THE Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) seem to be a brilliant idea but surprisingly the initiative has raised eyebrows in some sections.
While Bulawayo has over the years been referred to as the home of arts, it is surprising that when national awards ceremonies are held, artistes from the second largest city barely make it to the nominations lists.
One begins to wonder how the City of Kings and Queens fails to deliver on the national stage in terms of awards when they have such a rich cultural heritage.
The Bulawayo Arts Awards are indeed a remarkable move by Vusa Dube and other organisers since it was about time that someone recognised and appreciated the talent in Bulawayo.
One thing that people have to understand is that, the BAA are not meant to counter any awards or forms of recognition in Bulawayo or the country in general but are meant to complement the efforts that are already being made to recognise and honour artists from the Matabeleland region.
Despite the current economic huddles in the country, the organisers managed go against all odds and present a beautiful night of glitz and glamour.
Many awards ceremonies have found themselves in an unfortunate position as funding seems to be a problem but the BAAs made it anyway. This is actually the starting point for us to applaud the organisers.
This initiative seeks to create a competitive culture in the artistic community thereby uplifting the arts sector in Matabeleland. Just like in any area of our society, giving someone a prize encourages others to work harder. This is what the BAAs aim to do, which is improving the standards of arts in the region, not to propagate tribal moves as some are putting it.
The awards succeeded in celebrating the diverse creativity of their artists. At the end of the day art is an expression that mirrors our society and so should be celebrated.
It brought Matabeleland region together in celebration of their artistic efforts. Artists should not just work in vain but be given a social platform to celebrate their achievements and network with others and what better place to do that but the now reputable Bulawayo Arts Awards.
It is the nominations and awards artists bag that elevate their status, for example, former Mr Bulawayo Oliver Keith started off as an aspiring comedian coming up with skits on Facebook and now he is proud to have been nominated for the best comedian award. He has benefited from this as people are now interested in looking into the young artist’s exploits, which afforded him the opportunity to battle it out with comedy giants such as Ntando Van Moyo and Carl Joshua Ncube.
His name is now on the map for national recognition and this is how fame builds up. There is an English adage which says, charity begins at home, thus the Matabeleland region cannot start complaining that the bulk of their artists are not being honoured nationally when as a region they cannot recognise their own talented artists.
This then becomes one of the purposes of the BAAs, to recognise and honour efforts of practicing individual artists and arts groups in various arts disciplines in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South.
The same way people applauded other provincial awards such as Midlands Music Awards, Masvingo Music Awards and the Marondera Music Awards should be the same way they are applauding the Bulawayo arts awards because it is a province just like any other province.
If there is anything I have learnt from the criticism of the awards it is the fact that the absence of knowledge has over time led people on many conflicting paths that have contributed to our division and not our unification.
Instead of blogging about how the Bulawayo arts awards are in a way promoting tribalism, why don’t we download the award winning song of the year, Ngamnanka uSaMamoe by Madlela Skhobokhobo and appreciate the talent.