The organizers of this year?s Africa Unplugged music festival in London chose a profound way of addressing some of Africa?s never-ending worries ? putting together on one stage, different musicians from across the continent ? to raise funds for charities, whose preoccupation is pretty much the socio-economic challenges the continent face.

According to the organizers, a substantial portion of proceeds from the concert, which was held at the Wembley Arena on August 27, and featured South Africa?s Zahara and ?Sophisticated Dance Music? expert Zakes Bantwini, alongside other acts like Sarkodie, 2 Face, Femi Kuti, and Iyanya among others, will go to two main charities.

Save the Congo, a Congolese NGO ?working and forging links with parliamentarians, religious leaders as well as leading rights and development agencies in Congo, Europe and on the other side of the Atlantic to highlight both the plight of the Congolese people and the country?s untapped potential, its spirit, creativity and cultural energy? and War child, ?a charity dedicated to children affected by war around the world?, are going to be the two main beneficiaries.

True to its pre-event hype, and suggestions that it was going to be the biggest African concert ever to be staged in Europe, Africa Unplugged rose to the occasion, delivering what is till being talked about as the ?concert of all concerts?.

Patrons who thronged to the Wembley Arena on Bank Holiday left satisfied with the brilliance and showmanship of the artistes who performed on the night.

A sold out concert it was, Africa Unplugged saw an excellent manifestation of how far African artistes have come and how well they?ve learnt the ropes of their trade.

One after the other, they proved their worth and justified why they were considered for the concert.

South Africa?s Zahara was simply awesome, on a night that saw her bring out her best.

The admiration that greeted her every step of the way throughout the night was representative of the caliber she?s made of, and how Africa has gotten used to her Xhosa-induced lyrics.

Zahara, 23, who shortly after the concert, was described by the BBC as ?something to behold?, once more, demonstrated why she is currently ?the artist with the best selling record in the history of African music?.

Debuting last year with the album Loliwe, Zahara has metamorphosed into an overnight sensation ? the kind that intrigue and fascinates the people who dance to, and patronize her music.

It is suggested that her first album sold out 72 hours after release. The story is also told of how within 13 days it (Loliwe) went platinum ?and after 17 days it went double platinum, selling more than 100,000 copies? in South Africa alone.

The East London, Eastern Cape, girl, who has won multiple awards and nominated severally, is just about taking off a career that will surely sky-rocket into something almost endless and evergreen.

Largely seen as an ?Afrosoul? act, the kind that can be said of the likes of Nigeria?s Asa and Ghana?s Efya, Zahara?s ability to effectively sing in her native Xhosa language as well as the universal English language, has aided what has so far been a smooth transition from the root of a fledging career straight to the top.

Afro-Soul features a carefully-knitted blend of neo-soul (performed by the likes of Indie-Arie and Erykah Badu), and Afro-Pop laced with elements of rock that also infuses the traditional South African Xhosa rhythm with regular chants of reggae and blues.

This style has almost gone unmatched, thanks to her flawless talent, which continues to wow the world.

Africa Unplugged surely came in handy as a unique platform for her to once more, tell the Zahara story.

So how does the Zahara story go?

?Zahara?s journey to the music industry started when TS Records executive and co-founder TK Nciza discovered her in 2009. She was performing at a gig in the Eastern Cape and TK noticed the talent,? a profile on TS Records? website read.

?TK saw me and spoke to me. He said he wanted to record me and I was happy. But when he came back with Nhlanhla Nciza (his wife) a week later, I saw how serious they were. They then took me to Joburg and I?ve been staying with them in their house since 2009?.

?I grew up with my parents and five siblings in a two-roomed shack, and we were not always able to make ends meet. But the one thing that was prevalent in our home was God?s love. Today I am where I am by the Grace of God and not giving up on my dreams,? she is said to have told Parable Magazine.

It?s been a long, tiring but successful journey for the young South African.

As for Africa Unplugged, she went, saw and captured the world?s imagination.

Zahara also proved that the continent still has loads of talent, and that Africa can always rally behind its own.

The organizers sought to use the platform to highlight a tiny fraction of the continent?s challenges which include but not limited to war, malaria, and lack of access to portable drinking water. With the reviews it has had so far, they?ve more than achieved that.

And to think that Fally Ipupa, one of the main acts billed to perform at the event couldn?t make it due to reasons the organizers say was ?Congo?s current political climate?, made Africa Unplugged a beautiful coincidence and marriage, with Africa?s challenges on one side, and the success and message of the concert, on the other.

Source : Obed Safo (MSN)


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