Ugandan Afro-soul and jazz songstress Sandra Nankoma is the Best Female Artiste in African Inspirational Music.
Her song Kaddugala earned her the title at the 2018 All Africa Music Awards (Afrima) competition held in Accra, Ghana recently.
Kaddugala is off Nankoma's 2018 debut album Ye'nze, which means "It's me" in Luganda and Lugwere.
It is an anthem for dark-skinned girls, urging them to embrace their melanin, and reject skin bleaching.
The song was inspired by Nankoma's own experience while growing up. She was constantly teased for her dark skin tone.
"The stigma that surrounds people with a dark skin complexion and the fact that I have been a victim inspired the song. It is about the struggle for acceptance; the yearning to end the stigma and bleaching for victims; the need to share a story of victory with every dark girl out there and let them know that there's nothing wrong with their skin, rather, there's everything wrong with whoever does not love who they are and decides to take it out on them," she told The EastAfrican.
She added: "If I survived the harsh comments and bullying so can every dark girl; you can be beautiful in your natural skin tone without bowing to the pressure of changing it. I am dark, proud and beautiful."
In her acceptance speech, Nankoma thanked her mother for experiences of constant love and support. She also talked about her bullying.
"It's been a long journey over my skin tone. I have been bullied; I have been called names. I didn't want to go to school because of my skin colour; the other children used to make fun of me. Until I finally took up the fight for all the dark skinned girls out there. You are beautiful. There's nothing wrong with your skin tone."
Nankoma added: "This award shows that music is powerful and can cross borders and above all, it speaks a language humankind understands, it's an affirmation that the world surely appreciates what I do and I will continue to give my best while not forgetting my roots."
Ye'nze has 10 tracks including Mwisuka, It's Alright, Come Over, Kabiri Kaalili and Mercedes -- all written by Nankoma.
The singer who is also a poet and visual artist plans to release videos for Ye'nze in January, make more music and hold more tours before launching her next album.
"I am working on my next album but for now I'll do more videos promoting my latest album," said Nankoma.
Afrima is a combined effort by music professionals across Africa to celebrate and preserve the continent's rich musical heritage.
It also offers unrecorded artistes, a platform to showcase their talent to the world. The fifth edition of the Afrima competition was held in Accra on November 25.