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Mbabane – 2021 was the big year of return to normalcy, entertainment was no exception.

This publication spoke to some of the kingdom’s rising artists and entertainment labels about what they’re happy about and looking forward to the most this year and years to come.
Last year was a revolutionary year in arts, set against a backdrop of turbulent political turmoil. The arts industry did not fall short in supplying pivotal marquee moments, notably with artists like our very own Uncle Waffles bagging European tours, Supa CDQ securing gigs across our boarders, Gcobani Masuku having an entire album produced by the legendary Don Laka and many more.

There have also been murmurs of unusual international signing of artists flooding the internet. There was also the unfortunate passing of Ricky Rick, who was a South African rapper who had also paved the way for much-talked about stars like Uncle Waffles. Setting ‘best of’ lists aside, what moments will shape this year? The rise of unpredictable fashion game to the departure of traditional album formats.We look ahead to the year for country, Gospel and overall vocalists, DJs, rappers, photographers, producers, curators and writers from across the country. Eswatini has grown tremendously and the industry heads and patrons alike can see the change. This has made them eager to implement strategies that most have harnessed from their international gigs back into the country.

Paul Tarvis, co-founder and current CEO at Jelele.com. Jelele is an internationally renowned stable that has house the likes of Flameboy Universe. The industry through the pioneers’ eyes was said to be growing at a rate that wasn’t expected. Artists are showing great fishing and networking skills when they are working across the kingdoms borders. “As the CEO I am putting our work to a world-class manner through dedication. The aim is to put the power in the creative’s’ hand and local artists have definitely learnt this. Local artists are learning the tricks of the trade and equipping themselves with how the industry works. Artists are asking the right questions, why, how? The support among locals is recommendable but we as an industry have to be in par with the world. The entire experience that countries like South Africa are known for,” said Tarvis.


Entertainment stables in South Africa known for extravagant parties that get media attention all over the globe. Their events accommodate all talents, MCs, hype personnel’s, content creators which are just example of extras that are still shied upon in the country and some of them are fairly new. This is not to say that the industry has shut them out with most of these positions being in working motion as we speak. Sikhanyiso Mabuza, content creator and MC started hosting events back in 2018 and he got a lot of negative criticism. He was in South Africa for a short while after there he sharpened his skills and decided to come back and give it another go.

“At the time I started off it was something that basically not known and people would revert to me as the ‘mic guy’. In SA this was huge. Parties and nightclubs had hosts and MCs for all their events and it was crucial for engaging with the crowd. I just had to bring it back home and I am very happy about how much it has blossomed. We have numerous MCs in the kingdom now and many more are continuing to contribute great things to the city and I can’t wait to see what more people are creating.” said Mabuza. Pumba’s Captions, photographer who started his photography journey from 2018, has worked with big entertainment stables in the country like Solanis Shisanyama. Dlamini has also travelled across the SADC region harnessing new, trending photography skills to bring back into the kingdom.

“The places across the border are using exceptional editing skills that we need when taking videos and pictures. If we want to match the status of the world we need to show them our growth through these social media pictures and the likes that we post. I have also learnt how to implement a lot of artificial and natural light so we can have this masterpiece content to draw people. I have certainly achieved this with most of the content we have been putting out from events hosted at Solanis especially,” said Pumba.


In-house awards have also been another challenge in the country especially having different sectors hosts their own awards to motivate and show growth in the artists’ works. Amadodana Movement Music Association has seen this gap and tried to fill it getting thumbs up from the CEO of Eswatini Arts and Culture Council.  The organisation will on October 29 see the honoring of the best three male acapella groups in the kingdom. It will be the first of its kind in the country for a section to host awards directed to a specific genre. This also includesd other artists that don’t get enough recognition. “For many years we have been encouraging associations to host their own awards because this eliminates other sectors or individuals being over shadowed. This will also show other associations’ artists in those individual fields can benefit more when the focus of the awards is directed to one sector other than national awards,” said Stanley Dlamini.


Thembinkhosi Mthethwa, a 1020 Cartel representative in the country and also the owner at the 23:28 Lounge, was a great asset for artists in the country on the past week when he invited the 1020 group into the kingdom to educate about monetising their work. It was a great initiative because of the lack of knowledge in the country. Royalties and copyrights are fairly new in the country, with the Act which was enacted in March this year. This creative saw the world going in one direction and made means to carry his own country so that we remained in alignment with was is happening for artists outside of our borders.  

When reached for comment, the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs was excited about the direction the country and the initiative were taking. “The ministry encourages this kind of knowledge grasping and exchange. It is through these initiatives that others and those ahead grow. We continue to encourage artists to always maximise any opportunity that avails itself to them in order for them to reach new markets,” said communications officer, Sibongiseni Zondi.

This publication touched base with the web that makes up the industry. It is definitely a positive move from the artist body in the country especially because of the direction the industry is taking. Events are happening every other weekend and are explosive more than anyone could have imagined. This traversing that the local entertainers have taken is quite humbling because, in not so long, the country will be on a world scale level.

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