EXQ walked away the biggest winner at the National Arts Merit Awards with two gongs while radio personality/comedian Babongile Sikhonjwa, actress Qeqeshiwe Mntambo, Vusa Blaqs and poet Likhwa Ncube had one award each.
The awards ceremony was held in Harare under the theme: ‘African Royalty’.
The event also paid tribute to departed artistes, among them multi-award winners – writer Charles Mungoshi and national hero Oliver Mtukudzi, who died early this year
ExQ was adjudged to be the Outstanding Male and also clinched the Outstanding Album gong during the ceremony.
Sikhonjwa was adjudged the Outstanding Journalist for Radio while Qeqe walked away with the Outstanding Actress in Theatre award for her role as Pinky in The Hostel.
Outstanding Song, which was really a competition between Zimdancehall artistes, went to Enzo Ishall for his song Kanjiva, beating the highly fancied Sweetie (Shinga Muroora) by Jah Signal.
The Outstanding Female award went to gospel musician Janet Manyowa, the Zadzisa hit maker.
A very big surprise for many, but not for those who follow listenership on radio stations such as Radio Zimbabwe and National FM, was gospel musician Mai Patai who won the People’s Choice Award. She made light work of the likes of Winky D and Seh Calaz.
In the Outstanding Music video category, renowned videographer Vusa Blaqs came up tops for producing Jah Prayzah’s Dzamutsana music video. The scenic music video got rave reviews for its rural traditional setting that brought out the rich cultural diversity Zimbabwe possesses in all corners of the country.