THE 23rd EDITION of the South African Music Awards made a glitzy return to their official Bokone Bophirima home of the Sun City Superbowl, with the duo of Kwesta and Amanda Black scooping four gongs apiece.
Returning after a revamp of the world-renown venue, which has hosted 14 of 22 previous ceremonies – the RiSA organized musical extravaganza was co-hosted by comedian Tumi Morake and choreographer, Somizi “Somgaga” Mhlongo as the star-studded gathering also saw legends, Babsy Mlangeni, Rebecca Malope and Don ‘Mahwetsa’ Laka being recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Normally, people have a tendency of undermining disabled people”, declared 74 year old yesteryear crooner, Mlangeni in a media one-on-one interview backstage.
Accompanied by his kid brother, he added, “Music has been everything that I have – it’s been music, music, music all the way!”
Remarked RiSA CEO Nhlanhla Sibisi: “We as the SAMA organizers value these honours highly. We believe that our veterans who served the industry with unmatched dedication and gave us timeless music should never be forgotten by history.”
Another of the various categories saw the late gospel singer, S’fiso Ncwane post-humorously garnering the Best Selling Digital Artist for his album, Ngipholise Nkosi.
The ceremony saw celebs such as hit US series Quantico’s star Pearl Thusi, descend in sleek sedans, dressed to the nines, awash with seductive perfumery as they populated the red carpet area for exposure to paparazzi flashes, microphone sound bites and being gawked at by onlookers.
In an impressive run, Amanda picked up most of the top 5 awards including Best Newcomer of the Year, Best Female Artist of the Year and Best Album of the Year.
Adding to her silverware is the Best R&B/Soul/Reggae Album award that she won last night, making her a four time SAMA winner on her debut album.
Cementing his place as a force to be reckoned with in hip-hop, Kwesta was awarded with three gongs in Best Male Artist of the Year, Best Rap Album and Highest Airplay.
Friday night had already took home Best Collaboration for his hit ‘Ngud’ bringing his tally to four.
Dance pair Black Motion won the Best Duo/Group of the Year and Best Dance Album. The high kicking Dr Malinga snapped the Best Kwaito Album award while crooner Vusi Nova secured the Best Afro Pop Album trophy.
In the traditional front Khuzani with his album Inyoni Yomthakathi won Best Maskandi Album. And in the gospel stakes Spirit of Praise won Best Traditional Faith Music Album while the African Indigenous Gospel Album went to Living in Christ Legends.
International soprano Pretty Yende received the International Recognition Award for her work in opera around the world.
The SAMA 23 stage exploded with performances that featured collaborations between rock star Kurt Darren and hip-hop royalty Khuli Chana, Stogie T (featuring Yanga and Emtee) plus Kwesta (featuring TLT).
Mabala Noise’s Nasty C walked away with Record of the Year award.
The Afro Pop segment produced magic as vocal powerhouses Kelly Khumalo, Jaziel Brothers, Robbie Malinga and Musa banded together for a distinctly African flavour.
Amadodana ase Wesile gave a pleasant surprise as they teamed up with exciting new talents Soul Kulture and Thee Legacy as well as rock veteran Arno Carstens for harmonies and melodies we won’t forget in a hurry.
Bongani Radebe, the new and skillful sax genius accompanied the moving In Memoriam tribute.
Gospel stars Lebo Sekgobela, Dr Tumi, Neyi Zimu and Jerusalema e Ncha delivered a powerful and spirited gospel medley.
The urban maskandi, Afro pop and hip hop acts Mma Ausi, Thokozani Langa, Sjava and Ms Pru (featuring Mtee, Amanda/LaSauce) delivered a mesh up of sounds, beats and influences.
The night’s performances were closed with a spectacular collaboration by dance stars Naakmusiq, DBN Finest (DJ Tira & Sox Feat. Professor), Babes Wodumo (featuring Mampintsha, Cassper and Dancers) and OkMalumKoolKat who got together for a pulsating and energetic finale.
Close to midnight, amidst the Pilanesberg resort’s seemingly ever-green vegetation, the throng dispersed to the various after-party points to continue with the razzmatazz onto the early hours of the weekend!