Nigerian music legend, entrepreneur and philanthropist D’Banj, and Angolan supermodel and fashion icon Maria Borges have been revealed as the hosts of the first Trace Awards in Rwanda

Presented by Visit Rwanda and Martell, the Trace Awards will take place at the BK Arena, Kigali, Rwanda on 21 October 2023. 

D’Banj and Maria Borges will preside over a star-studded lineup of 60+ performers and nominees at the Trace Awards including Davido (Nigeria), Nomcebo (South Africa), Yemi Alade (Nigeria), Mr Eazi (Nigeria), Blxckie (South Africa), Bruce Melodie (Rwanda), Bwiza (Rwanda), Chriss Eazy (Rwanda), Didi B (Ivory Coast), Dystinct (Morocco), Janet Otieno (Kenya), Josey (Ivory Coast), Lisandro Cuxi (Cape Verde), Locko (Cameroon), Mikl (Reunion), Perola (Angola), Plutonio (Mozambique), Princess Lover (Martinique), Ronisia (France), Rutshelle Guillaume (Haïti), Soraia Ramos (Cape Verde), Tayc (France), Terrell Elymoor (Mayotte), The Compozers (Ghana), Viviane Chidid (Senegal), Azawi (Uganda), BNXN (Nigeria), Camidoh (Ghana), Danni Gatto (Cape Verde), Donovan BTS (Mauritius), Emma’a (Gabon), Bamby (French Guiana), GAEI (Madagascar), Gerilson Insrael (Angola), Goulam (The Comores), Kader Japonais (Algeria), Krys M (Cameroon), K.O (South Africa), KS Bloom (Ivory Coast), Levixone (Uganda), Moses Bliss (Nigeria), Musa Keys (South Africa), Nadia Mukami (Kenya), Maureen (Martinique), Pabi Cooper (South Africa), Segael (Réunion), the Soweto Gospel Choir (South Africa).  

The latest additions to the lineup include Artmasta (Tunisia), Ko-c (Cameroon), Odumodublvck (Nigeria), Pheelz (Nigeria) and Roselyne Layo (Ivory Coast).

Also in town to attend the Awards and to appear at the Trace Festival are Benjamin Dube (South Africa), BNXN (Nigeria), DJ Illans (Reunion), Josey (Ivory Coast), Juls (Ghana), Moses Bliss (Nigeria) and Show dem Camp (Nigeria).

Known for his groundbreaking contributions to the African music industry, D’Banj is a towering figure in the world of African music and entertainment whose music career has spanned more than two decades. His journey in the music industry began in the early 2000s when he burst onto the scene with his unique blend of Afrobeat, Afro-pop, and contemporary music genres. His mesmerising stage presence, magnetic charisma, and captivating live performances quickly endeared him to fans both in Africa and across the world, helped by an extensive repertoire of chart-topping hits such as “Oliver Twist,” “Fall in Love,” “Scapegoat,” and “Mr. Endowed.”  “Oliver Twist” performed exceptionally well, reaching the top ten on the UK Singles Chart and peaking at Number Two.  D’Banj‘s signing to Kanye West‘s G.O.O.D Music record label in June 2011 was a significant milestone for him and for African artists.  As the first African artist to achieve a global top ten with “Oliver Twist” in the UK, D’Banj contributed to the African music industry and pioneered the representation of African artists internationally.

D’Banj‘s music has topped the African charts and found resonance on the international stage but he still finds time for many other activities, and has been recognized for his philanthropic efforts, particularly his commitment to empowering African youth through his Koko Foundation. Another notable contribution to the music industry is his Cream Platform, an innovative talent discovery and support platform that aims to showcase and promote emerging African artists. It provides a unique opportunity for young talents to gain exposure, access mentorship, and collaborate with established industry professionals. By nurturing and supporting aspiring musicians, D’Banj continues to contribute to the growth and development of the African music scene, supporting African talent with funds, videos and other industry access.

Stunning Angolan supermodel and catwalk star, Maria Borges first burst onto the fashion scene in 2010 when she signed with prestigious agency Supreme Management. Soon she was walking the runways for the world’s fashion elite including fashion designers from Balmain to Banana Republic, Diane von Fürstenberg to Dior, and from Emporio Armani to Erdem. Her appearance on the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show runway in 2013 catapulted her into international stardom and she has subsequently appeared in campaigns for Givenchy, Tommy Hilfiger, H&M, Bobbi Brown, C&A, L’Oréal, Mac Cosmetics, and Forever 21. In 2017, she featured on the cover of Elle magazine in the USA, making headlines and promoting diversity and natural beauty in the fashion world by becoming the first African woman to wear natural short hair on the cover of the magazine.  

“D’Banj and Maria Borges are the perfect hosts for the inaugural Trace Awards. As trailblazers in the music and fashion industries, respectively, they have inspired countless young people, pushed the boundaries of creativity, and had a major cultural impact in Africa and around the world. We look forward to welcoming them to Rwanda in October for an unforgettable night celebrating African and Afro-inspired music and culture.”

Commented Olivier Laouchez, Co-founder & Chairman of Trace, 

“It’s a great honour to co-host the first Trace Awards in Africa and lead this amazing celebration of African and Afro-origin music for music fans around the world. I can’t wait to get to Rwanda and connect with all the incredible artists nominated and performing at the Trace Awards.”

Added D’Banj, 

“I am deeply humbled and incredibly excited to host the inaugural Trace Awards. Doing this in Rwanda, this beautiful nation, with its rich history and resilient spirit, will make this occasion all the more special for me. Celebrating the best Afro-centric musical achievements in Rwanda, with D’Banj, and surrounded by such incredible warmth and culture, is truly an honour I will cherish.”  

And from Maria, 

Targeted at lovers of African and Afro-inspired music and culture, the Trace Awards will broadcast live on 21 October 2023 on Trace TV, radio and digital channels and on global streaming platforms (YouTube), national terrestrial TV and satellite channels. The viewership and social interaction is expected to exceed 500 million fans in 190 countries.

You can buy your ticket from www.ticqet.rw priced from 20,000 RWF. To get close up and personal to your favourite stars, try the “Ubumwe” fan zone (30,000 RWF).  For a 25% discount on all tickets, sign up for the BK Arena Prepaid Card

Rwandan creativity and excellence are represented by the involvement of BK Arena, RwandAir, RBA and Kiss FM as partners to the Trace Awards & Festival.

Visitors to the Trace Awards and Festival in Rwanda are eligible for a 15 percent discount on RwandAir flight prices to Kigali using the code TRACE23.  

 For more information about the Awards, follow Trace on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter YouTube or TikTok. To join the conversation about the awards please use the hashtags #TraceAwardsRwanda2023#TraceAwardsandFestival and #TraceAwardsTour