June hit off with a bang for the gospel fans and influencers all over Kenya, as numerous attendees packed the Kasarani Indoor Stadium on the 1st, to enjoy a fun packed evening filled with lively performances, as the winners were announced category by category.
And what an absolutely incredible event it was. I was expecting something entirely low key, considering what I heard from a few sources, yet it was the entire opposite and in fact rather enjoyable. We reached the VIP entrance to find several people at the event, in particular nominees and MCs’, impressively and fancily dressed, with women in elaborate long gowns, and men looking devilishly handsome in fitted suits. So much so, that it made me second guess the jeans and t-shirt that I had so confidently decided to wear up until that moment. You would believe that such formal attire would deserve an equally official event, yet we entered the stadium to discover the audience eagerly dancing, and encouraging those performing up on stage. Standing ovations, rigorous clapping, and shouts of support coupled most performances, and for good reason. With incredible talent among those singing, it was difficult not to get drawn in and feel the gospel touch you almost. I’ve never seen such genuine encouragement and love for gospel music. Those who claim that showcasing the love of God should be done quietly would have been utterly offended, as the crowds cheered on and laughed aloud during several hilarious performances by various MCs, including that of Eric Omondi.
Famous names in the gospel industry attended, participated and ensured that the event was the amazing occasion it turned out to be. These were Size Eight, Pitson, Kelele Takatifu, Mercy Masika, and Magic Mike & Kris Eroh, among others, who each won an award at the event, in particular Mercy Masika. We all know her stupendously famous song Nikupendeze. It’s literally played everywhere, even in several night clubs throughout Nairobi. What is the woman behind the hit track like however? Sweetly awkward and uncertain while making her victory speeches, which anyone would be really, if they had to come up thrice for three separate awards and say something different each time. After all how many people can you thank? As the proud winner of Song of the Year, Female artist of the Year, and Skiza Ringback Tone of the Year, it’s crystal clear that Mercy Masika has made her mark in the gospel industry.
The award ceremony ended with the most Outstanding Contributor of the Year, which was the rap community. While they went home with a win, it should be noted that gospel in Kenya has come far, to the point where it can be seamlessly expressed in all genres of music that attract both the old and young. This can be seen from the numerous awards given out from afro-pop, reggae, and hip-hop. The entertaining shows throughout the event incorporated these genres so immensely, that it would most probably see me go back next year.
Congratulations to all the winners.