ORGANISERS of the Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards (RBAA) yesterday postponed the event to November as the effects of Covid-19 continue to be felt in the arts sector.
The awards, which had initially been pencilled for August 19 have been moved to November 28 this year.
The postponement of the ceremony also paved way for a Covid-19 rescue package for local artists courtesy of the organisers and sponsors.
Speaking during a live Facebook press conference, one of the organisers Saimon Mambazo said the effects of the novel coronavirus have largely been felt in the cut throat arts fraternity.
“As we all find our way through these devastating consequences of Covid-19, RBAA is redoubling efforts to help protect and sustain our creatives and their families and ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable creative are prioritised in response and in their recovery efforts.
“It is to this effect that today we launch the RBAA Conscious Citizenship Strategy, a strategy that can play a critical role in supporting the arts sector and help their efforts in creating work in these times,” Mambazo said.
He added that the spread and impact of Covid-19 was unprecedented in such a way that the poor and the marginalised will be hard hit.
“With this mind we will postpone the main RBAA ceremony which was planned for August 29 to November 28 and direct our efforts towards this strategic stimulus programme.
“Through the assistance of the main sponsors United Refineries and other partners, the RBAA will distribute food packages to our 77 previous winners plus 13 of our core RBAA team, making it 90 recipients,” he said.
Mambazo said they will also identify a further 10 vulnerable artists who are not necessarily past winners; for instance senior and elderly artists.
“The process will involve delivery of these stimulus packages to the artists’ homes and their place of work and will be documented for a delayed video programme to be aired both online and on TV.”
Meanwhile, the organisers revealed that Covid-19 also forced them to cut the total number of awards categories from 50 to 32, since some of the genres were inactive.
The RBAA awards were launched four years ago as part of the initiative to recognise efforts by artists from Matabeleland.