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Zimbabwean Musicians, Writers Honored at National Arts Merit Awards


In Zimbabwe, several musicians who've been nominated for 2007 Zimbabwe National Arts Merit (or NAMA) Awards expressed their delight about being recognized. The 6th edition of the awards ceremony is set to take place on the February 3rd 2007, at Harare's 7 Arts Theatre.

Organizers are predicting a star-studded event, since this year saw a record-high number of submissions across all genres. The theme for this year's awards, organized by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, is "Who am I". Accolades will be awarded in 25 categories, including the recently established "new media" category.

Topping the list of nominees is female vocalist, Elena Kupusa-Smith. Her debut solo album, Hufanyanyina, has been nominated in the Outstanding Album category.

Additionally, her song "Mbudzi" has been nominated in both the Outstanding Music Video- and Outstanding Song categories.The musician said that being nominated is an honor, and encourages her to work on a new album…

“It's a nice feeling, even if you were nominated I'm sure you would be happy. It's nice it's a great feeling. It means I've got potential for later on. It encourages me to make another album," she said.

Speaking at the publication of NAMA nominees, chairman of the adjudication panel Stephen Chigorimbo confirmed they received a total of 300 submissions. Nominees also include Alexio Kawara, whose album "Mpfimbi Yangu" has been nominated for an Outstanding Album awards… and one of its tracks, "Tinodanana", as Outstanding Song.

The political satire "Tomorrow's People" received 2 nominations in the theatre category. These include an Outstanding Theatre Production nomination, while its lead actor -- Mandla Moyo -- has been nominated in the Outstanding Actor category.

In the literature category, Shimmer Chinodya's new book "Strife" has been nominated for best fiction book award… alongside "Short Writings from Bulawayo" from Amabooks, amongst others.

Nominees for outstanding screen production – including television soap operas – were predictable… featuring the only soaps screened on national television. Nominees include Studio 263, Amakorokoza, and Estate Blues. Although the adjudicators say this year's submissions were the most yet, not everyone was short-listed.

Categories that failed to receive a single nomination include Outstanding Screen production (Television drama), Outstanding Female Dancer, and Outstanding Mix-Media.