Africaishome to extraordinary talent. From music to acting to stand up comedy, a great number of gifted entertainers emerge every year to stake their claim with undeniable authority. 2015 was a great year for many, such as South African rapper Cassper Nyovest, who made history as the first local act to fill up the TicketPro Dome, a concert venue in Johannesburg with a capacity of 20,000. 2015 also produced a crop of new talent that will sure be on many people’s radar this year. The following five are just a tiny representation of the countless rising and thriving African stars who are amazing in their respective fields.
Kiss Daniel – NIGERIA
For some artists, it takes a string of singles or even albums to get the recognition and to the level of fame they deserve. Not so for Anidugbe Daniel, popularly known as Kiss Daniel. The 21-year-old Afropop singer’s stratospheric rise to continental fame came after the release of his second official single Woju in late 2014. The song dominated the airwaves in 2015, culminating in a nomination for the “Hottest Single” category at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards.
If you happened to tune into music channels like Trace Africa and MTV Base at any given point last year, you were bound to be greeted by Daniel’s Woju music video, which peaked at number one on MTV Base’s Official Naija Top 10 music video chart for six weeks. With Kiss Daniel set to perform in the UK in March this year, 2016 sure looks to be yet another great year for the Naija boy.
21-year-old Nigerian, Afropop singer, Kiss Daniel
Gigi Lamayne – SOUTH AFRICA
If there’s one thing Gigi Lamayne has emphatically proven, it’s that female rappers are just as competitive as their male counterparts. Although the South African rapper has been on her grind for some time, she’s been less known in the mainstream, until last year when she came through with her explosive single Ice Cream, which features SA hip-hop heavyweight Khuli Chana. Since then it’s been smooth-sailing for Gigi, who recently took her craft outside South African borders with a performance in Zambia alongside Khuli Chana.
So what can we expect from Gigi this year? “In the first half of the year, I’m gonna release a mixtape titled Ground Zero. And in the second half of 2016, I’m gonna release my debut album, not yet titled. I’m also gonna do more collabos, release more singles and shoot more videos”, she tells us. She adds, on the state of hip-hop in Africa, “Africa is slowly becoming one continental village, there are now more collaborations with hip-hop artists from other African countries and it makes it easy for all of us to tour the African continent.”
South African rapper, Gigi Lamayne
Abraham Attah – GHANA
Ever since starring alongside Idris Elba in the critically acclaimed 2015 film Beasts of No Nation, Abraham Attah has been gaining oodles of international attention. The 14-year-old breakout star, who recently won the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor at the Venice Film Festival, is a natural. It’s hard to believe that before Beasts of No Nation, he had never acted a day in his life.
The world can’t get enough of the young chap’s impressive acting skills and we’re glad we’ll be seeing more of him on the big screen as he’s set to appear in the upcoming adventure drama The Modern Ocean, where he’ll act alongside Hollywood stars such as Keanu Reeves and Anne Hathaway.
The 14-year-old breakout star
Reniss – CAMEROON
Reniss’ lulling, alluring voice over catchy tribal beats has endeared her to her local fans, who have dubbed the singer the Pop Princess of Cameroon. Drawing influence from legends of African music such as the late South African singer Miriam Makeba, and Cameroonian Bebe Manga, Reniss has developed a style that mixes hip-hop and pop music, laced with African rhythms.
She released her second EP Milkish, in 2015, and her second album is slated to drop this year. The future looks exciting for the songstress.
Pop Princess of Cameroon
Doc Vikela – ZIMBABWE
Zimbabwe’s comedy scene is flourishing, thanks to a new generation of comedians like Doc Vikela. Doc worked as a high school teacher, and it wasn’t until 2011 that he decided to quit teaching and pursue a career as a comedian. It’s a decision that has paid off big time for the 29-year-old. Alongside fellow Zimbabwean comedian Simba the Comic King, Doc Vikela has gone on to form Simuka Comedy Club, which has since morphed into one of the biggest comedy brands in the country.
The “doctor” is known to poke fun of everyone from the president, Robert Mugabe, to corrupt politicians and police officers, to local celebrities. Here’s one of his famous gems: “Zimbabweans, for all our achievements in literacy – we have a 99.9995 percent literacy rate – we are the only country that will fail to answer a simple question: Who is your former president?”