Mother Africa is swelling with pride as its beloved songstars, South Africa’s Zakes Bantwini, Wouter Kellerman, Jerusalema songstress Noncebo Zikode, and breakout Nigerian artist, Tems, bring home the 2023 top Grammy honours this week.
The local recording trio flew South Africa’s flag high as they scooped the top honour for the Best Global Music Performance at the 65th annual Grammy Awards, held at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles on Sunday, (February 5). This year’s award ceremony was hosted by Mzansi’s biggest comedy export, Trevor Noah, who returned to helm America’s biggest music night for the third year in a row.
The Grammy gong for Global Music Performance is presented to recording artists who have demonstrated excellence in the burgeoning field of global music.
Bantwini, Zikode and Kellerman won for their stellar collaboration on their single ‘Bayethe‘, a song with a universal call to action to the world to lighten its loads and heal from many of its pressing issues.
“This moment is testament to the fact that our dreams are valid, and we can accomplish anything we set our minds on. I want every young kid in the ghetto in South Africa to dream big and believe that we deserve to be recognised on the biggest stages in the world,” said the Osama hitmaker Zakes Bantwini, who was accompanied to LA by his team from Grid Worldwide, a specialist brand building agency based in Johannesburg.
“We were all beaming with pride when we walked up onto that stage. It’s such an incredible accolade – not just for us, but also for South Africa. It is an important acknowledgement of the role that local indigenous music has to play on the global music stage,” added Bantwini.
This Grammy is the cherry on top of a busy awards season not only for Bantwini, who recently bagged two South African Music Awards (for Highest Airplay and Best Collaboration), a GQ Award for Musician of the Year, and a South African Social Media Award (SASMA) for Most Popular Song on South African Social Media.
The Grammy honour also reaffirms Zikode’s brilliant contribution in placing South Africa on the world stage. The singer and songwriter, who co-wrote the worldwide hit, Jerusalema with Master KG in 2019, couldn’t contain her excitement.
“This is a career highlight for all of us,” Zikode said. “And it just goes to show that South African talent can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with talent from all around the world.”
SA-Nigeria 2023 Grammy win; a beacon of hope for African youths and girls
Following their win, the trio received praise from fellow South Africans, among them KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Nomusa Dube-Ncube. “Zakes, Nomcebo and Wouter have shown the world that KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and Africa as a whole are indeed a musical force to be reckoned with globally,” said an elated Dube-Ncube, adding: “We celebrate the success of the son and daughter of the province who are a beacon of hope and an inspiration to many young people in townships and rural areas. This Grammy award comes at the right time as we are reviving the hopes of the province’s citizenry, who have shown great resilience and tenacity in the face of adversity.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa also applauded them for their “brilliant contribution in placing South Africa on the world stage once again” per this tweet.
Representing Nigeria, Tems’ collaborative win doesn’t only continue to propel the artistically-rich West African country further on the global music map, but it’s prove that Africa as a whole is poised to become a soaring international talent powerhouse like never before.
Born Temilade Openiyi, Tems earned her first Grammy for her contribution to Future’s is single, ‘Wait For U’ in the category for ‘Best Melodic Rap performance’. Tems is also the first non-mixed Nigerian female musician to win the prestigious award.
Sade Adu, won the Grammy for ‘Best new artist’ in 1986, and Cynthia Erivo, bagged ‘Best theatre Album’ in 2017, were both British Nigerians.
The 20-something old rose to international stardom after being featured on Wizkid’s song ‘Essence‘. She has since cemented her place on global stages as the first Nigerian and female African artist to win the Best International Act at the 2022 BET Awards.
An inspiration to young girls and women in Africa and around the world, she’s s also the first Nigerian musician to debut at number 1 on the Billboard 100 chart.
Not only this, together with the likes of US music megastar Usher and SA’s Uncle Waffles, Tems made it to the Global Citizen Festival Accra lineup in September 2022, proving that the sky is indeed the limit for this fast-rising African music talent.