The Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards (RBAA) ceremony which had been slated for 29 August have been postponed to November 28, 2020 due to the global pandemic, Covid-19.
The awards are meant to recognise and honour exceptional individuals and collaborative artists efforts in the City of Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, South and those who hail from the region but are now practising art around the world.
Speaking during a Roil BAA online press conference on Monday, one of the organisers Nkululeko Nkala said this was a decision was arrived at after a lot of deliberations.
“It has been a trying few months as we have deliberated a thousand times and even mooted cancelling the awards all together, we want to first of all thank you all for being patient with us and for keeping our arts alive,” he said.
Nkala said they have lined up a number of activities leading to the main event.
“For 2020 a few things had to change like timelines, Monday 10 August (Press launch of Roil BAA 2020, Wednesday 19 August to Thursday 27 August Roil BAA conscious citizenship programme, Friday 28 August opening of nominations and online concert, Friday 18 September close of nominations, Friday 2 October Announcement of nominations.
“Friday 9 October Voting lines open, Friday 20 November voting lines close, Friday 27 November Dress rehearsal and Saturday 28 November Roil BAA 20202,” he said.
Another organiser, Simon Mambazo Phiri added that this year’s awards will see the genres reduced from the original 50 to 32.
“The sector has been heavily much affected by the Covid-19 epidemic hence some genres haven’t been that active, so the awards have been reduced from our original 50 we called out last year to 32 this year,” said Phiri.
He, however, said Roil BAA will re-double their efforts to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable creatives are prioritised during this critical time.
“Further to our various deliberations on the format of the Roil BAA event this year, As we all find our way through the devastating consequences of the Coronavirus, Roil BAA is redoubling efforts to help, protect and sustain our creatives and their families and ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable creatives are prioritised in response and recovery efforts,” said Phiri.
“It is to this effect that we launch the Roil BAA Conscious Citizenship Strategy, a strategy that can play a critical role for supporting the arts sector and help their efforts in creating work in these trying times.
“The spread and impact of Covid-19 is unprecedented. This public health emergency will likely result in a global economic crisis both of which will hit the poorest and most marginalised communities the hardest,” he said.
Phiri said they have also put together food packages for last year`s winners and other vulnerable artists.
“In partnership with our main sponsor United refineries and running under the Roil banner with the possibility of other players joining in this drive, we will issue subsistence and vouchers or stimulus food packages to our 77 previous winners plus 13 of our co-Roil BAA to make it 90 recipients.
“We will also identify a further 10 vulnerable artists who are not necessarily past award winners, for example, elderly artists to make the figure 100 recipients,” he said.
“The process will involve delivery of stimulus packages to the artists’ homes and places of work and will be documented for a delayed video programme to be aired both online and on TV.
“This will be supported by a mini online concert to feature a few artists abiding by Covid-19 safety regulations,” said Phiri.