Beenie Man crowns FESPAD in style

It was an evening of fun and excitement as curtains fell on the week-long 8th Pan-African Dance Festival (FESPAD) at Amahoro National Stadium. Jamaican Dancehall Maestro Beenie Man masterminded a successful crowning of the 8th edition of the biennial festival.
Beenie Man provided the perfect icing on the cake as the curtains fell on Fespad 2013.
Beenie Man provided the perfect icing on the cake as the curtains fell on Fespad 2013.

It was an evening of fun and excitement as curtains fell on the week-long 8th Pan-African Dance Festival (FESPAD) at Amahoro National Stadium.

Jamaican Dancehall Maestro Beenie Man masterminded a successful crowning of the 8th edition of the biennial festival. The self-acclaimed ‘King of Dancehall’ ensured a happy ending after a series of glitches and the wrath of Mother Nature that characterised this year’s FESPAD.

There had been fears earlier that rain would disrupt the closing ceremony as it did to the opening ceremony.

The skies rumbled in the afternoon, a light drizzle followed thereafter sending panic waves among the organisers but this time round the heavens were of mercy---the rain subsided and the much awaited closing ceremony, graced by the Jamaican star, and Ice Prince from Nigeria, ensued.

Despite the event being entrance-free, the stadium did not fill up but it was quite a sizable crowd, mainly littered in the playing field with a few of them in the stands.

The evening kicked off with tradition performances by groups from the six participating nations---Uganda, Namibia, Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt and hosts Rwanda.

It was then followed by the award and recognition ceremony, led by the Minister of Sports and Culture Protais Mitali, who hailed the once in every two years festival for bringing together Africa and for being a platform to share knowledge and culture.

“I would like to thank all the participating countries and the organisers Rwanda Development Board. Rwanda is ready and is looking forward to host such events that bring the continent together,” Minister Mitali said.

Rwanda and DR Congo emerged the winners of the country contest but, at the end of the day, everyone was a winner, with all the participating countries walking away with a recognition award.

King of Coga Rafiki Mazimpaka, who has not been seen much on the music scene lately, appeared to remind his fans that he is still around, more like Dr Claude. The pair proved that they still have what it takes.

Jay Polly put behind his disappointment for not being voted the Primus Guma Guma Superstar Season 3 winner to perform at the closing ceremony, backed up by scantily dressed queen dancers. Dream Boys too did not miss out.

However, the night became exciting when Nairobi-based Burundian music veteran Kidumu hit the stage. The chubby-faced, jolly Burundian has made Rwanda his second home and, as such, he has made multitudes of fans.

Again he proved why he is a force to reckon with in the East African region. With his equally energetic back dancers, Kidumu claimed his moment on stage and the fans too did not disappoint, showering him with love.

Clad in a shiny grey suite, as usual, Kidumu swapped roles, proving that he cannot only sing, but also play an instrument or two while his skills on the drums are unmatched.

And by the time Ice Prince got on stage, the crowd was already fired up. Clad in matching camouflage fatigues, the Nigerian star took to the stage with his entourage and a DJ to spice up the performance.

The only disappointment is that he did not perform live like the rest. The singer relied mostly on the DJ to spice up his performance even though it was lip-synched.

He performed his popular ‘Oleku’ and ‘Superstar’ singles before paving the way for Jamaican Anthony Moses Davis (Oh yes, that’s Beenie Man).

Beenie Man came on stage few minutes past midnight, introduced by South African TV star KB or rather Kabelo. The South African has since swapped his old dreadlock trademark look for a more corporate, clean shaven look.

With a full back up band, the Dancehall King started off with his old hits from the 90’s slowly moving into the 2000’s. He rekindled memories with ‘Girls dem Sugar’ and ‘Feel it Boy’, the global hits he did with Mya and Janet Jackson, respectively.

The Google-eyed singer proved he could engage the crowd, taking his fans through his big hits from back in the day including ‘Dude’, ‘King of Dancehall’, ‘Back it up’, ‘Wine Gyal’, the and ‘Better than dem’, among others.

Beenie Man ensured that the exhausted audience doesn’t go away by engaging them from start to finish with positive energy.

The sound did not disappoint and his backup band was up to the task even though many will argue that impressing a Rwandan crowd takes more than just singing and dancing.

At around 1:30am, people slowly started trickling out of the stadium as the organisers took a sigh of relief for a successful closing ceremony.

The 2013 Fespad had its highs and lows. There was criticism in terms of organisation but atleast the closing ceremony measured up to expectations. To the organisers, there were lessons to learn too. We can only look forward to the 9th edition.

Subscribe to The New Times E-Paper


You want to chat directly with us? Send us a message on WhatsApp at +250 788 310 999    

 

Follow The New Times on Google News