The long walk to the red carpet

03 Dec, 2023 - 00:12 0 Views
The long walk to the red carpet Some of the guests at the RoilBAAs last week

The Sunday News

Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday Life Reporter
OVER the years, there have been complaints about the lack of red carpet etiquette by people, particularly artistes, during award ceremonies in the City of Kings.

Award ceremonies by their nature are meant to be prestigious events, encouraging people to select the finest bits of fabric and tailor outfits that shock and awe on the red carpet. Very often however, especially in Bulawayo, this has not been the case.

When Bulawayo hosted its first ever Namas in 2013, many were left as impressed by the depth of artistic talent in the city but they were disappointed by the poor red carpet manners in the city.

Bulawayo’s arts gurus, some who had graced some of the most prestigious occasions at home and abroad, turned up in football jerseys and sneakers on what was supposed to be a historic night celebrating the arts in the home of the arts.
A decade later, a lot has changed and most of it is down to the ROIL Bulawayo Arts Awards. What started as an idea to honour some of Bulawayo’s finest artistes has now flowered into a platform where the city’s fashionistas can show off taste for fine fabric.

Best dressed winner Mollet Ndebele (second from right) is joined by “fashion police” that included South Africa’s celebrity Lasizo (left)

From suave suits and night dresses to eye catching traditional regalia creatively yoked with modern styles. All was on display last Saturday night during an event that once again seemed to justify the RBAAs claim of being the best run awards ceremony in the country.

For one of the organisers of the awards show, Raisedon Baya, the awards ceremony was testimony to the fact that at long last Bulawayo had embraced the red carpet culture.

“There was generally higher level of respect for the event in terms of how, almost 80 to 90 percent of the people that came to the event were dressed up. To us that shows the respect of the event and how much people want it to succeed. We count that as a major success,” he said.

For Baya, that respect stemmed from the fact that the award ceremony was well packaged, with little room for error in production. The people will not dress up for a shoddily organised spectacle.

“The other success for us was in terms of the actual event itself. I think we delivered a high quality event that a lot of people that were inside and outside the event quickly applauded and acknowledged because it showed the growth of the awards. A lot of messages that we got from people acknowledged this and a lot of people were proud to be associated with the BAAs,” he said.

Nicholas Moyo (left) the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training at the awards

Baya said that the higher production values seen this year were due to the support shown by two sponsors in particular, ROIL and Culture Fund.

“ROIL and Culture Fund were our biggest supporters in terms of finance. They were supporting specific things that are very important and that really come out at the event. For example, you can see that the technical quality of the awards, I am talking about the stage, performances etc, was well improved from last year. This is because Culture Fund came in and they were interested in that technical aspect. We started with the workshops and we ended up with that kind of spectacle.

“Going forward we hope that we will continue receiving the same kind of financial support because we can’t run an event of that magnitude without corporate or NGO support. We are hoping that since we delivered, others would like to come in and support,” he said.

Cal_vin’s fiancee and child (second from left) are joined by the late singer’s family in accepting the cheque at the RoilBAA at ZIEC last week

One heartwarming moment at this year’s awards was when a sponsor, Mitchell Tshuma took on the task of paying school fees for the later rapper Cal_vin’s child. This, Baya said, was the kind of life changing gesture they were aiming for as an award ceremony going forward.

“We were able to bring in some other sponsorship that was able to bring in value here and there. For example, there was that gesture where a certain sponsor said that they want to pay school fees for Cal_vin’s child. For me, I think for us as the awards, those are the life changing experiences that we wish the awards to bring every year. We are really proud of that. We are hoping that as the years ago, we are able to impact on lives, either of the artistes of their families in a positive way,” he said.

Mitchel Tshuma (right) and fellow presenter at the Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards (RoilBAA) held at the Zimbabwe International Exhibtion Centre last week

Baya said this year’s ceremony had also taught them that they needed to announce dates and venues well in advance, so artists could have ample time to prepare.

“I think it was successful event and one thing that we are sure of now is that we have a lot of people on our side. We had a lot of support and although some of it might not have been financial or material things but we got it nonetheless. We got a morale support from Bulawayo as a city, its people and from the media. The sentiment we got was that this was our event and we needed to support it. You could see it in terms of the attendance and the number of people that were talking about it.

“We need to manage our time properly and secondly we need to tell our people about the date and even the venue way in advance so they can prepare. I think a lot of our artistes are also complaining about the fact that they have no transport and I think it speaks to the nature of our industry because a lot of our artistes are struggling financially. However, the poverty of the artistes cannot be solved by the awards because that is one event. So, whilst we wish everyone could attend, we are aware that the economic situation for artistes is hard. We hope that Bulawayo as a community continues to see the awards as theirs and continue to support it every time,” he said.

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