The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday Life Reporter
THE winner of the People’s Choice Award at this year’s ROIL Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAAs) could walk away with a fully built house, as organisers have already managed to secure a stand while other prospective sponsors have so far pledged to supply cement and bricks.
When they announced that 6 November would be the date for this year’s awards, organisers promised that this year’s ceremony would reward the biggest winner with a “life changing” award, after regular complaints from city artistes that awards never changed their livelihoods for the better.
This year’s awards will be held at the Large City Hall. Besides the traditional sponsors, United Refineries’ ROIL, Eyethu Fruit and Veg, Nodumo Nyathi, Sethule Nyathi, Allen Ngonyama, Zim Centre for the Media and Information, Habakkuk Trust, Fraser, the Malaba Clan, MD Auto Works are some of the companies and individuals that had pledged support for the awards extravaganza.
In an interview after the end of call for submission of names for this year’s award ceremony, the spokesperson for the ROIL BAAs, Nkululeko Nkala, said they had been overwhelmed by the number of submissions for this year’s awards.
“We received over 27 000 submissions on our online platform but that obviously includes repeat submissions. The number of physical submissions was 320 but overall, we are happy with the enthusiasm with which people have welcomed the awards. The level of excitement this year even exceeds that from previous successful years so we are beyond chuffed by this outcome,” he said.
Nkala confirmed that the winner of this year’s main award would indeed walk with a mouth-watering prize, with a residential stand already pledged, while other supporting contributors had promised to supply cement and bricks.
“The plan for this year’s awards was always to deliver something life-changing and so far, one thing that we have confirmed is a residential stand. We have other sponsors already promising bricks and cement but that is not confirmed as of yet. Everyone who is a nominee will be eligible for this big award but obviously as we go forward, some will fall by the wayside,” he said.
Nkala said this year’s awards would see 36 winners rewarded in different categories, although not all would receive their gongs during the final ceremony.
“There will be 36 categories this year which will be a little bit more than we had last year. So, we will have two pre-shows where some of the awards will be given out. Firstly, during the ceremony where the nominees will be announced, we will give out a few.
Then, a few days before the awards, we will have a show, probably at the Bulawayo Theatre, where people will watch the productions that have been nominated and during that ceremony, there will be more awards that will be given away.
“We are doing this to avoid the time management issues that we have had in the past because this is something that has always affected us in the past. We have always been on the wrong side of time,” he said.
Nkala said if everything went according to plan, the announcement of the nominees would take place on 1 October, with the ceremony expected to be a hybrid affair that complied to the prevailing Covid-19 regulations.