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MBABANE – Where are they? Other African countries have responded well to the Gospel Dreams Africa singing competition, with over 2 000 entries received.

South Africa leads the list with 800 entries, while Zimbabwe and Zambia have 290 and 219 entries respectively, followed by Kenya and Nigeria with 110 and 88 entries. Ghana and Togo have 53 and 18 entries.

This is information gathered from the Gospel Dreams Africa Project Manager, Larry Mhlanga.
Although the name Eswatini was not seen among the list of countries that were participating in the competition, Mhlanga expressed his gratitude to the ones that had participated in the competition.

“I would like to encourage local gospel artists to send in their entries as this is quite an easy competition to enter, which is virtual,” he said.
Mhlanga added that he wished locals would participate because the competition was for all African artists.

“This is amazing, we didn’t expect such numbers in just two weeks,” said Mhlanga in an interview.
He said getting over 2 000 entries was way beyond their expectations, which showed that entrants were hungry for opportunities and they were excited about the turnout.

“It’s exciting that we are also getting entries from Francophone countries.
This is good news to the organisation. Our mission is to create more opportunities and provide a space for networking through programmes such as Gospel Dreams Africa.

We have quite a number of activities lined up for Africa. We are all Africans,” he said.
The competition was launched by the African Gospel Foundation on June 10, 2020 and seeks to discover gospel stars aged 16 years and above.


Mhlanga said the first phase of the talent search was launched on WhatsApp from June 10, to date contestants were instructed to send a solo or acapella video clips via the messaging platform. The call for entries is still under way and contestants have until July 20 to submit their entries.

The winner will get R25 000, a one-album record deal as well as a full year of publicity, branding and marketing with a reputable public relations company.
“The winner will also get a legal contract with an entertainment law firm for the same period, and perform at the Crown Gospel Music Awards and the Trumpet Africa Gospel Music Awards,” announced Mhlanga.

He revealed that shortlisted entries would be informed using email and social media and a panel of judges would screen the entries as they were submitted.
“The second phase of the Gospel Dreams Africa talent search will see the announcement of the top 100 contestants via social media,” he added. The 100 contestants will be given a task to do another clip. At this stage, the organisers will open the voting lines with details on how to vote.


According to the organisation’s website, eliminations will occur in the third phase where 50 contestants will be asked to create another clip, with a twist, and send it through.
The public will then vote for the top 20 contestants, where a selection of 10 finalists will enter the semi-finals and get training as well as coaching from various gospel artists who will be confirmed in due course.

The grand finale will feature five finalists competing for the grand prize. They will also get to perform alongside big names in the gospel music industry.
The judges of the competition are gospel singer Dr Tumi (South Africa), the founder and executive producer of SABC Crown Gospel Music Awards, Zanele Mbokazi (South Africa), and US-based Nigerian singer Uche Agu.

The judging panel also comprises guest judges from across the African continent, including Mandla Cheeks Nxumalo from Ewatini, Imara Joyce from Nigeria, Malawi’s Joyce Chivula, SbuNoah Mthembu from South Africa, Thamar from Rwanda, Namibia’s Dnaff, Chuchu Hannsy (Tanzania), Minister Mahendere (Zimbabwe), Isaac K (Ghana), Takie Ndou (South Africa), Marie Madeleneine (Cameroon), Patrick Mpakateni (Zambia), Minister Tsepo Lesolo (Botswana), Gift Ledimo (South Africa) and Rosseti Ngoyi (Congo).

Christian Unity Crusaders founder Philiso Shongwe said he wished his group would enter the competition; however, due to work commitments they were not able to do so.
“I would encourage artists, especially the ones who are up and coming to enter the competition as it will create opportunities for them,” he said.

The Association for Christian Artists in Eswatini (ACAESWA) Chief Executive Officer, Phetsile Masilela, said although the competition was not affiliated with them as it was organised by a South African company, emaSwati should grab the opportunity for exposure with both hands.

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