Musician wants your vote

Simamkele Qhoqho is up for a prestigious music prize.

Talent and hard work have earned a budding gospel musician from Samora Machel, a nomination for best worship album at Ingoma Gospel Awards for his debut album, Ndamfuna Ndamfumana.

The 24-year-old ordained evangelist of Christian Ministries church and a leader of its Nyanga branch is competing among some of the best and most well established artists for the award. But he needs your votes to win.

In an interview with Vukani, Simamkele Qhoqho said when he sent his CD to the organisers to be considered for the award, it never crossed his mind that he would be shortlisted as one of the nominees – even though he knew that he had a golden voice.

The awards are a platform for up-and-coming and independent gospel artists, away to promote and recognise their hard work and talent.

Qhoqho described his 14-track album as a motivational one that sought to restore hope and encourage those who had faced hardship in their lives to soldier on and never give up on their dreams. The core message was about illustrating God’s power to change people’s lives for the better.

He began his music journey at an early age when his mother formed a choir. In 2003, he joined Kids from Heaven, a children’s choir which released their demo in the same year. They later went on to win a singing competition organised by Nyanga Junction.

However, since then he stopped singing due to personal issues and opted to sing in church until 2014 when he decided to return to the industry with one goal in mind – to conquer it.

“I’m nominated against the heavyweights of the industry such as Rofhiwa Manyaga. The category that I’m nominated in would be decided by public votes, and I’m appealing to Capetonians to vote for me as I’m not only going to represent myself, but I will be representing the entire province.

“The awards will be held in Johannesburg on Saturday August 27 and the closing date for voting is Sunday July 31.

“This is my debut album, which I released last year in December, and, in terms of sales, it is doing quite well.

“The album is available at Bellstar music store and in other music outlets stores for R70. When I returned to the industry in 2014, I had partnered with another up-and-coming artist. We formed a duo and released a demo in the same year in December. But in 2015, we decided to go our separate ways to pursue our solo careers,” he said.

Qhoqho said distribution and promotion are some of the challenges emerging artists battle with, and sometimes people who book them, refuse to pay them because they are not well established.

Talking about how he was ordained, he said his bishop, Lucas Mnqantsa, discovered that he had a talent for preaching and took him under his wing to nurture the gift and point him in the right direction.

He said that in 2015 he was ordained as an evangelist and was deployed to the Nyanga church branch to lead the congregation.

He grew up in a poverty-stricken family and was raised by his mother who sold chicken feet and chips to make ends meet. But, Qhoqho said, that did not deter him from reaching for his dream of releasing his solo album and studying.

“Im currently doing my second year at the College of Cape Town, studying transport and logistics. Now I’m preparing to shoot a music video for the album. I will be performing in George this coming weekend with the famous Mxolis Mbethe who is also a nominee at the awards,” he said.

* To vote for Ndamfuna Ndamfumana, SMS “Ingoma Best Worship album Simamkele Qhoqho Ndamfuna Ndamfumana” to 40439.