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Twenty years of democracy and 20 years of the South African Music Awards, yet they were so boring that they looked like a rehearsal. It began with lots of promise. Uhuru’s Y Tjukuja and iFani opened, and with a bit of stumbling from Vusa Nova the show started. The problem was that there was no presenter to hold it together.
In the past, people like Trevor Noah, Kabelo, Unathi and David Kau personalised the show with their strong characters. This year there was an over-eager voice-over artist who had about as much understanding of the music industry as Pearl Thusi.
The over-exposed sensation was in attendance, but no one cared. What they did care about was Mafikizolo. The comeback duo won eight awards. It was also the first time that their record company director, Oskido, won a Sama. He won for Best Remix for his song Tsa Ma Ndebele.
The irreverent kwaito artist, revolutionary and hardcore punkster was delighted. He was the only director of Kalawa who bothered to attend the actual ceremony. Spikiri, Mjokes, Bruce Dope and Mahoota stayed in their hotel rooms and only came out at the end of the night for the real party. The independent record company is celebrating 20 years and is proud to be associated with South African democracy.
At least they offered some release from the severe boredom of the show. As did Kabelo and his kilt. Really? A kwaito artist in a kilt? Speaking of which, the red carpet arrivals were also particularly boring. Bonang made the fatal mistake of gliding up and down the red carpet in a hideous pinkish thing that looked like a bad version of a matric ballgown.
Mafikizolo’s Nhlanhla looked gorgeous in all three of her outfits. She dutifully sat with her husband, TK Nciza, in between receiving her eight awards. TK was particularly happy when his artist, Zahara, won Best Female.
Oddly enough, Kabomo won Best Male and predictably Rebecca won in the gospel category. But you know a music award ceremony is boring when the best rock ’n’ roll moment features Rebecca and Judith Sephuma.
A sweet moment was when Ladysmith Black Mambaso and Phuzekhemisi won the Lifetime Achievement Award. Amstel Lager threw a mid-afternoon after-party for them and the media. Unfortunately Joseph Shabalala was not present but that did not stop the rest of the group members putting on a good show.
Then it was on to the main ceremony and those awful red carpet arrivals. Perhaps, if the Kalawa boys had attended the event, even just the red carpet, it would have been a bit more rock ’n’ roll.
But we had to deal with the likes of irrelevant people like Boity and her self-inflated ego instead. Why is it that South African media attach more importance to television presenters than they do to people with real talent?
Then, to add boring insult to boring injury, there was the actual show. The show had no identity, took itself too seriously and forgot about why we love music – to have fun.
In sheer boredom I left the Superbowl to seek out a sniff of rock ’n’ roll and discovered my darling kwaito boys hanging out at Sun City’s Cascades. Guffy Pilane tried to play the grand piano in the foyer but not even that was allowed.
Spikiri was the final Kalawa boy to rock up at the bar and the party was on.
Amstel Lager threw a pretty good after-party and finally gave us some form of fun. What was missing? What made the 20th Samas so soulless?
Is it because Randall Abrahams believes that he is the god of South African music? “Hi, my name is Randall Abrahams and I work for a bland.” Or is it because we have forgotten how to have fun? Or is it because security guards at the Amstel Lager after-party did not want to let Spikiri, Oskido, Guffy and Mahoota in to the event?
Whatever the reason, the event was not a reflection of South African music culture and how far we have come since 1994.
However, congratulations to Mafikizolo, Nakhane Toure, Oskido, Van Coke Kartel and the other winners of Sama 2014.