The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) has announced an increase in the number of entries for the 17th National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA), with the music category accounting for the bulk of the entries.
The awards ceremony will be held in Harare on February 17, 2018, with the nominees set to be announced in the first week of February.
Due to the high unemployment rate among the youth in the country, most of them have taken up music as a career and this has led to the rise of many musicians especially in the Zim Dancehall music genre.
This is confirmed by NACZ who revealed that most of their entries were in the music category which is one of the highly contested and popular segments in the awards.
"The 17th National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) received a resounding total number of entries of 1 334; giving a 72% increase from last year's entries of 775," NACZ Acting Communications and Marketing Manager, Cathrine Mthombeni, announced in a statement.
"Of the 8 NAMA categories (Music, Literary, Dance, Visual, Film and Television, Theatre, Media and Spoken Word) the highest increase was in music with 539 entries for the 4 awards categories".
While the increase in entries may be a positive sign on the improvement of quality of arts products from the country's artists, the awards, especially in the music sector, are dominated by a few musicians.
In the past three years, musicians such as Sulumani Chimbetu, Jah Prayzah and Winky D, have hogged the limelight.
As a sign of growth and adoption new technology, NAMA introduced an online entry submission platform and it has been well received.
"The 17th NAMA saw the introduction of the online entry forms. 215 entries were submitted via the online platform.
"There was also a high participation of institutional monitors and individual monitors who contributed in reports that are key in the adjudication processes of NAMA," said Mthombeni.