Wizkid in Kigali

Photo by Umuseke

NIGERIA’s very own Starboy, Wizkid, 26, performed in Kigali this past weekend. The Kabuga-Masaka road’s heavy traffic led to Romans Park Regular (formerly Rugende Training Center), gradually gathering an anticipating crowd late Saturday afternoon, where he was set to perform on the stage of this year’s Mutzig Beer Fest.

In short shorts, skirts and shades, the girls came prepared for an evening of pure fun. Stands surrounded by people buying beer and food; a congestion that also—unfortunately in many circumstances—called for theft. A good number of people managed to get their phones stolen that day.

The crowd began to get vibrant when South African duo Liquideep got on stage, gathering it closer and closer together. It is after this that the absolute ‘Surulere’ talent appeared on stage and was greeted with some hands-in-the-air energy, all overflowing with excitement.

His fans—pretty much everyone—couldn’t help but sing along as soon as he started performing. We were at our loudest when he sang “Bad Girl” and “The Matter”, then “Caro”, and then “Show You The Money”; and then, of course, “Ojuelegba” from his 2014 album “Ayo”.

There would be moments where he would replace names of place in his lyrics with Kigali and/or Rwanda. It led to an impossible amount of screaming.

As a fan, I imagined that I would capture his whole performance on my phone and share it on Snapchat or Instagram, so I didn’t want to get distracted. I stood on a chair at the back of the crowd, off of which I fell at least twice, climbed back on it and still had a perfect view of him. Still no photographs. I feared I could miss seeing him dance, fascinated by how he angles the hand that’s not holding the microphone towards his pelvis. I told myself, ‘I am seeing him now, I’ll watch him later.’

Photo by InkStain

Noticing a fight in the crowd, mid-performance, he interrupted his band with concern and warned: “No fighting at a Wizkid concert!” Later, he talked about his recent collaboration with Drake; the hit-song “One Dance” that has topped onto his music success, singing his part briefly. That specific moment was intense.

A Rwandan crowd, sometimes, differs from any other by keeping calm when something as disappointing as a glitch in the sound setup happens. The Nigerian artist wore the situation gracefully and proceeded with the task—he’d come to entertain hundreds of Rwandans and he did just that.

As we also note that the previous night, he had joined Rwandans and friends of Rwanda at a fundraising gala, to support the cause of conservation, as part of the annual Kwita Izina, Wizkid’s performance in Kigali is surely a highlight this year and many, like myself, look forward to seeing him back again soon.

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