Destiny Group today launched the 2nd edition of MTN iPraise, Eswatini’s premium annual gospel music festival. Due to COVID-19, the festival did not take place in 2020 but returns in 2021 as a live digital festival for EmaSwati all around the country to enjoy at no cost.

MTN iPraise will take place on the MTN Y’ello Hub platform on 4 July 2021 and will also be broadcast live on Facebook via the MTN iPraise Gospel Music Festival and MTN Eswatini pages.

The launch took place in Ezulwini at Mahlalekhukhwini House, the headquarters of the concert’s sole sponsor MTN Eswatini. A number of key stakeholders in Eswatini’s gospel music industry attended the event including Mr Stanley Dlamini, CEO of Arts and Culture and Phetsile Masilela, President of the Association of Christian Artists of Eswatini (ACAESWA) just to mention a few.

Performances were also delivered by Shongwe and Khuphuka and Fakazi Mamba to mark the official start of activities leading up to the event in July.

Tom Lin, Managing Director of Destiny Group commented on the launch of MTN iPraise and what it means to have the concert at this challenging time in the gospel industry, “Eswatini’s entertainment community has been through a tough time during the COVID-19 period. The ability of many artists to make a living has been seriously limited due to a number of valid health concerns that have been posed by the pandemic.

This however, does not discount the need for us to group together to resuscitate the industry and see where we can unite as a country to make a meaningful contribution to the careers of our gospel artists. At a time when our communities are wounded and healing from the effects of COVID-19, we appreciate our title sponsor MTN for sharing in this vision and believing in the value that the MTN iPraise concept brings to local artists, restoring their ability to generate an income in these tough conditions.”

Mncedzi Ngomane, Chief Marketing Officer at MTN also mirrored the same sentiments, “As MTN we are great supporters of the music industry in Eswatini and believe in its potential to grow and flourish. The gospel industry has made a meaningful contribution to the social fabric of our country in many ways over the past decades. It has added to our country’s international acclaim due to the high standard of music produced by the artists in this industry. Giving our support to the gospel music community during this challenging time is important to us as MTN.

We would like to encourage EmaSwati to join the virtual concert on 4 July and to also vote for their favourite local artists. This year, the concert line up lies in the hands of our customers. We would like to see every one of our valued customers participate in building the concert’s line up with us by voting via SMS or for free on Ayoba – one of our fasted growing social media platforms. Nominated artists will also get an opportunity to share in the total voting revenue from public participation.”

This year’s MTN iPraise will feature the public’s choice of local gospel music talent from within the Kingdom’s borders. Music lovers have the opportunity to nominate the local gospel artists of their choice in the first stage of the voting process. Nominations are open until 30 April 2021, after which the 10 most popular artists from the public nominations will be announced.

Anyone can vote for the artists they would like to see on the Top 10 list for free on Ayoba by using voting code 76286161 or by sending an SMS to 7768, at a charge of 50c. From this list of 10, the public will also get the opportunity to select the Top 5 to perform on July 4 at the iPraise concert. The Top 10 voting process will be announced in due course.

Association of Christian Artists in Eswatini (ACAESWA), President Phetsile Masilela also encouraged the public to participate in voting and show their support for MTN iPraise. “We are delighted to see MTN iPraise returning for a second edition this year. Our role as ACAESWA is to develop the gospel music industry in Eswatini.

Initiatives such as MTN iPraise allow artists from all around the country the exposure they need to strengthen their brands and continue making great music for fans. The more votes we get on Ayoba and via SMS, the more fans can look forward to a concert line-up exclusively made up by themselves.

This is indeed a rare opportunity to craft their own live entertainment experience. Lastly, may I appreciate all the artists for their perseverance and resilience through such a difficult time. I would also like to continue to urge all of us to follow all COVID-19 regulations for a better tomorrow.”

MTN iPraise patrons can also look forward to a competition which will be launched in due course. Only Ayoba voters will have the opportunity to win daily and weekly prizes leading up to concert day. A grand prize winner will also be selected at random from Y’ello Hub on 4 July. More details on prizes and competition timelines will be announced in due course.

Lin continued, “Our aim is to continue making MTN iPraise Eswatini’s premium gospel show with the best selection of artists every year. While doing this, we want to see EmaSwati unite as one in praise and worship to continue creating a spirit of unity between us as Christians and music lovers alike.

This year’s MTN iPraise being online presents us with an added advantage in creating exposure for the concert and chosen local artists beyond our borders. This means that Eswatini will be showcasing our musical capability to the world. We call on everyone to spread the word with us and make this annual event a global spectacle while adding to its continued success,” concluded Tom Lin.

For more information, please contact:
Thobeka Shongwe, The Executive Advisory Firm
+268 785 49 671