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Book Café wins prestigious NAMA Award
February 25, 2013
week ago on February 16th, The National Arts Council presented The
Book Café with a NAMA Award for National Arts Service. The
Book Café is one of Zimbabwe's most important arts
and culture venues, combining entertainment and artist development
with informative discussions and critical platforms for freedom
of speech. Book Café Senior Arts and Communications Officer
Extra-Blessing Kuchera accepted the award at the star-studded ceremony.
The event was
well-attended by various dignitaries, including Minister of Education,
Sports and Culture David Coltart, ZiFM head Supa Mandiwanzira and
music legend Oliver Mtukudzi. The Book Café received the
National Arts Service award in recognition of the achievements of
its live music venue and the outstanding support it gives to artists.
Book Cafe is
part of Pamberi Trust and is founded on the belief that the arts
are critical in shaping values that reflect society. Since its inception
in 1997, The Book Café has evolved into a lively arts hub
that is open 7 days a week and offers an art space that has become
a place where all cultures mix freely and comfortably.
This award is
the first time Book Café has been recognized by the National
Arts Council. Senior Arts and Communications Officer Extra-Blessing
Kuchera was very excited to receive the reward as it was completely
unexpected. Kuchera says, “NAMA had said they wanted a representative
from Pamberi Trust to come and present an award at the ceremony.
They wanted to surprise Book Café so they didn't tell
us. I was supposed to present the National Arts Service Award to
someone else. It was a genuine surprise! It's a special award.
They created this for specific individuals and organizations that
have excelled in terms of developing arts in Zimbabwe.”
presented the award by acclaimed musician and guest of honour, Oliver
Mtukudzi. Last year the National Arts Service Award was awarded
to Prince Tendai Mpfurutsa. Speaking about the significance for
the award Kuchera said, “NAMA looked at the quality that came
out of The Book Café. However, from my perspective it's
just hard work, team work, commitment, determination and being responsible.
The most important thing is being able to help people realize their
potential - to go another mile. Being able to give people
that opportunity is what we do and that's what the award is
all about. The artists are the ones who really deserve this award
because they are the ones who come in and build themselves, who
come in and enjoy their time at Book Café, and who come in
and make a name that enables them to go places.”
The Book Café
has been in operation for 16 years. In 2012, they moved from their
location in Five Avenue to their new premises a stone's throw
away on Samora Machel. Last March, The Book Cafe received the prestigious
Prince Claus Award for excellence in the arts from the Dutch organization,
The Prince Claus Fund. Importantly, most of Zimbabwe's well-known
and well-loved musicians have performed or received critical support
and mentoring through the many platforms and opportunities at The
Book Café. These include, Chiwoniso Maraire, Victor Kunonga,
2013 NAMA Award winner Hope Masike, 2013 triple NAMA Award winner
Suluman Chimbetu and singer Peace Ndlovu, popularly known as Ba
Ba Shupi is
a talented artist who is rising in the music scene, in part because
of the important platform provided for artists at The Book Café.
About the Book Café he says, “The Book Café
is a platform that I also came into. I have learnt a lot and a lot
has happened in my life through the Book Café, and the Open
Mic and all the activities that happen at Book Café. For
me to have a band, I got it from Book Café because it's
a meeting place for all different artists. In Zimbabwe the Book
Café, are doing their level best to uplift us artists. That's
where I met people like Chiwoniso Maraire and all kinds of artists.
At the end of the day, my dream would be for the Book Café
to expand to other towns because every artist gets the opportunity
to showcase their talent”.
continues to play a critical role in the development and promotion
of arts and culture in Zimbabwe. Congratulations on their award.
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