Khayelitsha singer aims for a second Crown award

Chumani Ngojo, outside his shack in Site B, where he recorded his first album, holds the Crown Gospel Award he won for it. He is hoping to get a second award

Khayelitsha singing sensation, Chumani Ngojo, hopes to once again fly Cape Town’s flag high at this year’s annual Crown Gospel Music Awards, which takes place in Durban, on Sunday November 27.

Chumani, who in 2014 defied the odds to win the Best Praise category of the awards, hopes to repeat that success this year.

As he did two years ago, competing against seasoned artists such as Loyiso Bala and Khaya Mthethwa, the charismatic singer believes he can repeat his achievement. This year he will be competing in the Best Collaboration category for his song Onjengawe – a collaboration with Vuyo Tyolo – from his latest album Yimi Lona.

The duo will be up against collaborations between Sbu Banda and Benjamin Dube, Nathi and Nkanyiso featuring Dumi Mkostad, and Papa Ndu and Redeemed.

However, he is not fazed by their history and achievements in the music industry. “I am not really shaken,” he said.

“These are the names. If we can focus on music and forget about the names we will come back with the award.”

The awards, in their eighth season, recognise individuals and groups who have made a meaningful contribution towards gospel music.

They also give artists, who otherwise would not be recognised, a platform to showcase their talents. And the East London-born and Site B-based musician is one of many unsung heroes in the music industry. He has vowed to put his mark in an industry that is largely dominated by Johannesburg-based musicians.

He said he listened to all the songs he would be competing against, and felt he had nothing to worry about.

Chumani is a shining example of what determination and perseverance can do. He does all his work from his tiny shack in Khayelitsha, with his desire to nurture homegrown talent, and put Cape Town on the gospel music map being his driving force. His aim, he said was to guard against what he termed the “flight of skills” to Johannesburg.

He described Cape Town and the Eastern Cape as the most gifted provinces in music, but due to the lack of resources artist left the two provinces for Gauteng.

Chumani’s aim is to get a bigger venue where he could record artists.

“The biggest challenge is that all of this is done in my dining room with a lot of noise from the neighbourhood. There are people who also come in at any given time,” he said. “If we could get the space we would do wonders in Cape Town.”

Catch the Crown Gospel Music Awards on SABC1, on Sunday November 27, at 8pm.