The East African - - MAGAZINE -

USpe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent gan­dan Afro-soul and jazz songstress San­dra Nankoma is the Best Fe­male Artiste in African In­spi­ra­tional Mu­sic. Her song earned her the ti­tle at the 2018 All Africa Mu­sic Awards (Afrima ) com­pe­ti­tion held in Ac­cra, Ghana re­cently.

is off Nankoma's 2018 de­but al­bum which means “It's me” in Lu­ganda and Lug­were It is an an­them for dark-skinned girls, urg­ing them to em­brace their melanin, and re­ject skin bleach­ing.

The song was in­spired by Nankoma's own ex­pe­ri­ence while grow­ing up. She was con­stantly teased for her dark skin tone.

“The stigma that sur­rounds peo­ple with a dark skin com­plex­ion and the fact that I have been a vic­tim in­spired the song. It is about the strug­gle for ac­cep­tance; the yearn­ing to end the stigma and bleach­ing for vic­tims; the need to share a story of vic­tory with ev­ery dark girl out there and let them know that there's noth­ing wrong with their skin, rather, there's ev­ery­thing wrong with who­ever does not love who they are and de­cides to take it out on them,” she told

She added: “If I sur­vived the harsh com­ments and bul­ly­ing so can ev­ery dark girl; you can be beau­ti­ful in your nat­u­ral skin tone with­out bow­ing to the pres­sure of chang­ing it. I am dark, proud and beau­ti­ful.”

In her ac­cep­tance speech, Nankoma thanked her mother for ex­pe­ri­ences of con­stant love and sup­port. She also talked about her bul­ly­ing.

“It's been a long jour­ney over my skin tone. I have been bul­lied; I have been called names. I didn't want to go to school be­cause of my skin colour; the other chil­dren used to make fun of me. Un­til I fi­nally took up the fight for all the dark skinned girls out there. You are beau­ti­ful. There's noth­ing wrong with your skin tone.”

Nankoma added: “This award shows that mu­sic is pow­er­ful and can cross bor­ders and above all, it speaks a lan­guage hu­mankind un­der­stands, it's an af­fir­ma­tion that the world surely ap­pre­ci­ates what I do and I will con­tinue to give my best while not for­get­ting my roots.” has 10 tracks in­clud­ing

and — all writ­ten by Nankoma.

The singer who is also a poet and visual artist plans to re­lease videos for in Jan­uary, make more mu­sic and hold more tours be­fore launch­ing her next al­bum.

“I am work­ing on my next al­bum but for now I'll do more videos pro­mot­ing my lat­est al­bum,” said Nankoma.

Afrima is a com­bined ef­fort by mu­sic pro­fes­sion­als across Africa to cel­e­brate and pre­serve the con­ti­nent's rich mu­si­cal her­itage. It also of­fers un­recorded artistes, a plat­form to show­case their tal­ent to the world. The fifth edi­tion of the Afrima com­pe­ti­tion was held in Ac­cra, Ghana on Novem­ber 25.

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