Hip-hop artist, ASAPH from Bulawayo, is one of only two Zimbabweans who will represent the country at the upcoming MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMA), in Uganda, next month.
Nominees for MAMA - the equivalent of the U.S. Grammy’s for Africa – are chosen by the general public who vote online for the artist of their choice.
Using the hashtag #ASAPH4MAMA which trended for several days on Twitter, ASAPH, real name Tafadzwa Tarukwana, won the support of many voters, who chose him over other big names like Gemma Griffiths, Winky D and Jah Prayzah in an online competition facilitated by ZIFM in partnership with MTV MAMA’s.
ASAPH, who is one of 20 contenders in the Listener’s Choice Category, says he is grateful for the support from his fellow Zimbabweans and hopes to beat some of the biggest names in music in Africa including Focalistic of South Africa, Tiwa Savage (Nigeria), Malome Vector (Lesotho), RayVanny (Tanzania), and others.
Speaking on VOA Zimbabwe Livetalk program The Connection, where he was a guest, ASAPH said the MAMA nomination had a special significance for him being a hip-hop artist from Bulawayo and Zimbabwe.
“This nomination is very exciting for me because it is a first for Zimbabwean hip-hop and it is a first for an artist coming from Bulawayo, so I feel like I am making history twice, it is such an honor representing Zimbabwe on a continental level. This must be how Kirsty Coventry felt like when she was representing Zimbabwe at the Olympics,” said ASAPH.
A multiple-award winning musician whose accolades include the 2020 Zimbabwe Hip Hop Awards and Mgcini Nhliziyo Outstanding HipHop Award at the 2020 Bulawayo Arts Awards, ASAPH attributed voters’ selection of him over other big names to a hunger for something new.
“I feel like a lot of people are tired of the same old, they are really dying to see new faces pushed out there. It was pretty exciting the way people are rallying behind me,” said ASAPH.
He credits his use of social media to attract a strong following.
“During that week leading to the announcement, the hashtag #ASAPH4MAMA’s trended a couple of times, so I was pretty excited, even though I was going up against people with a huge following, I was confident because I was seeing online that there were a lot of people behind me saying I am going to vote 50 times to make sure you win,” he said.
Asked if his nomination would lead to artists from Bulawayo receiving more recognition, ASAPH said his nomination simply proves what is possible.
“This nomination will not create a free pass for artists from Bulawayo, no, it only will come if you put in the work. For more artists from my region to receive this kind of recognition, I think a lot more has to happen in terms of the people granting opportunities to artists from the region, even from the artists side, a lot needs to happen in terms of being consistent year after year,” says ASAPH.
There are 17 categories at this year’s MAMA awards, which will be hosted by U.S. based DJ and record executive, DJ Khaled.
Zimbabwean musician Charmaine Shamiso Mapimbiro, popularly known as Sha Sha, was also nominated for the Breakthrough Act Category. Hailing from Mutare, Zimbabwe’s third largest city, Sha Sha is the first Zimbabwean to win a BET Award.
To vote either vote for Sha Sha or ASAPH, visit the MTV Africa Music Awards website or click on the link below:-
The MTV Africa Music Awards, according to the proprietors’ website, has recognised the talent of musicians, achievers and personalities from across Africa, rewarding iconic artists and gamechangers such as 2Face Idibia, AKA, Anselmo Ralph, Big Nuz, Cassper Nyovest, Clarence Peters, Cabo Snoop, Davido, D'Banj, Diamond Platnumz, Flavour, Gangs of Ballet, HHP, Fally Ipupa, Liquideep, Lira, Lupita Nyong'o, Mafikizolo Nameless, P-Square, Sarkodie, Tiwa Savage, Toofan, Trevor Noah, Uhuru, Wahu, Wizkid, Yemi Alade, Zebra & Giraffe and many more.