Zakes Bantwini reflects on #SAMAs28: 'I receive these awards with a heavy heart'

Zakes Bantwini. Picture: Timothy Bernard.

Zakes Bantwini. Picture: Timothy Bernard.

Published Aug 31, 2022


Award-winning musician and music producer Zakes Bantwini may have had a successful night at the South African Music Awards (SAMAs) but it seems he’s not too pleased with awards.

In a lengthy statement posted on his official Facebook page, the two time Sama winner laid out his grievances with the awards.

Bantwini’s sentiments come after DJ Maphorisa, Makhadzi and Lady Du have gone public with their dissatisfaction with this year's instalment of the awards.

In his post, the music producer began by acknowledging the position the SAMAs hold in terms of prestigious music awards in the country and went on to reflect on how the standards for Sama have dropped.

“Regrettably the SAMAS have broken our trust, they have devalued the honour and prestige, which the awards once stood for, there is no integrity in the way at which the show is being produced, the planning, the awarding of artists & in extending the basic courtesy of RESPECT TO THE ARTIST!!!,” he lambasted the awards.

After 15 years of being in the music industry and receiving 28 nominations, Bantwini finally got the recognition he deserved from the awards by winning – Highest Radio Airplay Composers Award and Best Collaboration for the hit single“Osama” featuring Kasango.

While this meant to be a moment of celebration, the moment has been dampened by several hindrances encountered with awards from low attendance of nominated artist and corruption on the judging process.

“Regrettably this year happens to be the lowest point of these awards and I receive these awards with a heavy heart, the lack of attendance by artists nominated is just one signs of what THE ARTISTS THINK OF SAMAS organisers and stakeholders!

“This is a result of years of the judging processes being unjust, corruption and myopic thinking and a lack of vision," he wrote.

Bantwini was compelled to say something as the awards have stooped to another level and he accused organisers of turning the awards “a promotional show and a money making exercise”.

“Let’s all agree that Sama judges have failed us both as artists and as music fans.

“It’s time we build our industry again,” he wrote.

He ended his post with a request to radio station Ukhozi FM to also do better when it came to the crossover song, which is announced at the stroke of midnight on New Years.

The crossover song is determined by public votes but always causes controversy when the winner is announced.

The Sama record of the year winner Musa Keys for “Vula Mlomo”, featuring Nobantu Vilikazi and Sir Trillm has caused quite the stir with amapiano vocalist Lady Du throwing claims of nepotism, alleging Musa Keys’ manager Nhlanhla Nivo Ndimande influenced one of the biggest categories.

Risa communications manager and SAMAs spokesperson Lesley Mofokeng told IOL Entertainment that Nivo declared his relationship with Musa Keys from the onset of their working relationship and this is something that organisers acknowledged, accepted and approved.

“The results are announced at the end of the show when the ‘record of the year’ is announced and that’s the process that happened here.”

“I fail to understand how Nivo could influence that process,” he said.