Controversy at Traditional Music awards
The South African Traditional Music Achievement (Satma) awards were filled with drama on Saturday night when founder Dr Dumisani Goba took a few cheap shots at the mainly Xhosa crowd.
It was clear from the start of his speech that, Goba, who hails from KwaZulu-Natal, had an axe to grind with the audience at this year’s ceremony.
He could also not hide his disappointment at the size of the venue, made even more obvious when members of the Eastern Cape Ensemble dance group took to the stage to perform and were seen bumping into one another.
Goba did not hide his contempt in his speech. “Let’s hope the Premier (Noxolo Kiviet) meant it when she said she would triple the size of this venue as I’ve told the people of KwaZulu-Natal that if you (Eastern Cape) couldn’t step up to the plate the Satmas could always return home (KZN),” a stern-faced Goba told the crowd, referring to Kiviet’s bid to host the Satmas for the next consecutive five years.
He won few friends at the start of his speech when he took the audience to task for not showing respect by quietening down as he prepared to talk. “I do not know how you do things in the Eastern Cape but in my culture we show respect,” he said, evoking cries of protest and shouts of “go home then!” from audience members.
Ignoring the shouts Goba said Satmas were a KwaZulu-Natal brainchild, to which audience members cried out: “The Satmas are not yours, you need us all”.
As if the atmosphere in the room was not tense enough already Goba also announced the two most contentious awards of the evening – the best song of the year as well as the best traditional DJ. But before doing so, he called for more police officers to be present during the announcements. “We need more security guards, can we get more I have a feeling we will need them,” he said.
Tensions were high as some members of the crowd started screaming out for the name of Eastern Cape favourite, uMhlobo Wenene traditional music DJ Saba Mbixane. “You better give the award to Saba or else you’ll never leave this hall alive!” someone from the crowd shouted out.
Fortunately the audience was granted its wish and Goba got to live another day as the flamboyant Mbixane beat his biggest rivals in the competition, Ukhozi FM’s Khathide Ngobe and Ngizwe Mchunu.
Though most A-listers who attended the event preferred to remain tight-lipped about the founder’s speech, Social Development MEC Pemmy Majodina, in reference to Goba’s words, said tolerance was something that all South Africans would have to learn.
“There is freedom of speech in our country. Maybe by the event being hosted in the Eastern Cape, the founder thought it was losing its essence because it was started in KZN,” said Majodina.
“However, we cannot be separated by tribal lines. We need to unite because [decades ago] there have even been wars because of tribalism.
“Cultures are diverse, and are not only limited to KZN,” said the MEC, who speaks five Nguni languages.
- Additional reporting by Siya Boya.