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MBABANE - Eswatini Arts and Music Association (SWAMA) has lost its MTN Eswatini sponsorship.

The shocking revelation was shared by the MTN Chief Marketing Officer, Mncedzi Ngomane, during an Editors Forum held at MTN headquarters yesterday. SWAMA is a professional non-profit organisation whose mission is to discover, unearth and promote local musicians and artists. It has been running for about five years annually. Ngomane said the decision was motivated by the challenges caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic. “To mitigate the situation, we will try to engage international communities to make sure the initiative that has been cancelled comes back to light,” he said.


One of the editors shared his concerns; he said the cancellation of the sponsorship would hinder the local entertainment sectors. He also alleged that the money pumped into the upcoming MTN Bushfire Festival would not benefit local acts. “Removing the money from SWAMA proves that MTN promotes international artists only,” he said. The chief Executive Officer of MTN Eswatini, Wandile Mntshali, said they planned to discuss this matter further. After his remarks, another editor said Mntshali’s response gave them hope. In an interview with Bongani Dube, who is the Vice Secretary of SWAMA said they had parted in good spirit and there was no bad blood between them. “SWAMA is aware and we are parting in good spirits, there are no squabbles between SWAMA and MTN. The relationship has been smooth over the past five years and we actually promise to continue to work with them in other projects that we will identify or they will identify in the future,” Dube said.

“On behalf of SWAMA President we would like to express our gratitude to MTN for being a loyal partner and for actually developing the arts industry especially at the time of Covid-19 where artists were not performing and employed MTN never abandoned them,” he said. He further said they had learnt a lot from MTN in terms of project management, especially when it came to arts and they were impressed by delivering and the leverage that they got from SWAMA.


“Unfortunately, when business shifts focus it is obvious that for a moment you lose some projects, but you never know what tomorrow might bring, we might end up working with the corporate again in other projects. SWAMA has other sponsors besides MTN,” he added. It is worth noting that last year’s SWAMA winner DJ Cup did not want to comment on the new developments. It is worth mentioning that last year’s  winners were awarded E10 000 for each category. The Song of the Year award, which is the ultimate award and most coveted was awarded E20 000.  Taking home E20 000 was DJ Cup on his song dubbed ‘Emaphupho’ featuring Mandisa. Eswatini National Council of Arts and Culture Stanley Dlamini, when reached for comment declined to give this reporter his thoughts on the new development.

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