Port Elizabeth- The Nelson Mandela Bay held its very first Gospel Music Awards on the 21st October, held at the Nangoza Jebe in New Brighton. The event was of a high level, from the red carpet, people looking amazing, to the performances from the choir and the artists as well.
The main idea behind these awards was to give recognition to the local artists who worked tirelessly spreading the word of God. Talking with one of the nominees from the red carpet, Bukiwe Zigweyi who said that “I am very happy about the awards, because that simply means as artists we no longer have to go to other provinces, Gauteng to be specific in order to get recognition”. Bukiwe was one of the nominees for the Best New Comer.
One of the people who have attended the awards is a legend in the music industry, Sizwe Zako. Zako has worked with different artists in the industry, producing music for artists such as Rebecca Malope and Vuyo Mokeana to name few. Zako explained how happy he is that finally Eastern Cape has its own Gospel Awards, saying the fact that people or musicians had to move to Jo-burg in order to get recognition had always bothered him, but now that there is awards he has hope that greater things are yet to come to the city.
The awards started at 5pm with the opening performance from the choir that made the whole house to feel the presence of the spirit. After the performance artists were awarded starting from Best Male artist which was taken by Sebenzile Hlafani. Then it move to Best Gospel Group, which was taken by St Johns Choir. Soon after Mzimeni Menti delivered his performance. The awarding continued with Best Female artist, taken by SD Marhawu, and then the Best Male award taken by Zukile Matshaya. Speaking with him after he took his award, Mr Matshaya, explained how happy he was to get the award and thanked his fans who had voted for him. Mr Matshaya said “I didn’t expect to get this award, but now that I have it, this will keep me going and I am very much grateful to God for the talent He gave me”.
The choir was on stage again, delivering its best performance. The award continued on the Best Supporting Church and the Empowerment Church took the award. Pastor Xhalabile took the award of Best Gospel Supporter. After that award it came to the most valued award of the night, which was given to Mr Sizwe Zako, the Honour Award. Best praise song was taken by Mzimeni Menti, Best Worship song by Sinethemba Mjuza. Before the event come to an end with one last award to be called, the founder of the Nelson Mandela Bay Gospel Awards, Mr Khumbulani Qekema was called on stage. Mr Qekema explained how tough the journey was into making sure that these awards become a success, saying with many challenges and having a tough time in finding sponsors, but he managed to pull through and he is very grateful to God for giving him the strength and a very hard working team.
When he was about to step down, he urged people to always fight to make their dreams become a reality as he, himself had a dream of making gospel awards in PE since he was a child, and he worked hard in making that dream a reality. He said people should work with what they have, and not depend or wait for help from someone else.
Mr Qekema stepped down and the last award was called, which was Best gospel song award and that was taken by Thembelani Mbilini and then he closed off with his song titled Noah.