The first “Willi Resetarits Prize” goes to singer Vusa Mkhaya

The award in memory of the musician and human rights activist who died on April 24, 2022 is endowed with 10,000 euros and was awarded for the first time. The prize is aimed at “music personalities or bands with social commitment”.

  • Last joint appearance by Ostbahn-Kurti and Vusa Mkhaya:

Mkhaya had a long-standing friendship with the musician, also known as “Ostbahn-Kurti”, who died in an accident at the age of 73. The last joint appearance of the two artists at the 28th Vienna Refugee Ball 2022 was also Willi Resetarits’ last, “before he left us so tragically the next day,” said a broadcast from the Project Integrationshaus association on Sunday. “I didn’t know that this would be his last performance. I could never have imagined winning the first Willi Resetarits Prize on the same stage,” Mkhaya is quoted as saying. “I am very pleased that when awarding the prize for the first time, the jury chose Vusa Mkhaya, an artist who embodies exactly this power of cohesion and was also closely connected to ‘our’ Willi,” said the Viennese City Councilor for Culture Veronica Kaup-Hasler (SPÖ).

From the archive (April 25, 2022): The “Kurtl” has started its final journey

Mkhaya is from Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. He came to Austria in the mid-1990s with the a capella trio “Insingizi”, which was founded in Zimbabwe, and studied at the Music Conservatory in Graz. “As part of the group ‘MoZuluArt’, together with Roland Guggenbichler, he brings together traditional Zulu sounds with classical music,” is what it says about the neo-award winner, who describes himself as a “cultural activist” and for his contributions to the dissemination of music and culture from his home country was awarded the “Zimbabwe Archivers Award” in 2019. Mkhaya has worked with artists such as Erika Pluhar, Brunner & Brunner, Hans Theessink, Schiffkowitz (STS), the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Ludwig Hirsch and the Vienna Tschuschenkapelle, among others.

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