Proudly dressed in his traditional Zulu attire, Jabulani Hadebe, aka Sjava, walked on stage on Sunday to claim his Viewers’ Choice Best International Act award at the BET Awards in Los Angeles.
The Afro-soul and Ambitiouz Entertainment record label star was nominated alongside fellow African Niniola of Nigeria and Ghanaian Kwesi Arthur. Two other South African acts, hip-hop star Cassper Nyovest and Durban’s Distruction Boys, were also nominated in the category.
“I’m so happy. I don’t even know what to say. This really means a lot,” said Sjava. “Where I come from you don’t get here, so being here and winning this award will make a lot of people happy back home.
“A lot of people will be motivated and see that it’s possible; you can actually go far just by being yourself, being proud of your culture and where you come from.”
The 29-year-old has been receiving congratulatory messages on social media from his fans and supporters, fellow musicians and politicians, with most mentioning how proud he has made South Africa.
“Congrats to King Sjava for the win. SA Hip Hop doing big sh*t,” wrote Cassper Nyovest on Twitter.
— R.M Phoolo (@CassperNyovest) June 25, 2018
Former youth leader and politician Fikile Mbabula also wrote on Twitter: “Big ups to Sjava. A deserved recognition.”