BY SHARON SIBINDI
Zimbabwean poet-cum-musician Albert Nyathi says he owes his National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) Living Legends trophy to the people who made him what he is today.
Nyathi was among the 40 legends who were honoured during the #Namalegends@40 Awards under the theme Our Legacy, Our Pride to honour 40 legends in celebration of the country’s 40 years of independence which was held on March 27.
“So many people contributed to my being and art has always been to me a collective, collaborative exercise and it shall remain that way because you get inspired by the people,” Nyathi told Standard Style.
“I have worked with lots of people in my band — Imbongi—but also outside key inspirations include Lovemore Majiavana, Mthandazo Ngema Ngwenya, Ndabezinhle Sigogo…. It’s just been a whole journey, such an intriguing journey. ”
Nyathi said he feels honoured to have been part of the luminaries and it encourages one to work even further.
“I am told that this award or award to recognise the work that one has done over the years, the work that has been significant and an inspiration to the younger generation. In other words, one would have opened a path for many to follow and preserve our culture, our arts,” he said.
“It is an important award, it actually encourages one to work even further. Remember in art, you don’t retire…. it’s more of the wisdom aspect. I feel very honoured to have been given this award, I feel honoured to stand among luminaries and at some point I was there, standing thinking about umama Barbara Makhalisa-Nkala, Cont Mhlanga, Lovemore MaGee Majaivana and Pathisa Nyathi. I was thinking whether I fitted. I was like wow and I am among these people.
“I was not sure and I thought the organisers could have seen something in the work that I do. Sometimes it’s not about you, it’s about the work that you have done, people know you through your work.”
Nyathi added: “One day I was chatting with the late Oliver Mtukudzi, we were walking and you know people greet, talk and then he was like ‘Ah! You know my work is more popular than me’. So, I think that’s what is more important—your work.”