By Ntombi Mhlongo
The country’s biggest entertainment stable, Swazi Boy Entertainment has proved that it is not only about making people have a good time but is also dedicated to unearthing and promoting local arts and small businesses.
This weekend, the stable will host the second edition of what has now become one of the biggest awards showpieces in the country – the Eswatini Social Media Awards. The first-ever Social Media Awards saw a celebration of some of the kingdom’s stars and creatives last year.
Held at Sharma House in Ezulwini, the event saw over 20 artists, companies, and creatives being awarded for their hard work throughout the year. The first-of-its-kind event saw attendees dressed to the nines as per the theme ‘Tfungisani’.
The concept not only embraces the creatives who appear on social media platforms only but goes on to recognize business entities and young entrepreneurs who are making a mark in various fields including agriculture.
This is evident in the Hangout Spot of the Year category where renowned hangout spots like Solanis Shisanyama and Mega Lounge will battle it out for the award. Males and females who are in the business of offering decor services will also be recognised on the night of the awards and so that those who have excelled with their cooking skills.
The pioneer of the whole concept, SwaziBoy’s Mthunzi ‘Shadow’ Zwane says the awards are the epitome of the creative arts of Eswatini. According to Zwane, this is the space where excellence of the arts on social media is celebrated both for seasoned and young creatives. He says the hive of activity on the socials is insane.
“The reels on Instagram, TikTok with different acting skills on display, skits on YouTube, the selling of products on Twitter, and the advertising of different commodities on all the platforms especially on Facebook is a marvel to watch. The presentation of these different skills by Eswatini’s creatives on the socials is second to none in the world,” said Zwane.
Explaining the impact social media has in the arts industry, Zwane said it was evident through local South Africa-based female spinner Uncle Waffles who would not be a global icon had it not been for social media.
“Fortunately, she has embraced her skills with good public relations on social media. The time is now for everyone especially our corporates in Eswatini to use the creatives in the country to be digital billboards which have a human touch”.
Elaborating, Zwane said the awards are the entertainment directory of all the creatives of Eswatini.
“In the nominations stage, nearly all of Eswatini’s creatives from the artists, DJs, poets, comedians etc names are mentioned. This then gives us the opportunity to collect data for Eswatini’s arts industry. To the creatives in Eswatini, I would like to say do not be shy and don’t be modest because in this industry there’s no room for modesty. Be bold and talk yourself into believing you are the best and sell yourself to be the best by putting in the work and improving your public image every day. Treat your craft as a business and understand that talent equals business”.
Asked about what is different from this year’s awards, Zwane said they decided to go to the regions to bridge the gap and educate young people on the positive use of social media.
“It is our duty to inspire the youth, especially the disadvantaged, to dream bigger by providing them with opportunities with the cellphones they have in their hands or wherever they access the Internet. Through the SMA we can inspire young people to dream big in such a way that some of them can be influencers for big corporates in the Kingdom. We must bridge the gap between the Mbabane- Manzini corridor and other parts of the country in terms of social media usage for business.”
He added that for this year, they have cut down the categories from 50 to 30 and this is to make it competitive.