• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Shanah Manjeru: Africa’s latest music revelation

Shanah Manjeru: Africa’s latest music revelation

When the organizers of the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) 2021, the biggest music awards in Africa, released the final nominees list in October, many followers of the awards were excited at the inclusion of a 13-year-old Shanah Manjeru from Kenya on the list.

With her on the list, Shanah Manjeru made history as the youngest ever nominee of AFRIMA. But as excited as the music followers were, they also feared that the 13-year-old singer would not emerge winner in her category, considering the many heavyweights she was competing against.

Young Shanah contested in the ‘Best Artiste, Duo or Group in African Inspirational Music’ category with Ada Ehi Ft Buchi (Nigeria), Afrie (Uganda), Eden (Cote d’Ivoire), Kamo Mphela (South Africa), Montess (Cameroon), Nata (Sierra Leone), Ruth Asong (Cameroon), Diana Hamilton (Ghana) and Kelly Khumalo (South Africa).

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To the surprise of the observers and to the excitement of the continent, the 13-year-old emerged as the winner in the ‘Best African Female Artiste in Inspirational Music’ category at the grand finale of AFRIMA in Lagos on November 21, 2021.

She won with her song, “God Will Make a Way”, as well as took over the spot previously held by another Kenyan singer, Nikita Kering, who was AFRIMA’s youngest nominee at 17, in 2019.

Shanah’s singing talent became evident at the age of three. At age seven, she began to sing officially when her parents put up her first music concert in Ethiopia. In October 2017, at nine years old, Shanah went into professional singing with the release of her debut song, “Destiny”.

In February 2018, she released her second song, “We Are One” followed closely in April 2018 with “Winner” and “God Will Listen” in December 2018. In April 2019, Shanah released “Worship” and “Worship Symphony”. Her latest songs are the nominated “God Will Make a Way” and “Jesus Loves You” released in August and November 2020 respectively.

However, with Nikita Kering, who was AFRIMA’s youngest nominee at 17, in 2019, and Shanah Manjeru at 13 in 2021, and both are Kenyans, music promoters think that African may be witnessing younger winners across many categories going forward, while East Africa, especially Kenyan will be making effort to retain the award for a long time.

This is also a challenge to established music hubs in Africa to raise younger talents, especially Nigeria and South Africa, which do well in major categories.