Last Sunday, South African artiste Sho Madjozi became the first female African to win at the BET Awards when she walked away with the Best New International Act. The BET award for Best New International Act was initiated in 2015, only weeks to the award show, the award had Cassper Nyovest, MzVee, Mic Lowry, Novelists and Ugandans George the Poet and the eventual winner Eddy Kenzo.
Since then, the award has been won by Nigerian rapper Falz, Rayvanny from Tanzania, and Sjava from South Africa. Sho Madjozi and last year’s winner of course have a few things in common, they both do it in indigenous languages and seem to be getting a lot of success outside the South African borders.
For instance, before the BET success on Sunday or even before Sho Madjozi, born Maya Christinah dropped her successful Limpopo Champions League album in December, she had been up East in Uganda shutting down the country’s biggest party, Nyege Nyege Music Festival.
Madjozi had come to Uganda at a turbulent time for the famous festival – she was meant to close one of the days and only days in the country, rumor was brewing that the festival was off. That was before the first camper had even made it to Nile Discovery Resort at the Nile River where the festival takes place since its inception in 2015.
She would make TV appearances talking about the festival and why cancelling it was such a bad idea. Fast forward to her performance, it was a Saturday night Madjozi hit the stage at about 11:15pm, the fast rising rapper showed that she was tailored for a show like Nyege Nyege. She’s a rapper that fuses her craft with electronic music which will always leave audiences on their feet and yeah, girl is not afraid to throw a freestyle in the middle of her performance.
Madjozi hit the stage at the time many of her audience could have been listening to more than three voices in their heads, it becomes hard for artistes to create a relationship with such people because they may not even be focusing on the stage. And above it all, she came to stage when there was a crisis, it was full of moths that had flown from the river in search of light – here she was in skirt multicolored costume, canvas shoes and long socks daring that same stage.
Yet, with her electronic and stage presence not even the flight of moths could take people’s attention from her; with songs such as Kona, Dum Hi Phone and of course Huku, she lit her audience with the aid of a DJ and two dancers.
“Nyege Nyege,” she screamed before telling her audience that it was her first time performing in Uganda and that; “You have your freedom of speech, tweet and above all, the freedom to groove.” A confident performer, Madjozi dared the audience with then new songs like Wakanda Forever where she features Nigerian rapper Ycee, she started the song off with a verse done without any instrumentation.
Her favorite song is Huku and thus she did it last to an audience that had been waiting for it for almost the entire night. Her second performance was at one of the smaller stages was an intimate affair, the audience was closer and she could dance with them often.
Later that night, she surprised partiers on one of the stages when she hit the stage and started dancing and performed. Of course all these ended with requests for Huku and Wakanda Forever which had become famous at the festival.