It was a night of mixed feelings as songstress Jeanne d’Arc Butera, commonly known as Knowless, won the 5th Primus Guma-Guma Super Star (PGGSS5) title on Saturday night after six months of crisscrossing the country in the annual music contest.
Knowless was announced amid ululations and boos in equal measure after she pipped Bruce Melodie to the crown, walking away with the grand prize of Rw24m and many other benefits.
Fireworks lit up the skies of Kigali as thousands of people screamed in excitement and others in disappointment as the 25-year old was handed a dummy cheque of Rwf24 million by Jonathan Hall, the Bralirwa MD.
“I would like to thank everyone who supported me throughout this journey. This is for you, my fans, and everyone else who stood by me and supported me in all ways,” the victorious Knowless said, as a section of Bulldog fans shouted ‘Gender, Gender’.
The Tuff Gang rapper, who emerged 4th, had been tipped by a large section of the crowd to win the top prize but his votes and the judges suggested otherwise.
Both Bulldog and Bruce Melodie had exuded confidence in their earlier performances, and with the backing of the crowd, it seemed pretty obvious that the money was between them, but a consistent Knowless pipped the duo to the top prize.
Bulldog’s disappointed fans believed that there was a plan to give the title to a female singer, this time round, the last four having all gone to male singers, a claim Bralirwa dismissed from the onset.
“I am shocked. For me it was between Bulldogg and Bruce Melodie,” said Robert Munyaneza, who quickly added that it could be that their fans were not active when it came to voting.
But a confident Knowless, who had her fans, commonly known as ‘Intwarane’, rallying behind her, had earlier put on a wonderful performance of Sweet Mutima and Baramushaka. She completed her performance by setting white doves free.
It was a reversal of positions for Dream Boys and Bruce Melodie who emerged second and third, respectively, in last year's PGGSS.
Bruce Melodie, in second spot, walked away with Rwf 7.5 million while Dream Boys scooped Rwf7 million for third place.
To complete the top five was crowd favourite Rapper Bulldogg, who walked away with Rwf3.5m, with the boy trio Active taking the 5th place and Rwf3m.
Gakondo artiste Jules Sentore came in 6th, followed by Eric Senderi International Hit. Female rapper Oda Paccy emerged number eight while Rafiki could only afford 9th place with new boys TNP rounding off the competition in 10th position.
The announcements were preceded by live performances from the ten artistes who delivered the last portion of what they have done in 15 roadshows.
Choga style artiste Rafiki opened the show with Bagambe followed by Jules Sentore who excited many with his dancers doing Ngera and Udatsikira.
Oozing with confidence, Bruce Melodie performed Ndakwanga and Ndumiwe to an electrified crowd, while rapper OdaPaccy delivered decent performances of Banseka and Umusirimu.
Man of Stunts Senderi, sent the crowd into chuckles when he claimed that he was the ‘Chris Brown’ of Kigali as he performed Nsomyaho and Nta Cash.
A confident Bulldog did Nk'umusaza and Cinema, hitting out at critics of Hip Hop, who say it’s a genre of ‘gangsters’. The rapper had the backing of 2014 winner Jay Polly.
Jay Polly himself performed on the evening, singing Malaika and Twubaste Ahakomeye as he rooted for his old time friend Bulldogg
Active performed Lift and Pole with their usual impressive dance moves. Dream Boys ended the evening’s performances with Tujyane Iwacu and No One Like Me.
Prior to announcing this year’s winner, Bralirwa handed over three wheeled multipurpose motorcycles and over 40 crates of Primus to lucky winners as business start-ups.
At the end of the day, after a thorough compilation of results by PriceWaterHouseCoopers, it was Knowless who emerged the winner, becoming the first female singer to win the prestigious PGGSS title.