A DRAMATIC start to the year are a common affair in South Africa owing to the never-ending squabbles over the “Song of the Year”.
This year was no different as everyone tuned in to Ukhozi FM, one of the largest radio stations in the country, to see which artist would take home the coveted title of Song of the Year 2023.
Leading the pack with 993 667 votes against other much-loved songs, ‘Umjolo Lowo’ by Khuzani ft Luve won.
The announcement received a clamour as people voiced their disapproval of the song that won the most votes.
In a video that has been shared widely on social media, Maskandi artist Khuzani can be seen being booed on stage by scores of fans after the #SongOfTheYear2023 announcement by Ukhozi FM.
While thousands of comments continue to pour in, well-known radio host Sol Phenduka spoke about the voting culture in South Africa.
“Ukhozi just proves every year that our voting culture in South Africa is poor. We like something but don’t vote for it to win. We don’t like something but still don’t put in the effort of voting it out,” Phenduka said on X.
A podcaster known as Penuel added his views, denouncing the radio station with claims that the station does not respect listeners.
“UkhoziFMNYE2023 does not respect its listenership. They have been failing Umphakathi for a couple of years now. All over the media platforms, people wanted ‘iPlan’ or ‘iParis’ to win. To bring an unexpected song like ‘uMjolo Lowo’ is upsetting for people trying to enjoy themselves.”
Ivy Sambo said: “We need to be honest about the system that Ukhozi FM uses and how it has been manipulated over the years. We can’t keep saying it. If you did not vote, you can’t complain! This system is broken.
"Secondly, we need to look at the negative impact this has on the artists themselves. Look at DJ Hlo. Every time she posts something, she is reminded of how she stole the 2021 Song of the Year position. She can’t even push her new songs because people still remember her for that.”
The SABC recently set the record straight regarding the Song of the Year.
“The SABC would like to reiterate its commitment in assuring the public and relevant stakeholders that the Song of the Year campaigns on all the participating radio stations are subject to stringent criteria-setting processes, and sound measures have been put in place for the counting of the votes and announcement of the winners.”
The station boasts more than 7 million listeners, and has been at the forefront of media platforms that are recognised for making significant announcements.