Zanele LaMbokazi-Nkambule.

Long gone are the shiny suits and badly designed evening gowns at the Crown Gospel Music Awards, which took place for the 12th time this past Sunday in Durban. 

The awards, which celebrate the best in the industry, were previously synonymous with bad fashion. That’s no longer the case.

There’s now a concerted effort by the genre’s biggest stars to look like their best versions and that was evident at this year’s awards.

The one thing about the Crowns, is how everyone can walk the red carpet. Members of the public are allowed to purchase VIP tickets, which gives them the superstar treatment of walking the red carpet, sometimes arriving at the same time as a major star and getting your picture taken with them in the background. 

It’s always tricky trying to find out who is famous and who is not. Hence today we will focus on the real stars.

ZANELE LAMBOKAZI NKAMBULE

Zanele has never met a princess dress that she doesn’t love. And she also loves jewel colours and therefore this frothy emerald confection of a dress, was on brand. It wasn’t perfect. There was too much material and seeing the girdle so prominently through the dress, was not a good look. The neckline though, is amazing.

PEAL MODIADIE

The co-host wore a Neviole dress, one from their recent collection. The brand is the latest red carpet favourite of the starlets and Pearl looked like a star in her column dress with an architectural bodice.

BABO NGCOBO

Brocade was a favourite of many of the gents at the Crowns this year and Babo was one of those who got it right.

KHAYA MTHETHWA

The co-host had fun on the red carpet, and it helped that the Prince Bespokes blazer he wore allowed him to show that funky, but classy side to him.

DUMI AND ZIPHO MKOKSTAD

Possibly the best dressed couple. The couple, who were making their red carpet debut, looked like classic Hollywood stars. Dumi was one of the few who went with a simple tuxedo and cummerbund, while Zipho played around with embroidery, beading and feathers.

MacDonald Ndou

MacDonald loves his bright colours and no one was surprised that he wore a canary yellow blazer. 

PULENG MARCH

She looked edgy and very event appropriate in the ruffled number. 

SONIA MBELE

So the actress and producer made everyone laugh, thanks to her antics on stage. Sadly, the dress was nothing to write home about. It was dated and the hair didn’t help, too.

NORMA GIGABA

She stunned in this black gown by Sandile Xaba. Not that anyone was surprised. She’s an avid fashionista and always loves looking good. This was firmly in her wheelhouse.

ZANDI KHUMALO

She walked the red carpet twice and that’s clever because you get to take the early pictures with an empty carpet, have your pick of who interviews you, before coming back do things again and this time you make time for the fans, which she did. The dress? Very dated. I will give her props for being able to take direction and give us different angles of the dress. I’m sure the designer, Treasure Cindi, will be happy about that.

NELISIWE SIBIYA


The songstress literally shut down the red carpet when she arrived. She had an entourage of four people helping her with her garment. It’s dramatic and where better to announce yourself than at the Crowns? I’m certain a couple of people were not impressed that she took up so much attention, that other stars were ignored.

THE SUIT THAT ROCKED THE CROWNS

It seems like all the guys decided to find this suit and wear it. Where is it from? This went from faux pas, to funny after I spotted the sixth person wearing it.