ZCC gospel artists demand own Sama category

Cyril Ramaphosa joins musician Simon Makgatholela in a performance. /ANTONIO MUCHAVE
Cyril Ramaphosa joins musician Simon Makgatholela in a performance. /ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Disgruntled Zion Christian Church (ZCC) gospel artists demand that the South African Music Awards (Samas) create a category that specifically caters for their genre that they feel has long been discriminated against.

Representatives of the group Moeti Seruteng and Sipho Kekana met with Recording Industry of SA CEO Nhlanhla Sibisi on Monday to air grievances over the perceived snub by the Samas.

Top of the list on the memorandum that Sowetan has seen is the proposal for a new category - best ZCC contemporary music album.

The category will give recognition to instrumental versions of the ZCC gospel music genre that was introduced by Oleseng Shuping in recent years.

While the group applauded the Samas for making place for ZCC acappella music in the existing best indigenous faith music album category, they argue it's not enough.

"African indigenous music is broad. Even its faith segment is broad. It's broader than Zion music groups, four of which made it in as nominees into your category of five," the memorandum reads.

"It is broader than the Zulu language in a country with 11 official languages. All five nominees are Zulu albums.

"It is very disappointing, to say the least, that such a very important body as RiSA/SA Music Awards would be making such a very dire mistake of implying Zion music is the only African indigenous faith music.

Furthermore, they demand that the Samas have a judge with an ear for the ZCC genre.

"They admitted that they do not have a judge to listen to our genre of music, which they have admitted is very key in who gets nominated and eventually wins any category," Kekana told Sowetan.

The group of ZCC stars that includes Simon Makgatholela, Kenny Makweng and Ronee Sathekge strongly reiterate that until an amendment to cater for them is made they will still hold the Samas discriminatory.

"It became evident in the meeting when Adv Sibisi said there couldn't have been discrimination because Oleseng won many awards," Kekana said. "This was misinformation and we pointed out to him he had not won a single award.

"He was nominated for his album Kea Cha Kea Tuka in 2005, in a rare occurrence, and that was it.

"The fact that he believed Oleseng had won many awards points to the fact that there's very little understanding of this genre and that their discrimination may be more structural than personal, but discrimination it remains."

Sibisi said: "[The] meeting with ZCC members went well, they discovered that there was only one entry from ZCC for Sama25.

"They have agreed to go and recruit more members to enter for Sama26. That memorandum was irrelevant, because there was only [one] entry."

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