Durban — With the MTN8 final done and dusted, the eThekwini Municipality is looking forward to hosting the 29th South African Music Awards (SAMAs) in November.
The SAMAs return to KwaZulu-Natal after eight years following a partnership between the event organisers and the KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea). As a result, the awards will be held in the province for the next three years.
In a statement, the municipality said that soon after successfully hosting the MTN8 final between Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns over the weekend, Durban was announced as the city of choice to host the SAMAs.
The awards will be held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre on November 17 and 18, 2023.
eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said he looked forward to the thousands of visitors expected to descend on the city for the awards.
Kaunda said that hosting the event will instil confidence in the City’s readiness to host visitors over the summer season.
“It is a great platform to market destination Durban to the millions of viewers and music lovers who will be attending the SAMAs ahead of the festive season,” Kaunda said.
He said eThekwini was known for its capability to host major events which help to boost the local tourism sector and related value chains.
“Such events are an opportunity for us to showcase the beauty and adventure that the City has to offer. It is also an opportunity to grow the local economy. We expect 123 job opportunities to be created from hosting the SAMAs, which is also an opportunity for local small businesses to thrive,” Kaunda said.
He said the City anticipated a direct spend of R25 816 236 with the injection to the City’s gross domestic product estimated to be R63 million.
Kaunda added that eThekwini boasted world-class facilities and was always ready to host events, whether big or small.
“We offer five-star accommodation as well as an array of experiences that visitors can enjoy including adventure, culture, heritage, culinary, the beach and shopping. The list is endless of activities to enjoy in the City which is why we can proudly say #DurbanHasMore,” Kaunda said.
eThekwini spokesperson Gugu Sisilana said that based on historical information, the City projected about 7 200 visitors for the event. This number includes the participants and special visitors.
“Besides the event showcasing our prowess to host major events, it also serves to bring confidence about the City's readiness to host visitors. It’s a great platform to market destination Durban to the millions of viewers and attendees,” Sisilana said.
She said that Durban was always ready and capable of hosting major events. In the 2022 World Travel Awards, Durban came out tops in the Events and Festivals category for the second year in a row, and was elected for the sixth year in a row as Africa's ‘Leading Meetings and Conference Destination’, showing why Durban continued to attract big events that contribute to the local tourism industry.
Speaking on what Durban has to offer the many visitors expected to descend on the city for the event, Sisilana said: “A visitor can easily take a Segway tour and explore our promenade in 2 hours, visit uShaka Marine World for an entire day or visit the Valley of Thousand Hills to immerse themselves in nature and culture, shark cage dive in Sapphire coast, visit any of our tourism precincts such as Florida (Road), Chartwell Drive in uMhlanga, the list is endless and that is why we say #DurbanHasMore.”
Speaking during the official announcement of the three-year partnership between the SAMAs and the KZN government, Edtea MEC Siboniso Duma said: “We want to increase the number of artists in the creative industry in the database of service providers of the government. There should be no middleman between the government and our artists. We are also saying, all spheres of government must use their procurement system to sustain the creative industry.”
“We flatter ourselves to believe that this is because KZN and the eThekwini Municipality in particular, have in the past proved to be worthy and competent hosts of a number of national, continental and international events of diverse interests,” Duma said.
He said he was overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response and interest (in the province) displayed by the creative industry at the Soweto Theatre. He also expressed optimism about the future growth of the tourism industry and other sectors of the provincial economy.
“We are looking forward to hosting thousands of music lovers and tourists who will visit our province ahead of the SAMA Awards and during the event itself,” Duma said.
He also voiced concern about the creative industry, saying: “As the ANC government we remain concerned about the plight of artists representing different music genres and those in the film industry. The outbreak of Covid-19 affected many artists because of lockdown regulations which restricted live performances.”
“We commit to work with industry role-players and the creative industry to rebuild the entertainment industry.”
Duma offered to work with industry role-players such as the KwaZulu-Natal United Music Industry Association, the Cultural and Creative Industry Federation of South Africa and the South African Music Industry Council.
“The reality is that many of our artists are still relying on the traditional ways of making money. These include bookings for live performances, recording contracts, licensing, marketing and distribution of their work in the country and worldwide,” Duma said.
He promised to ensure that the leadership of the Recording Industry of South Africa (RISA) and the ANC-led provincial government worked together to spearhead concrete interventions for the benefit of artists, and to reposition KZN as the country’s cradle of creativity.
“Through SAMA Awards, we want event organisers and coordinators to have the opportunity to stage side events and activations in shisanyamas, taverns and other entertainment spots in the townships and rural areas,” Duma said.
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