In a night of emotional victories and show-stopping performances, Mzansi’s female music stars gave us another reason to be proud back home. 

South African talent stole the spotlight at the BET Awards 2024 on 30 June, with Tyla and Makhadzi bagging top honours. This year’s ceremony, held in California, truly showcased the incredible talent hailing from Mzansi.

Tyla, the 22-year-old pop/amapiano sensation, had a night to remember as she clinched both the Best New Artist and Best International Act awards. These awards add to her collection after winning her first Grammy in February. 

In her acceptance speech, Tyla took to the stage with grace, dedicating her awards to Africa. “This is such a gift to be here. I want to dedicate this one to all the African superstars before me. Africa to the world!” she said.

On top of her double win, Tyla lit up the stage with her hit song “Jump,” featuring US rapper Gunna and Jamaican dancehall DJ Skillibeng. The act began with dancers in tiger-print bodysuits, paying homage to her loyal fanbase, “the Tygers.” With an elephant statue and performers on stilts, the show was a spectacle that brought a touch of African magic to Los Angeles.

This win will hopefully overshadow the debate surrounding Tyla’s racial identity, which resurfaced recently due to an old TikTok video from 2020. In the video, Tyla described herself as “Coloured”, a term which her American fans associated with the derogatory term from the Jim Crow era.

What some “Tygers” may have failed to consider is the unique coloured culture and identity within South Africa, which should be separated from the American perspective. In a recent interview with “The Breakfast Club” on 13 June, Tyla put an end to the discussion. “ I’m both Coloured in South Africa and a Black woman. As a woman of the culture, it’s ‘and,’ not ‘or.’,” she said. 

Returning to the stars of the show, Makhadzi, the Limpopo-born artist best known for her songs ‘Tshanda Vhuya’ and ‘Matorokisi’, also celebrated a monumental win. She took home the Viewer’s Choice: Best New International Act award, marking a significant milestone in her career and an unbeatable 28th birthday present.

“I started music from the streets, and today I’m here. My dream just came true. I’m just speechless. This is the best birthday ever,” said Makhadzi.

Our newly appointed Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture, Gayton McKenzie, congratulated the two stars on social media. He posted on X, “Things are happening already. Congratulations to both ladies. We want to assure South Africans that we will not be a Ministry that will be content with congratulating artists and creatives only but will go out and unearth more Tylas and Makhadzis. Help us find more future superstars.” 

Congratulations to Tyla and Makhadzi for not only making Mzansi proud but also proving once again that Africa is a powerhouse of talent.