Edward Maahlamela and Victor Hlungwani
Polokwane-based Munghana Lonene FM has used its yearly Khindlimukani Xitsonga Music Awards, held in Giyani at the weekend, to encourage artists to know their HIV status.
The awards, which started in 2002, are aimed at promoting the heritage and culture of the Vatsonga through music.
Munghana Lonene FM station manager Mandla Soko said: "We need to take the disease seriously and make sure we protect ourselves.
"Aids is cruel and dangerous.
"We all need to know our status early so that we can control it during the early stages."
Soko said his station, together with Thobela FM, will engage in a 60km walk to generate funds for charity organisations next week.
"We appeal to the public to help by donating clothes and food parcels," said Soko.
People's Poet Mzwakhe Mbuli, who attended the event, was honoured for leading Operation Dudula, a campaign that is aimed at combating music piracy.
"The station is doing a wonderful job for Xitsonga artists by giving them a platform to expose their talent and at the same time restore their culture and tradition.
"Our fellow musicians are faced on a daily basis with poverty created by the increasing music piracy in the country," said Mbuli.
He said insurance companies must consider introducing schemes that can help cover artists.
Sello "Chicco" Twala was also honoured for his role in promoting Xitsonga language music.
DJ Khwaya of Tshetsha fame pocketed R20000 for both the song of the year and best Xitsonga song awards.
Runners-up Jeff Maluleke, Jambatani, Elias Baloyi, Julius Nkuna and Vhuyelwa received R10000 each.
Xitsonga disco king Penny Penny won R20000 for the categorie best artist and best Xitsonga disco music.
Zozo won the award for best group.