Three new categories launched at SA premier music awards

Gqom, Amapiano get Sama recognition

11 January 2021 - 07:38
By emmanuel tjiya AND Emmanuel Tjiya
Tira scooped the kwaito/qgom/amapiano gong last year.
Image: Gallo Images / Oupa Bopape Tira scooped the kwaito/qgom/amapiano gong last year.

Kwaito, Amapiano and Gqom will for the first time compete as standalone categories at the South African Music Awards (Samas) after years of being consolidated.

Sowetan has confirmed that three new categories will be introduced for the 27th annual installment of SA’s longest-running and prestigious music awards.

Last year musicians in these genres competed under the umbrella Best Kwaito Album category, with DJ Tira’s Ikhenani winning the category.

The year before the combined category was Best Kwaito/Gqom/Amapiano and Spikiri scooped it.

“In our extensive consultations with the industry as we planned for SAMA27, it became abundantly clear that the general feeling was to separate these categories,” said Samas spokesperson Lesley Mofokeng yesterday.

“It also helped that the number of entries has been consistently sufficient over the years to warrant them as standalone categories.

“This is testament to the popularity of these genres and the growth of our local music industry. We are delighted to witness this step in the right direction and believe that these categories will be hotly contested.”

After being backed into a corner by the Covid-19 pandemic last year, the Samas staged a polarising five-day virtual extravagance. Organisers are targeting a “hybrid” ceremony this year.

“Being in the middle of a global pandemic and with so much uncertainty, it is our wish to have some semblance of normalcy,” Mofokeng said.

“It has become apparent that our options are limited to a hybrid event, meaning that a small number of guests will attend in person, adhering to strict Covid-19 protocols, and we will stream and broadcast the show like we did with SAMA26. The venue is yet to be confirmed.”

The awards were put under the microscope last year for their alleged lack of inclusivity, diversity, progressivity and transparency. Mofokeng assured that measures would be put in place to avoid such concerns.

“The SAMA remains committed to the agenda of inclusivity and diversity. In our consultations with the industry we were encouraged by the number of new voices that contributed,” Mofokeng said.

“The process was rigorous and thorough and the results will be seen in our renewed energy as we move towards SAMA27, even in the face of challenges in our path due to the Covid-19 pandemic and other social ills.

“The SAMA has always been transparent about its processes and systems and this will continue unchanged. After 27 years in existence the SAMA remains relevant and sought-after because we respond to our ever changing environment and that's a mark of a progressive operation.”

Entries for submissions for the Samas are currently open for the eligibility period between February 1 2020 and January 31 2021. Entries close on January 31.

“We call on all creatives to submit their amazing works for the consideration of our panel of judges,” said RiSA CEO Nhlanhla Sibisi.

“We also look forward to SAMA27 after the challenges of SAMA26 which was delivered amidst a global pandemic and we remain dedicated and committed to the cause of making SA music recognised for its excellence.”