Mixed reactions over NAMA winners Enzo Ishall

Bulawayo Bureau

BULAWAYO welcomed back the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) but not everyone was happy with the event that honoured over 40 brilliant artists, groups and organisations at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre (ZIEC) Hall 3 last Saturday night. 

The theme of the country’s premier awards ceremony was #Kwan22, and it reflected the spirit of the night as the arts sector celebrated its achievements and potential. 

The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ), Jacaranda Culture and Media Corporation (JCMC) organised the annual artistic extravaganza, which was graced by Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube. She praised the city’s vibrant culture and art scene and hailed NAMA’s return as a recognition of Bulawayo as a cultural hub. “Culture and art are alive in this beautiful city.” 

“The coming of NAMA to Bulawayo is a clear endorsement and acknowledgment of Bulawayo as a cultural hub,” said Minister Ncube. 

The night was marked by several highlights, such as: 


The venue was not filled, but there was a sizable crowd of art lovers who came to witness the celebration of artistic talent. People from different parts of the country showed up to support the event. Despite some rumours of division in the art sector, the night showed a remarkable display of respect and unity among the art practitioners who came to cheer for their nominated peers. 

The event also attracted top government officials, representatives of NACZ, NGZ, and the Ministry of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture.


The attendees dressed to impress, showing their sense of style and occasion on the red carpet and the stage. 

From elegant suits to traditional outfits and stunning nightwear, the guests showed off their flair and opulence.  

Mzoe7, clad in cowhide, was a show-stopper, while radio presenter MisRed dazzled in a black dress. 


The night was also filled with entertainment, as various artists took to the stage to showcase their talents and skills. 

Renowned poet Albert Nyathi, rising musicians Baba Harare, Noluntu J, Master H, Calvin Mangena, MJ Sings, Bhekiwe, Tamy Moyo, and Msiz’Kay, and traditional singers Everton Mlalazi and Indonsakusa delivered captivating performances that had the audience dancing and clapping. The performers exhibited excellent choreography and vocal delivery, showing that they had prepared well for the night. 


However, the event was not without its flaws, as some aspects of the organisation left much to be desired. 

The organisers failed to provide clear guidance and signage for the guests, resulting in confusion and frustration at the entry points. Some of the guests complained that the security personnel were rude and hostile towards them, some-thing that the organisers should address. 

The red carpet area was also chaotic, as there was no one to control the crowd and some people interfered with the television interviews. The area also looked cramped and small. 

Moreover, some of the ushers seemed unaware of the prominent figures in the arts sector and struggled to help them find their seats, which was a sign of poor identification and coordination. 

Podium speeches 

The speeches at the award ceremony were long and dull and failed to capture the audience’s interest. This publication noticed that the audience would clap and murmur impatiently before the speeches were over. 

The general feeling among the audience was that the speeches should have been shorter and fewer. 

Award presentation and receipt 

The hosts of the night were three skilled and seasoned media personalities: Arthur Evans, Charleen Mangweni-Furusa, and radio personality Nokuthula Sithole aka Noxy Divine Diva. They did a great job of keeping the event lively and engaging. 

The organisers also involved different people from the Creative and Cultural Industries (CCIs) to present the awards, which showed diversity and inclusion. The award presentation was smooth and fast, with no technical hiccups with the display of the nominees on the big screen. 

However, a major concern was the absence of some of the big names in the arts sector, such as Jah Prayzah and Winky D, who sent representatives to collect their awards. 

This raised questions about their respect for the local awards and their availability to attend. 

Feli Nandi

The audience was disappointed and angry, as some of them had bought tickets hoping to see these musical stars and felt cheated. The night ended with both happiness and sorrow for those who won and those who lost. 

Kinah-The-Music, who won the Outstanding Newcomer award in the music category, was ecstatic and grateful. 

“I still can’t believe that this has happened. It means a whole lot to me. It means that dreams are valid and we should dare to dream bigger,” he said. On the other hand, veteran art practitioner and Earground boss, Plot Mhako, was bitter and vocal. “I have been nominated for NAMA four consecutive years and never won. I feel indifferent. I will not allow them to include my name in the future. One day, I will speak out. Today (Saturday), I will sound bitter if I do,” he posted on Facebook.

The post was later deleted.

Singer Saintfloew, who had the most nominations, did not win any awards, and most of the performers were not nominees either. 

After the awards, some fans went on social media blasting the organisers for a shoddy job on some of the categories. 

“It seems the award show has continued to be marred by confusion, disorganised and nepotism. I don’t think I would attend such a platform. I hope they rectify this but it has been happening for ages henceforth, we need a new board to oversee this. Why can’t they learn from neighbouring countries like South Africa and Nigeria among others, they have more sponsors but we end up wondering where did the monies go,” said one local musician who commented on anonymity.

He said last entered the awards years ago.

“I think as artistes we should be respected and we need to sit down with relative authorities to discuss this matter as this should not continue going on.” 

Below is the full list


Outstanding Female Dancer: Deborah Kabongo in Fame in a Frame 

Outstanding Male Dancer: Sean Mambwere in The Chronicles 

Outstanding Dance Group: Salt and Light – The Chronicles

 Outstanding Dance Choreographer: Terence Kapesa — A man from Bulawayo-SaintFloew 


Outstanding 2: Dimensional Work Wire Car by Christwish Mulunga 

Outstanding 3: Dimensional Work Charging Gorilla by Ray Chataira 

Outstanding Mixed Media Work: Sins of our forefathers 

Outstanding Exhibition: Pamoyo Sihlengeni – (Solo Exhibition at National Gallery of Zimbabwe-Bulawayo: curated by Doris Kamupira) 


Outstanding Poet: Ngonidzashe Paradza aka Mambo Guramatunhu 

Outstanding Comedian: (None) 

Outstanding Social Media Skit: Admire Takudzwa Mushambi aka Mama Vee 


Outstanding Journalist: Print Sindiso Dube —Alpha Media 

Outstanding Journalist:  Radio Chamvary — ZiFM stereo 

Outstanding Journalist: Television Collete Musanyera — ZTV 

Outstanding Online Media: Khumbulani Muleya — Heart and Soul 


Outstanding Actor Dean: Jones as Lago in Aladdin 

Outstanding Actress: Musawenkosi Sibanda as ALL MOTHER: We are One in Simunye 

Outstanding Theatrical Production: Simunye We are One, directed by Mongi Wekhaya Mthombeni produced by Shearwater 


Outstanding First Creative :Published Work The Train House on Lobengula Street by Fatima Kara Outstanding Children’s Book The Haunted Pumpkin by Mai Sarungano Folktales 

Outstanding Fiction book: UKhethiwe by Zibusiso Mabonisa Outstanding Poetry Book Shamhu yezera renyu by Memory Chirere 


Outstanding Actor: Everson K Chieza as Jabulani in the November Promise 

Outstanding Actress Bonakele Agnes Ncube as Dudu in High School Diary 

Outstanding Music Video: Damage – Tahle wedzinza — Directed by Jonathan Samukange 

Outstanding Screen Production: (Television) High School Diary — John Mabuyane 

Outstanding Screen Production: (short-length film) Daughter of the Soil by Derrick Manieca 

Outstanding Screen Production: (full-length film) White yet Black by Steve Chikosi 


Outstanding Newcomer: Kinah-the-Music (Shekinah Nathan Ndlovu) 

Outstanding Female Musician: Feli Nandi 

Outstanding Male Musician: Enzo Ishall 

Outstanding Song: Bhebhi Rako Raroorwa by Enzo Ishall 

Outstanding Album: Chiremerera by Jah Prayzah 


Promoter of the Year: Chipaz Promotions 

Artist in the Diaspora: Learn more Jonasi Mwanyenyeka aka Long John (Stand Up Comedy) based in the US

Arts Personality of the Year: Clive Mono Mukundu 

Arts Service Award: Robert Malcolm McLaren 

Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Thompson Kumbirayi Tsodzo 

People’s Choice Award: Winky D (Wallace Chirimuko)

You Might Also Like