A cloudy night in the affluent Dar es Salaam Masaki suburban area was about to get a whole lot busier with a plethora of nightly events sure to keep revellers on their toes all night long.
South Africa’s Maya Wegerif - popularly known by her stage name ‘Sho Madjozi’ - was set to hit the stage at the sociable ‘Elements Lounge’ in the city to a crowd that was ready to dance to the tunes of the ‘John Cena’ hit maker.
A day that had started with a heavy downpour was on course to become less ideal for any festivities. However, with patrons in their party gear, nothing was to derail the party train that was packed to full capacity with residents keen on enjoying to their hearts’ content.
Sho Madjozi had already landed in Dar, and was set to perform over the weekend – a course of two days, at Elements on Saturday and Beach Kidimbwi on Sunday. But it was the latter that made headlines - both pre-party and after the main showdown.
With tickets going at Sh15,000 regular and Sh30,000 VIP for the first wave of early birds, it’s safe to say that people were about to be packed like sardines at the venue, all for the merriment of a nightly event buoyed by the spirit of the festive season.
As the clock ticked away, eagerness rose to boiling point and soon it was party time. The wait was over for the impatient fans who’d waited their whole life to breathe within touching distance of Sho Madjozi.
A show that was scheduled to kick-off at 9:00pm started inauspiciously when the gates of heaven opened - and the rains poured upon us mere earthlings. It was a dreadful scene as the venue environs, adorned to the comfort and preference of revellers soon turned into a makeshift hurricane camp.
It was survival for the fittest as one by one patrons scrambled to the nearest safe zone to salvage their neatly assembled outfits and precious possessions from the rain.
Minutes became hours and there was no sign of the rain letting up anytime soon. It took a total of four hours (from 11pm to 3:00am) for the rain to subside and provide a moment of respite and window of opportunity for the event organisers to make something out of the rest of the night.
The revellers were packed to the rafters inside the lounge as the DJs tried to entertain the crowd with whatever equipment that wasn’t rendered useless by the rains.
On occasion, the hypeman, - Tonny Albert, a.k.a Tbway 360 - would be heard promising the crowd that the show was very much on course... And that the lady from Mzanzi was already in the building – even though she was nowhere in sight.
At 3:00am the crowd was ushered back to the stage area where the action was to unfold. The rain hadn’t fully stopped; it had only waned to a drizzle.
The task at hand was to get everyone back to their partying spirit after the disappointment caused by Mother Nature.
It was the sound of Sho Madjozi’s trademark ‘Iyah’ heard over the speakers that got everyone upbeat almost instantly.
But before she could get on stage as the rain trickles had started gathering pace, Bongo Flava artiste Ommy Dimpoz was unveiled to the eager crowd - and he wasted no time in getting the show started.
Ommy started off with ‘You are the best’, before switching to ‘Me and You’ featuring Vanessa Mdee, for which he asked for the company of any female patron to represent Vanessa on stage; a request that was fervently responded to by close to ten women.
It was an enticing view seeing how intimate Ommy was with his female fans who seemed to be on Cloud Nine. The ‘Cheche’ artiste used the opportunity to debut his latest single, ‘Dede,’ featuring DJ Tira from South Africa. From the fast beats to the singing style, ‘Dede’ was an instant crowd-pleaser.
The crowd was now ready for the lady of the night, Sho Madjozi. Full of energy - and with highly-enthused back-up dancers to boot - Sho hit the stage determined to leave an imprint. At this time the rain was relentless and mushrooming into a full-on blizzard.
The crowd remained intact even as the downpour continued - and so did their spirit to keep the night going. This seemed to fuel Sho’s energy, and she wasn’t about to disappoint her fans.
She started off with ‘Huku’, before moving on to ‘Too Much’, a song she’s featured in by Tanzania’s Rommy Jones. She then wowed the crowd with ‘Mama Amina,’ another banger she’s featured in, sang by Bongo Flava’s Marioo.
Good as her singing was, it was her dancing, nonetheless - complemented by her facial expressions - that got the crowd elated.
Sho enlivened the show for about an hour, rounding the night off with her international hit ‘John Cena’. The crowd was now soaking wet but they asked for an encore after a night that had started off on the wrong footing - but teh show was salvaged in spectacular fashion.
Those who’d left soon after the rains started rued their decision - and could only vicariously experience the performance of a lifetime through the die-hard patrons who bravely stuck around.