Rwanda continued to ruffle the feathers of the other East Africa “big three” when it took the maiden appearance in Tusker Project Fame to sneak the most coveted crown in the musical industry from under the nose of its fierce rivals in the art.
Sunday night was a rapturous moment shortly after eight O’clock, when Rwandans and million others in the rest of East Africa’s living rooms witnessed on their television screens as Alpha Rwirangira’s very talented rivals fell away by the might of fan’s votes.
First it was Patricia, the competition’s favorite in terms of vocal talent who despite her popularity in Kenya only managed a lackluster fourth position.
Then it was Ugandan Caroline’s turn who took second runner up position and won herself a one year recording contract with Kenya’s recording label Sound Africa.
The race then went down to the two last men standing and behold, the comedian of the house with, according to Dr. Mich, a PhD in probation, having featured on the dreaded list a record six out of the eight weeks, fell away in an uncharacteristic manner, leaving the competition’s wild card to walk away with the millions, the fame and the best position to be on a Sunday prime time television moment.
How did Alpha win it? Perhaps it had something to do with his unique musical style – reggae and free thinking, originality, focusing on unity, patriotism and pan-Africanism, while the rest of other contestants were busing performing songs about love.
He came, he shouted and jumped, and he conquered. Or perhaps, he was always thanking the fans and playing diplomacy in everything.
After all is said and done, it will go down in history of Project Fame that his rivals made mistakes too often. Debarl chose a wrong song, just once and it sunk him. Maureen concentrated too much on her new found musical strength and forgot to court the fans.
Leah was too busy assuring herself that with or without the money she was going to be a singer. No wonder with all the talent she still left.
Nina was just plain unlucky to be judged by someone as mean and as unappreciative of francophone music as Judge Ian Mbugua, while Christian put his eye off the ball when the Illuminata came in the picture.
Tanzanians looked like rabbits caught in the headlights and they crashed out haplessly, one after the other. Patricia was too sure of herself to care, while Nganga was always trying to make everyone laugh.
Look who got the last laugh. He knew that reggae was a winner in Kenya and that no one could be at him to it. So he discretely built a fan base there, well aware that Rwanda’s votes were already in the bag.
It helped him that two popular Kenyans would share the vote of the Kenyan’s who voted patriotic.
Lastly but not least, he never assumed that he could win, not mentioning the money even once, even when Nganga was smelling it already and always kept thanking all the fans and the magic ‘Man’ above. Look what the humility and a big heart got him – Big money, a big contract and a very big fan base.
And upon his return, he was received by a sea of people at Kigali International Airport, cladding T-shirts wrote on amazing wordings like: “We Are Proud of You Alpha,”---“Welcome Home Superstar”.