February 14, 2019

Salax Awards Will Go On With Or Without Tops Stars

Could it be that some singers are withdrawing from the nomination list because they are scared of losing to those they consider inferior?”

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A local music industry project that first introduced awards for superstars is embroiled in row with singers – many of who have pulled out. The organizers have vowed that cancelling the awards like it happened for last three years, will not be repeated.

Emma Claudine Ntirenganya, who initiated the awards several years ago has remained steadfast in the face of negative media reviews branding Salax Awards as poorly organized.

The superstars any event organizer cannot afford to miss like award-winning duo Charly & Nina, Knowless, Bruce Melody and Social Mula – threw in the towel. Odda Pacy, the singer behind the controversial “IBYA-TSI” single is also out.

U.S-based international acts The Ben and Meddy – both of who have big hits, are not on the nomination list.

Some said in social media posts that they had other engagements which conflicted with the Salax calendar. Others said they were not ready for ‘personal reasons’ (ku mpamvu zanjye bwite).

Initiator ‘Emma Claudine’ as she is commonly known, is not giving media interviews – preferring to direct requests to Ahupa Digital Services, which she says is the company that has taken over the Salax Awards brand.

February 3: Ikirezi Group CEO, Emma Claudine Ntirenganya (L) hands over Salax Awards to CEO of Ahupa, Ahmed Pacifique in Kigali

It all began when the organisers released a nomination list placing singers in categories. Many of the singers, some of who believe they had to be at number one, fired back angrily in social media posts.

Some did not like the fact that they had been placed in same category with other singers they consider below their standards, according local reports.  

But in a Facebook post on February 6, Emma Claude is clearly taking no punches this time.

“Does it mean the awards are poorly organized when some singers do not want to appear on Salax Awards nomination list,” she wrote. “I was listening to a journalist on [radio] saying…‘there is something wrong’… But I wonder… ‘what is really wrong?’…”

She added: “…Could it be that some singers are withdrawing from the nomination list because they are scared of losing to those they consider inferior?”

Ahupa Digital Services which secured a 5-year management contract for Salax Awards shows no sign it is panicking publicly. Original brand owners Ikirezi Group apparently were unable to secure sponsors.  

“There is no change on how the awards had been planned,” Isiaka Mulemba, a partner and spokesperson of Ahupa Digital Services told The Chronicles. “The music industry is far bigger than a few singers who do not want to be part of Salax Awards. It will not deter us from organizing future editions.”

Salax Awards previous edition. You will have difficulty recognizing any of these stars if you met them today

The cash packages have increases for awards. The top name will go away with Rwf1m – which was half in previous edition of 2016. The winners in categories will walk away with Rwf 100, 000.

The 2019 Salax Awards 7th Edition will take place on March 29, sponsored by Chinese satellite TV provider StarTimes.

However, no venue has been decided yet.

Today these stars are household names after working their way up the long celebrity ladder

Here is the complete list of nominees:

Best culture and traditional artiste

Clarisse Karasira

Jules Sentore

Sophia Nzayisenga

Deo Munyakazi

Mani Martin

Best Gospel Artiste

Israel Mbonyi

Serge Iyamuremye

Aime Uwimana

Patient Bizimana

Gentil Bigizi

Upcoming artiste



Alyn Sano


Andy Bumuntu

Best Group

Just Family

The Same



Yemba Voice

Best AfrobeatArtiste

MC Tino

Danny Vumbi

Davis D

Uncle Austin

Mico The Best

Best R&B Artiste

Bruce Melodie



King James

Social Mula

Best Hip-hop Artiste

Bull Dogg

Jay C



Ama G The Black

Best Female Artiste

Asinah Erra

Young Grace


Queen Cha

Alyn Sano

Best Male Artiste

Bruce Melodie

Israel Mbonyi

King James



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