KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka
AFRICA Directions won the Best Production Award at the inaugural National Theatre Awards (NTA), an initiative of the National Theatre Arts Association of Zambia (NATAAZ) held at Cresta Golfview Hotel in Lusaka last Friday.
The win was also enough to see Eric Kasomo, who wrote and directed Africa Directions’ play The Natives, walk away with the Best Script and Best Director Awards.
Not everything was smooth at the awards night, but the NATAAZ national executive committee of Boyd Chibale Kaimbi will be happy that they were able to finally pull it off after initially postponing the awards in December.
There were special attendances on the night. NATAAZ patron and Minister of Justice Given Lubinda, Minister of Tourism and Arts Charles Banda, Mwansabombwe Member of Parliament Rogers Mwewa and eminent lawyer and former National Arts Council of Zambia (NAC) chairman Mumba Kapumpa were all in attendance.
They are all names associated with the arts.
Other prominent names in attendance were NAC chairman Patrick Samwimbila, NAC director Adrian Maanka Chipindi, veteran playwright and director Samuel Kasankha, veteran playwright and director Barney Kanjela, promoter Abdon Yezi, immediate past NAC chairperson Mulenga Kapwepwe, promoter Wamala Silwamba and seasoned playwright and director Barney Kanjela.
There was also representation from the Zambia Association of Musicians (ZAM) through chairman Njoya Tee, National Association for Media Arts (NAMA) by chairman Patrick “Sauloshi” Salubusa and Comedians Association of Zambia (COAZ) that also had its chairman Chibwe Katebe.
The NTA are aimed at recognising and appreciating the talent and contribution of theatre artistes to the development of the country.
The initiative was born as a means of filling up the vacuum left by the demise of the Ngoma Awards, which were organised by NAC and catered for all art disciplines affiliated with the arts mother body including those in the fine arts.
At Friday’s awards, theatre artistes were awarded in various categories. The awards were a culmination of theatre performances countrywide and two senior festivals, the Defence and Security Festival held in Livingstone in June 2017 and the National Senior Festival held in November 2017 in Ndola.
The other winners are Jerome Mumba (Saints and Sinners by Bantu Empire Theatre) – Best Actor; Maureen Banda (Wife and Maid by ZANASE) – Best Actress; Acksed Sakala (Wife and Maid by ZANASE) – Best Supporting Actor; Samaria Musanka (Saints and Sinners – Bantu Empire Theatre) – Best Supporting Actress; Frank Pitchers Ngoma (Saint and Sinners – Bantu Empire Theatre) – Best Cameo; Dead Roots (NAPSA Theatre) – Best Set; and Saints and Sinners (Bantu Empire Theatre) – Best Costume.
Chingola Arts Society (CAS) won for Best Light; ZANASE Theatre Club – Best Sound; and ZANASE – Best Stage Managers.
The Chairman’s Award went to Lee Senford Kabongo of Tapheza Theatre for his personal contribution to theatre.
Recognition awards went to ZANASE for the support rendered to the theatre fraternity, Maramba Cultural Village of Livingstone for the support to theatre in the country and Masala Cultural Village in Ndola for the same reasons.