Later this month, on Friday, 23 December, Ikirezi Group will present a new edition of the Salax Awards, Rwanda’s sole modern-music awards show.

Since it started, eight years ago, the awards aspire to make the best of Rwandan artists shine, nationally and perhaps internationally. In many instances, especially during the early years, it strived. But this time, the seventh edition (it should have been the eighth, if they hadn’t skipped last year) brings an even much bigger challenge to the organisers. It is a test like no other. One to call a last-chance.

The show has faced serious criticism, from artists and pundits, music promoters, and—even worse—journalists. Not to mention losing sponsor-at-large MTN, among others.

In many ways, the upcoming edition will define not only the future of Ikirezi Group but also the music industry sector. It will shape a new line in the conversation on how the media, and music promoters, act toward building a future for Rwandan musicians and how we recognise their role in our society.

In the last several months, the organisers’ main fight has been to recollect the awards’ reputation, and it remains one of the biggest tasks. And if the new inputs fail this time, many will call it an end. But if they do not disappoint, it will be a new beginning that deserve a loud applause. One that could rally more support for, and give a new face to, the celebration of Rwandan music.

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