Bulawayo Arts Awards: Of Waiting Games and awards

By @AnesuMarshal

Okay so the Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) came and now they have passed, the wait for the second instalment begins. Before the event I came across an article written by an anonymous author, the article was an honest attempt to predict the night’s outcomes and major events. The article was as accurate as Cristiano Ronaldo in front of goal. So much happened on the last night of the month of June, a lot of good (and some not so good) took place at the Bulawayo City Hall. Sure enough the usual guys are singing praises as they normally do.

This article is not your typical review, I am not going to praise anyone, that has already been done. I am going to go out on a limb and state all that was wrong with the BAAs. Before I begin, I would like to make it clear that I am not a cynic, I am a critic and I will stand behind my word for whatever worth it has.

Let me begin with a WELL DONE to the organising committee of the BAA and hopefully the organisers for other award shows like the NAMAs, Zim Hip-Hop and the like took notes, a new standard for award shows was set (if you ignore some of the gapping blunders that were made on the night). Okuhle kuyabukwa, I am not a hater this has to be made clear, I only wish to give an honest assessment of what took place.

My biggest grievance with the Bulawayo Arts Awards was the poor time keeping. This is an issue that I have seen with a vast majority of most if not all events taking place in Bulawayo. Poor time keeping is a problem that has to be eliminated. Black People Time as it is known in some circles cannot be the excuse for a two and a half hour delay, and the excuse that was given was rubbish (did they not expect people to show up). One of the red carpet host was late and when I was waiting to gain entry I saw her hastily jumping out of a taxi well after 6PM. You are hosting a show at 6pm, it should be come as reflex to arrive at least a 45minutes early. I have one word for this person “PRIORITIES.”

Let us look at the beginning of the night at the “Red Carpet.” It looked very good! However, the red-carpet experience was as good an attempt like that infamous Mugeyi penalty, it went well off the mark. Did everyone really have to go through it, the red-carpet experience just to get a picture taken and why were all the people getting interviewed they aren’t “celebrities”, who cares what Jabu from Nkulumane has to say about anything. Sorry to say it but their opinions on the matter of the first award shows in Bulawayo count for nothing, even 17yr old Tracy from Burnside has an opinion about it. So why on earth was everyone in a queue to get the third degree?

 It would have been simpler just to get the holders of VIP/ VVIP tickets to speak after all they are VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE and the more likely to have been dressed to kill. Better yet the interviews could have been beamed to the screens in the inside, a wonderful opportunity to market products and fashion designers and also make money and a name for themselves in Bulawayo and beyond.

When I saw the picture with the BMWs as the official transporters for the nominees I was very eager to see how it would take place. That boiled down to naught after the traffic along 8th avenue prevented easy driving into the City hall area where the red carpet was. I did not see a single “celebrity” step out of a BMW not even in a picture after the show. The organisers could have requested the City Council to block off the road for a short time while the awards took place.

About those screens, why did they look so run down and over used, at one time they were glitching like the LCD screen of a phone that’s been dropped on the floor. More so some of the graphics shown were out of focus. The art in the graphics and 3D visualisations cannot be denied but there was so much that could have been done with those screens. From where I sat I could see the engineers working with the booms, cameras, audio settings mixer all that stuff if they had access to the camera feed why couldn’t they beam it to the screens what was so difficult about directing simple camera feed to a screen. I do it with my own camcorder and a pair of AV cords surely with all the technology at hand that should not have been a problem.

After what seemed like an eternity of waiting the Awards began with a stellar performance from local dance groups, displaying some astronomical moves, the energy levels raised the roof. Then immediately after an amazing performance like that you drop the ball and let the mood in the room drop with an unexplainable empty stage. I was not impressed at all. They need to carry on the momentum.

Beyond this point the awards were smooth sailing. Very good musical interludes, very great performances the lot of them. However the one thing that made the show frustrating and even more time consuming was the haphazard sitting pattern for the nominees. For some awards the audience waited for more than two or three minutes while they found their way to the stage. Couldn’t they have sat closer to the stage or with a more direct route to the stage? That was a major oversight by the organisers in my opinion.

In the end the event just seemed to drag on and on and on as the night wore on, the rest of the audience also became restless and for some members of the audience waiting for the awards to end was not worth it and they left before curtain call.

After all is said and done I have a few short words to the Bulawayo Arts Awards, JOB WELL DONE & LETS HOPE NEXT TIME IS BETTER.




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