Minister Pallo Jordan on Freshly Ground’s Zolani Mahola and Lebo Mashile Winning the Mtv Best African Group and Noma Awards, Respectively.

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07 Nov 2006

I want the shining stars of the performing arts, lead vocalist Zolani Mahola and poet Lebohang Mashile to know that I and millions of other Africans deeply honor them for the splendid achievement of putting indigenous African creative talent on the world map.

Their significant achievements is a further confirmation to the world of the obvious fact that South African talent not only has got the potential to stand firm, compete with international counterparts but is of world class and standard.

Lead vocalist Zolani Mahola – the face and voice of superb Afro-pop group, Freshly Ground - was awarded the MTV Award for Best Group in the African category for their album, ‘Nomvula.’

Poet Lebohang Mashile was presented with the Noma Award for the Best Book Published in Africa in 2005 for her anthology, ‘In the Rhythm of a Ribbon.’

Both the nominations which culminated in winning the coveted prizes are testament to the explosive capability of artistic creativity and output expressed by our young people.

Yes, the whole continent and world is awakening to take note that, indeed, we are the nucleus of African talent and creativity.

You are inspirational!

In fact, the world has been waiting with an abated breath to witness and experience the soul stirring impact of South African performing arts which tells the universal story of human kind.

Over the last few years, our creative intellectuals have been riding the crest wave of international success and super stardom. They are greatly appreciated by the world in their respective field. Both history and the future are on their side.

Of course, it is a great honor for our young, gifted and female creative artists to receive recognition and reward in Europe and Asia.

They deserve this as their work is not only universal in its appeal but speaks directly to contemporary human experience.

Significantly, it was our own people who, first, voted with their feet, to embrace the infectious explosive music of Mahola and the soul-inspiring performance poetry of Mashile.

Both their artistic products resonate in the hearts and soul of people, irrespective of skin colour, background or station in life.

Their success is the triumph of the Youth Spirit in the very year that we mark the 30 th Anniversary of June 16, Youth Day.

It is noteworthy that both these young, gifted and female creative artists have been presented with the awards after they have taken it upon themselves to capture and reflect that which stirs in the soul of African folks in the beginning of the Second Decade of Democracy.

Of course, this that has truly raised the flag to the role played by our young artists in contributing to the redefinition of the nation’s soul, building social cohesion, nurturing a spirit of national unity and contributing to transformation.

We are thankful to all the judges for the validation of our young talent.

The prizes open up opportunities for South African talent to shine and draw international attention to our outstanding talent and what our beautiful country has to offer to a world audience.

In fact, it is a matter of great national pride to have young women – in the year that we highlight and celebrate the 50 th Anniversary of the Women’s March to Pretoria - granted these prestigious prizes.

Most important, it must be made clear that these awards cannot belong to the two individuals in a personal way. The nameless and faceless scores who work behind the scenes are witness to the fact that we need a strong common vision to reach greater heights.

It remains the vision of the Arts & Culture Department to continue to raise a new generation of creative artists who will take the center stage in the world.

They reflect and affirm the government’s vision to build a non-racial society where our artists can nurture a spirit of national unity, transform our society and use their talent to encourage a spirit of unity among all the people of the world.

We congratulate Mahola, together with Freshly Ground and Mashile for winning the MTV Best African Group Award and the Noma Award, respectively.

In the name of millions of people the world over whose souls have been touched by their creativity, we are proud of this achievement which sees South African talent taking a giant leap to gaining a foothold in the world stage.

End.

For further details call: Sandile Memela, Spokesman for the Minister of Arts & Culture at 082 800 3750 or Premi Appalraju at 082 375 2939.