Swazi Dlamini snubs Yvonne Chaka Chaka's awards

Singer Swazi Dlamini has snubbed Yvonne Chaka Chaka's awards just a week before they are staged.

The "Princess of Africa", as Chaka Chaka is affectionately known by her legion of fans, is the brains behind the Backing Vocalists and Session Musicians (BVSM) awards in which Dlamini was nominated.

Chaka Chaka yesterday confirmed to Sowetan that Dlamini had asked to be removed from the gospel category where she was nominated against Nonhlanhla Mdluli and Nokukhanya Dlamini.

The awards, set to take place on March 15 at the Soweto Theatre in Jabulani, Soweto, aim to shine the spotlight on backing vocalists and session musicians who have for a long time been cast aside in other awards shows.

A crop of musicians to be honoured this year are from the period between 1996 and 2000.

"She (Dlamini) sent us an email thanking us for the nomination and said she thought there were too many people deserving of the award," Chaka Chaka said.

She added: "I respect her decision, the spirit of these awards is not competition, but to acknowledge and appreciate backing vocalists and session musicians and their work together with frontline artists.

"We also started an endowment fund for a better future. We will continue to do so."

Singer Mamie Ntshauba will replace Dlamini in her category.

Sowetan has learnt from an insider that Dlamini felt that the awards were "beneath her".

"She meant well (Chaka Chaka). But the girl (Dlamini) was like: 'not me, I'm a bona fide singer and not a backing vocalist'," a source told Sowetan.

Asked to comment on Dlamini allegedly thinking that the awards were "beneath her", Chaka Chaka said: "We have no idea, that's not what she communicated to us."

When approached for comment, Dlamini said: "After much consideration, I really feel like there are plenty more ladies who are full-time backing vocalists who can benefit from the recognition, and I wouldn't want to take it away from them."

She added: "I see these awards as such a great initiative, shining the spotlight on people who work tirelessly in studio to make the music with the frontrunners."

The awards that take place every two years first launched in 2015 and had a second showing in 2017.

The awards failed to take place last year because Chaka Chaka was unable to secure a sponsor.

The judging panel that picked this year's nominees included music industry experts and media personalities Faith Kekana, Bonga Percy Vilakazi, Sean Brokensha, Zamo Mbutho and Dharam Sewraj.

The winners this year will receive R5,000 cash.

An additional R20,000 will be deposited in an endowment policy that the winner can only cash-in in no less than five years.

This is done in an effort to make sure that musicians don't die penniless.

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