WELL-KNOWN composer Dr Sam Shabalala is the recipient of the Professor Khabi Mngoma Award.
The KwaZulu-Natal-based Shabalala made history by being the first black person to translate Frederic Handel's Messiah into isiZulu in 1993.
Shabalala grew up in Estcourt in KwaZulu-Natal and did his junior certificate at the Ladysmith Secondary school.
He completed his teaching diploma at the Evangelical Teachers' Training College.
This was followed by Bible studies at various institutions.
He also moved to Holland to study at the Free University in Amsterdam in pursuit of a degree in Bible studies.
Other works of his include translating sacred songs like the Navidad nuestra and Anton Vivaldi's Gloria into isiZulu.
The award was introduced in 2000 and named after the late Mngoma, founder of the once famous Ionian Choir.
Mngoma is the father of famous songbird Sibongile Khumalo.
The award was introduced to recognise individuals who have contributed significantly to choral music.
The selection was made by the management committee after considering all possible recipients.