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Zinnia Wins Mutzig Star Competition 

By Ernest Sumelong

Friday, June 19, at the Castel Hall Koumassi, Douala, a new page was turned in the life of Bemo Basame fondly called Zinnia. Zinnia emerged winner of the final of Les Brasseries du Cameroun Mutzig Star competition organised in partnership with Canal 2 International.

Zinnia on stage

Zinnia beat three other contenders to win the big prize offered each year by Les Brasseries du Cameroun for budding musical artists to showcase their talent and shine. June 19 was not just a red letter day for Zinnia; but it was also a day of great honour for the Southwest Region, which for the first time in the history of the National Song Competition had its candidate lift the coveted trophy and drive home a new brand Peugeot 206.

After emerging as the 2009 champion, Zinnia earned FCFA 1 million cash prize and a new brand Peugeot 206 worth FCFA 15 million, an innovation for this year’s competition. Besides, Zinnia would have her first album produced and promoted by the company. In the second place was another Southwest representative, Jerry Tamfor Cleopha, fondly called Jerry who received FCFA 750,000.

Meanwhile, Babey and Leaby, all representing the West Region, emerged third and fourth respectively, receiving FCFA 500,000 and FCFA 400,000 each. According to Les Brasseries du Cameroun Marketing Manager, Mm Bethelot, the competition was launched March 14, 2009 at Pont Blanchiseur in Douala with some 7,000 amateur artists but it narrowed down to just four at the final.

Following the eliminatory phases which saw Les Brasseries du Cameroun caravan touring the major towns of the country, the competitors were narrowed down to eight. The eight competed in Yaounde, Bamenda and Buea from where they were finally narrowed down to four.Following the eliminatory phases before the final, Zinnia emerged overall best, while Jerry was fourth.

Unlike previous years when laureates received money and had their album produced; this year, the champ rode home a Peugeot 206 vehicle. On why the addition of a car, the Company’s Marketing Manager explained that stardom usually goes with a car and that changing the appellation from the National Song Competition to the Mutzig Star necessitated that they do something to match the new name.During the highly contested final, the candidates showcased great skill through their songs, their themes and their stage performances. The themes of their songs ranged from friendship, God’s plan, infidelity and abortion.

This year, the prize of the National Song Competition now dubbed Mutzig Star did not only grow bigger; but the contest also became tougher, better and more exciting. Due to the partnership between Les Brasseries du Cameroun and Canal 2 International, the Mutzig Star final was broadcast live on Canal 2 as was done during the eliminatory phases of the competition.

In order to give the occasion the pomp and pageantry it deserved, Les Brasseries du Cameroun invited some of Cameroon’s most renowned musical artists such as Andre Marie Talla, Adolf Mundi Claude aka Petit Pays, Simon Lonkana aka Longue Longue, Lady Ponce and one of the 1994 National Song Competition finalists, Prince Yerima Afo Akom.

Andre Marie Talla, Longue Longue, Lady Ponce among others thrilled thousands of Mutzig fans who watched live at the Castel Hall premises and on TV sets. Also, other famous artists and reputed musical producers and promoters such as Sam Fan Thomas, Beko Sadey, Nicole Mara, Jean Pierre Sartre and Urbain Sandjou constituted members of the jury.

Addressing his guests, Les Brasseries du Cameroun General Manager, Andre Siaka, expressed happiness at the performances of the competitors. He said the aim of the Mutzig Star competition is to discover and promote new talents. According to him, Les Brasseries du Cameroun aims to uphold the cultural heritage of the country as well as strengthen ties between the company’s brand beer Mutzig and it numerous consumers.

SW Regional Manager Celebrates

Following the brilliant performance of Southwest candidates, the out gone Southwest Regional Manager of Les Brasseries, Daniel Tchakounang, and the new Manager, Gilbert Emmanuel Um, danced and danced, celebrating the victory. The new Southwest Manager could hardly fight back his joy. "I am so happy. I must say I am a lucky man. I just came in as Manager and my candidates have performed so excellently. This is a great day for us," he said.

It would be recalled that in 2007, the Southwest Region presented two candidates at the final; Emmanuel Kimbi and Aaron Mbi, who emerged 3rd and fourth respectively. In 2008, the Southwest again had a candidate in the final in the person of Ndome Corine.The National Song Competition that was launched 19 years ago has over the years, through its brand beer Mutzig, identified and propped artists who are counted amongst the best in the country such as Belka Tobis, Longue Longue and Claudia Dikoso etc.

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