SULUMAN CHIMBETU emerged the biggest winner at the 12th National Arts Merit Awards after he grabbed a hat-trick at a packed awards ceremony held for the first time in Bulawayo. The Orchestra Dendera Kings frontman won Outstanding Male Musician, Outstanding Album for "Syllabus" and the most coveted People's Choice Award which is decided by popular vote on the day of the awards.
"I am at a loss for words, I had prepared a speech for one award and now this is my third," Sulu said in his acceptance speech.
In presenting the award, ZiFM boss Supa Mandiwanzira, invited all dignitaries on stage, attracting a standing ovation from the audience.
The show was screened live on ZBCTV.
Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister David Coltart was among dignitaries that congratulated Sulu for his sterling performance.
Another surprise was in the special awards category where Partson "Chipaz" Chimbodza became the first promoter to win the Outstanding Promoter of the Year Award ahead of C&A Entertainment and Brumat, trading as Horizon Bar and Restaurant.
Chipaz dedicated his award to the late Utakataka Express leader Tongai Moyo. Actress Nothando Nobengula who was nominated twice in the same category for her role in "Wusiku" and "Ten Bush" won the Outstanding Actress award.
This was a rarity on the part of NAMA since a person can only be nominated once for each category in theatre unless the role overlaps into the other play, but this was not the case.
Charles Matare won Outstanding Actor award for his role in "Wusiku" which again was not a Rooftop production as mentioned, but Blackmaid Production by New Zealand-based Thespian Stanley Makuwe.
In Spoken Word, a new category introduced this year was won by Carl Joshua Ncube for Oustanding Comedian beating Clive Chigubhu and Ntandoyenkosi Moyo.
The most anticipated category of the night which is music had its share of surprises with Hope Masike clinching the Outstanding Female Musician Award while the Outstanding Male Musician was hotly contested.
There were favourites like Donald Chirisa aka Sniper Storm and Enock Guni of the "Ndinonyara" fame.
In Outstanding Song category, Sniper grabbed his first NAMA for the song "Love Yemusoja".
Sniper who was dressed in his trademark red combat gear complete with a black beret saluted his fans for the support and his producer Nhubu Digital. The awards could have gone either to "Ndinonyara" or "Gochi Gochi" by Jah Prayzah but it was Sniper's day. The Sunday Mail's Mtandazo Dube won the Outstanding Journalist for Print media.
Superstar Oliver Mtukudzi who was the guest of honour urged people to appreciate art. He was presented with a sculpture from Dominic Benhura.
Besides the spark of the awards, there were thrills on the red carpet where guests especially the women came dressed for the occasion. Performances on the night were up to scratch including a power play by Sani Makhalima, Jeys Marabini who performed a song called "Ukufa" a tribute to the fallen musicians as well as a magical show by Willis Wataffi, formerly of Afrika Revenge.
The rest of the winners are as follows:
Outstanding Dance group
Outstanding Female Dancer
Siphephiso Magonya - IYASA
Outstanding Male Dancer
Arthur Ndlovu - Magesh
Briann Geza - National Ballet
Charles Matare in Wusiku by Rooftop
Nothando Nobengula in Wusiku and Ten Bush
Outstanding Theatrical production
When Angels Weep by MNK Production
Zane Lucas for Eclipsed - Reps Theatre
Outstanding Mix Media Work
Melodies from the Mermaid by Forbes Mushipe
Outstanding 2 Dimensional Work
Morning Light by David Chinyama,
Outstanding 3 Dimensional Work
Unto Us a Child Is Born by Israel Israel
The Cycle by Davina Jovi
Carl Joshua Ncube
Outstanding Female Musician
Syllabus - Sulumani Chimbetu
FILM AND TELEVISION
Cyril Sadat Sanhewe in Kiriboni The Menace
Qeqeshiwe Mntambo in Suku
Outstanding Music Video
Amai Bhoyi by Jutal
Outstanding Screen Production (Television)
Delete by Shupai Kamunyaru
Outstanding Screen Production (Full Length film)
Suku by Gugulethu Ndlovu
Outstanding Screen Production (Short Film)
Mind games by Charles Mawungwa
Outstanding fiction Book
Taking The Lead by Sibongile Mnkandla
Outstanding Children's book
My Daughter by Albert Nyathi
Outstanding First creative Published Work
Once A Lover Always A Fool by Philani Amadeus Nyoni
Outstanding Journalist (Print)
Outstanding Journalist (Television)
Outstanding Online Media
Outstanding Journalist (Radio)
Outstanding Promoter of the Year