Zimbabwean singer crowned best gospel artiste in Mzansi

A Bulawayo based gospel musician Canaan Nyathi was crowned the best gospel artiste at a colourful Crown Gospel Awards ceremony held in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa, on Sunday.

The Crown Gospel Music Awards celebrate excellence within the gospel music industry in South Africa and beyond. The awards are the brainchild of Zanele Mbokazi-Nkambule and acknowledge and celebrate gospel artistes.

The Best Gospel Artiste of the Year category won by Nyathi with 13 880 votes was the second best voted for category according to awards spokesperson Glodine Makapela. For the first time in its history, the awards ceremony took place in Gauteng away from its KwaZulu-Natal traditional base. Khaya Mthethwa returned as the host alongside media personality Rorisang Thandekiso.

In a statement, Makapela said the awards ceremony was a sold out event that saw the 8 000-seater dome packed to the rafters.

“From the first note to the last, the audience worshipped and cheered as performance after performance was lit at the crown awards. The World Gospel Powerhouse presented a glorious star-studded event,” Makapela said.

“Music fans travelled from across the country and others travelled from as far as Swaziland, Botswana, Nigeria and Zimbabwe to support their countries’ nominees. From Botswana, they came in big numbers to support Tsepo Lesola who won the Best of Africa Gospel category.”

Celebrities like Shaun Mamkhize, Sophie Ndaba and Mihlali Ndamase graced the gold carpet. Mamkhize made a grand entrance in her diamond, silver piece which lit the stage with tiny crystals as she presented awards for two categories. Zanele Mbokazi, known for her red-carpet dresses, looked stunning in a solid red evening gown.

“Khaya Mthethwa and Rorisang Thandekayo were an excellent combination. They kept the crowd inspired, entertained, informed and captivated with their catchy lingo, top tier television hosting skills and over five designer garments which left the audience in awe,” Makapela said.

Among the patrons who graced the ceremony were legendary Lindelani Mkhize, gospel music legend Rebecca Malope and Apostle Felix Okoh who all hailed the event organisers for a job well done.

Masibuyele kuJehova, a group of elderly women who have been in the music industry for 35 years, was honoured with the Lifetime achievement award. The group was overwhelmed and broke into a worship song.

Founder and executive producer of the awards Zanele Mbokazi said she hoped to expand the awards not only in South Africa, but also to African countries that have a gospel music following and the rest of the world especially the United States.

She said in America international gospel musicians could share the stage, perform and also be nominated for the awards in order to open them to all gospel musicians in the world who want to get recognised and celebrated for their beautiful music.

“The World Gospel PowerHouse is now taking gospel to the small and big screen through gospel films and documentaries. The first one will be the cost of the crown, telling the story and the journey of the Crown Gospel music awards,” she said.

“The Gospel Dreams talent search was launched in September in Gauteng, and the first winner was Sfiso Mabuza, who got a standing ovation on Sunday, after performing on the crown stage.”

“We are ready to take Gospel Dreams talent search to Tv, as a full production. The talent search will extend into other African countries. We aim to ensure that the talent unearthed through this process gets maximum exposure and promotion,”

Guests who attended the awards ceremony were treated to performances by Xolly Mcwango, Ntokozo Ngongoma, Jumbo Nyangiwe, Nathi Sithole,Sipho Ngwenya, The Tshwane Gospel Choir and DJ Happy Girl, among others.

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