Eleven year old Kenyan musician, Shanah Manjeru, has won the Arts and Culture Award at the 2019 African Children of the Year Awards (ACOTYA). The awards were held on 2 November at the Profound Conference Centre, Bramley, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Shanah was the only non-South African to win an award in her category in the continental event. The event comprised of 11 Winners, 11 First Runners-up, 11 Second Runners-up, and 59 Nominees from Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.
The following children scooped awards in each of the ten categories:
Arts and Culture Category, won by 11-year-old Shanah Manjeru from Nairobi, Kenya
Education and Skills Development Category, won by 11-year-old Sibahle Zwane from Johannesburg, South Africa
Leadership Category, won by 9-year-old, Relebogile Mothema from Johannesburg, South Africa
Philanthropy Category, won by 13-year-old Jed Kagan from Cape Town, South Africa
Community Development Category, won by 12-year-old Deante Swart from Durban, South Africa
Motivational/Personal Development Category, won by 12-year-old Mphumzi Capa from Johannesburg, South Africa
Sports and Recreation Category, won by 10-year-old Oratilwe Phiri from Johannesburg, South Africa
Safety and Security Category, won by 13-year-old Njabulo Zulu from Pretoria, South Africa
Entrepreneurship Category, won by 8-year-old Dainon John Van Wyk from Johannesburg, South Africa
Special Mention Category, won by 14-year-old Londeka Ndwandwe from Johannesburg, South Africa
“I am very grateful to receive this Africa-wide recognition for my effort and work around influencing and inspiring all kinds of people through my music,” said Shanah, while noting, “I shall continue making more inspirational music that transcends boundaries so as to reach and impact more people globally.
The awards ceremony was graced by talented children in various fields; from 14-year-old male and female MCs, 8-year-old speech presenter, 4 to 6-year-old creche singers, 7 to 14-year-old dancers, 14-year-old interviewer, among others.
The Awards founder, 12-year-old child author Stacey Fru, planned this ceremony to coincide with the United Nations and particularly UNICEF’s celebration of children. This year’s ceremony coincided with the commemoration of the 30-year anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Annual AfrICAN Children of the Year Awards is an initiative of The Stacey Fru Foundation based in South Africa. The Awards recognises children aged between 7 and 13 years from across Africa, who are contributing positively with their talents and skills in their communities, countries and the continent. The first ceremony was held in November 2018 in South Africa.
In October 2017, Shanah Manjeru, at 9 years old, went professional and released her debut song DESTINY, followed later in February 2018 with her second music release, WE ARE ONE, then closely in April 2018 with her third music release, WINNER. In December 2018, she released GOD WILL LISTEN. Her most recent double releases are WORSHIP and WORSHIP SYMPHONY, both released in April 2019.
Shanah’s WINNER song won the Song of the Year Award during the Kenya Gospel Music Awards 2018. The WINNER song also played several times at number one on the #XFMWeeklyTop30 show on XFM105.5FM. During the Maranatha Global Gospel Music Awards 2019, Shanah won the Outstanding Alternative-Urban Fusion Minister of Excellence 2019. She was a Groove Awards 2019 nominee.