulawayo Arts Awards are set to go ahead next month although fans will have to follow proceedings on digital platforms.
By last month, it was not clear whether this year’s edition of the awards will be held as the Covid-19 pandemic continued to affect the arts calendar worldwide. However, organisers of one of the city’s premier arts awards did not lose hope as they continued planning for a glamorous event to quench the thirst of arts lovers.
Last Wednesday the awards got a huge boost when the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) gave the green light for the holding of the awards as part of the Bulawayo at 126 celebrations. As part of the partnership agreement, the local authority has offered the use of the Large City Hall for free, with the virtual awards being set for 29 August.
“We would like to interest the city of Bulawayo again in partnering the awards as part of the Bulawayo at 126 celebrations by offering free use of the Large City Hall for the digital version of the Awards ceremony, scheduled to take place on 29 August. We are aware of the regulations that have been put in place pertaining to Covid-19 and gathering, therefore we will ensure that BAA meets the necessary requirements and is Covid-19 ready,” reads a letter from the BAA organisers to the local authority.
One of the organisers, Nkululeko Nkala yesterday confirmed that the awards will go ahead, revealing they were now busy ensuring they deliver a complete package once again.
“Obviously we thank the City of Bulawayo for their deliberate support of local arts. Though we would have loved to do the awards in its prototype we can’t ignore the new normal.
“Art must go on. We are hard at work to make sure the experience will be just as satisfying for the creatives and their fans,” said Nkala.
He said as part of their Covid-19 compliance plans, they would ensure social distancing all times during the preparations and the holding of the actual ceremony.
“Social distancing will be practised as well as sanitising of the venue, stage and persons who will be working at the venue. We will also ensure that we stagger the number of personnel who have access to the venue at the same time. The numbers will be kept at minimum and there will be no audience,” said Nkala.
Pertaining the finer details on the awards that will be awarded on the day, the nomination and public voting procedures, Nkala said they will be making the announcements this week. This year’s awards will be the fourth edition.
They were previously traditionally held in June but organisers felt the need to shift the date to August as there was a feeling that the carnival atmosphere was being spoilt by the cold temperatures. As part of their support to this year’s awards, the local authority also announced that they will now have a deliberate budget towards the arts and creative sector in the city noting that the industry is pivotal in strategically placing the city at a vintage point as an international arts beacon.