Kwaito emerged in South Africa at the dawn of the country’s democracy in the early 1990s. The genre soon became the soundtrack to the nation’s youth. While some may claim that today the genre is dead, in truth kwaito is still alive and well, although it has been overtaken by house and hip-hop as the dominant pop genre.
To dispel all rumours that kwaito’s day is done, a new awards ceremony was launched last week at the Maslow Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg. The Mzansi Kwaito & House Music Awards (MKHMA) have been established to honour and recogonize South Africa’s leading kwaito and house artists.
The first annual awards ceremony will take place at a glamorous event to be held at the Sun City Superbowl near Rustenburg, north of Johannesburg, on 7 November 2015. There will be numerous categories, including Pantsula Dance Group and House DJ of the Year. Winners will be awarded with platinum trophies and cash prizes.
Perfecta Khumalo, the event’s founder, is on a mission to prove that the local genre is still alive. The Soweto-born entrepreneur apparently began toying around with the idea in 2010 while watching the South African Music Awards (SAMA), noticing that kwaito had only one category and wasn't given the prominence she felt it deserves.
Khumalo recently told The Sowetan: "Kwaito is a music genre that emerged in the 1990s and it was used by young people to voice their thoughts and struggles. After two decades, kwaito is still one of the most popular genres in South Africa... Kwaito is not dead, that is why we have these awards."