The 2016 edition of Zimbabwe's National Arts Merit Awards (NAMAs) were held on Saturday 13 February at the 7 Arts Theatre in Avondale, Harare.
The NAMAs is a Zimbabwean forum that rewards and acknowledges artists who have excelled in various creative sectors: music, film and television, theatre and drama, literature, creative art and visual arts. The event was established in February 2002 by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) with the aim of promoting the arts sector by recognising and honouring outstanding achievements.
In the music categories at this year’s NAMAs, Jah Prayzah and Winky D won two awards apiece. Jah Prayzah (aka Mukudzei Mukombe) picked up Outstanding Male Musician, beating fellow nominees Mathias Mhere, Winky D and Killer T, as well as Outstanding Album for Jerusarema (ahead of Winky D’s Gafa Life, Mathias Mhere’s Glory to Glory and Killer T’s Ngoma Ndaimba).
Jah Prayzah later took to social media to thank his fans: “Thanks to all my fans nekuramba makamira neni ndimi maita kuti mikombe iuye kwaMukombe (Thanks to all my fans for your support that has seen these trophies coming to the Mukombe family), love you guys.”
Not to be outdone, Winky D (real name Wallace Chirumiko) picked up Outstanding Song for ‘Disappear’ from Gafa Life, beating tracks like Jay Prayzah’s ‘Eriza’, Killer T’s ‘Tirikuda Kumbofarawo’ and Rev. Togarepi Chivaviro’s gospel hit ‘Ebenezer’. Winky D also picked up the People's Choice Award to bring his tally for the night to two, to match his rival Jah Prayzah.
Winky D also took to Facebook to salute his fans: “Greetings to all loving Zimbabweans. Special mention goes to all the Ninjas and Gafas who have rallied behind my works from inception. Those who have tried to fight the movement also deserve recognition in that they always revived our efforts as we scaled up the energy required to make our works survive the distance... My heart is overflown with gratitude and so please accept these words which are a far cry from how great my gratitude is to you.”
Meanwhile, amongst the ladies, Selmor Mtukudzi, daughter of the legendary Oliver Mtukudzi, was named Outstanding Female Musician, ahead of Hope Masike, Taririo neGitare and Agatha Murudzwa. Masike got some consolation for missing out when her video for 'Huyai Tinamate’ directed by Charles Mawungwa won the Outstanding Music Video award in the Film and Television category.
In other music-related categories, Legends Sports Bar in Marondera was named Outstanding Promoter, while Stephen Chifunyise of the Nhimbe Trust earned a Special Award for his organisation's contribution to the local arts scene. In the Dance category, M&M Dance Factory picked up three awards, include two for Sean Mambwere, while Timikha Fisher from Breakthrough Productions was named Outstanding Female Dancer.
The NAMAs also awarded leaders in Literary Arts, Visual Arts, Spoken Word (poetry and comedy), Theatre, Media (journalism), Film and Television.