The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe has introduced new categories in the National Arts Merits Awards, bringing the number to 35. Several other awards were scrapped off, while other awards were added to ensure that all arts genres would be catered for in this national event.
The Outstanding Choral Music Award was scrapped and replaced with the Outstanding Choreographer and Online Media Awards Organisation's award.
In theatre, an Outstanding Director category was also included, where an outstanding actor and actress will be honoured.
Outstanding Female and Outstanding Male Musician were also included in the music category.
An Outstanding Short Film Production has also been added in the Film and Television category.
Speaking at a Press conference in Harare last week, NACZ board chairperson Dr Thokozile Chitepo said nine new awards were proposed during the consultative process.
"Our strategic plan to review Nama has seen the proposal of nine new awards ahead of the12th edition of Nama," said Chitepo.
Part of the proposals included the addition of outstanding choreographer under the dance awards category, while an outstanding director was proposed for the Theatre/ Drama awards.
Stakeholders also wanted awards for outstanding exhibition added under the visual arts awards and out standing online media for the media awards.
An outspoken word category was proposed to honour outstand-ing poets and comedians respectively.
Nama that has been running for 11 years carried out extensive stakeholders' consultation meetings in all provinces to establish any yawning gaps in how the awards are run.
The NACZ management therefore drew a programme to engage various stakeholders throughout Zimbabwe at centrally organised meetings in Bulawayo, Harare and Mutare.
Participants for the meetings were drawn from across the creative industries according to disciplines given at Nama as well as those from heritage and promotion sectors with a number of renowned artistes also attending the consultative meetings.
The main objective of the outreach programme was to solicit public views in an open forum in order to make strategic changes to the Nama inasfar as improving the awards is concerned.
"For immediate implementation, it is being considered that the 12th Nama year is already past the half-way mark and it may be prudent to introduce changes that do not necessarily alter the creative processes of artistes.
"Changes that may add value to the awards and complement creativity have best been considered and NACZ will, however, continue to engage the stakeholders to ensure that changes made to Nama are reflective of the social, cultural and economic situation of Zimbabwe," said Chitepo.
Now in their 11th year, the awards bring together well-developed artistic modes, each different in its own identity with the aim of inspiring Zimbabwean artistes to strive for higher and original forms of achievement.
The awards are open to any Zimbabwean artistes from any of the artistic disciplines and categories who would have excelled in a particular year.
These annual awards have inspired many artistes over the years and some of the previous winners of the accolades include Oliver Mtukudzi, Alick Macheso, the Charambas, Dominic Benhura, Winky D, and Blessing Shumba among others.