Zimbabwe National Arts Merit Awards

The winners for Zimbabwe’s National Arts Merit Awards 2022 were announced in a ceremony in Harare on Saturday, February 26, 2022.

The National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA Awards) is a set of annual awards granted by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe in recognition of outstanding achievements in the arts and culture. The categories have differed over the years.

The twentieth edition were hosted over the weekend with awards in many categories. We focus on the literary here and fortunately, there were several awards handed in this area. Here is a list of the literary categories with the winners designated as winners and in bold alongside fellow finalists.

Outstanding Fiction Book

  • All Comes to Dust, Bryony Rheam [amaBooks] (Winner)
  • Mboni, Abraham Makamera [Progressive Publishers]
  • Sirens: Tales of Youth and Love, Leroy Mthulisi Ndlovu [Leroy Mthulisi Ndlovu]

Outstanding First Creative Published Work

  • Bringing us back, Mercy Dhliwayo [Vhokololo Press] (Winner)
  • Diaspora Dreams, Andrew Chatora [Kharis Publishing]
  • Umkhosi Wabangela Mazwi, Pretty Ndlovu [Ukhozi Publishers]

Outstanding Children’s Book

  • The Cursing Tortoise, Onwald Gwiriri [Essential Books Publishing Company] (Winner)
  • Auntie Mazvita, Tinashe Muchuri [Essential Books Publishing Company]
  • Tim’s Adventure in the Chocolate World, Chris Martin Lebolang [Hoart Benom Pty Publishing]

Outstanding Poetry Book

  • For women Trying to breath and failing (It’s not your fault), Batsirai Chigama [Ntombekhaya Poetry] (Winner)
  • Oasis in crisis, Ruth Tsopotsa [Ancient Pageant]
  • Who killed Grandfather?, Kwanele Khumalo [Underclass Books and Films]

Special Mention Convergence

  • ZW, Mgcini Nyoni [Mgcini Nyoni]
  • Dear Eternal Mom, Kuda Mucharambeyi [Soar Publishers]
Batsirai Chigama
Batsirai Chigama

Batsirai Chigama said of her win, “In the past, self-published books were not given recognition.  We have seen the closure of many publishing houses in the country and the few remaining do not have the capacity to accommodate the vast stories our nation has to tell.  Slowly but surely self-publishing is becoming the channel for most of our storytelling.  Winning two NAMAs with my self-published books is affirmation and acknowledgement that self-published stories have a place in the history of our literature and that means a lot, not only to myself but the future of our storytelling in general”

Bryony Rheam said, “I am very happy to be a recipient of the National Arts Merit Award 2022.”

Mercy Dhliwayo said, “After 2 previous NAMA nominations, God decided the 3rd time was the right time. Thank you to Vhakololo Press for believing in my writing. To every individual who has ever purchased a copy and/or taken the time to read; thank you.”