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Late kwaito star Mandoza among lifetime honorees announced for 29th SA Music Awards

Mandoza performs in Soweto during a 2005 concert. (File picture: Dumisani Sibeko)

Mandoza performs in Soweto during a 2005 concert. (File picture: Dumisani Sibeko)

Published Nov 14, 2023


The 29th SA Music Awards (SAMA29) have revealed their Lifetime Achievement honorees, recognising musicians who have contributed significantly to the growth, improvement, and progress of the South African music scene for at least 20 years.

This year, the Samas proudly celebrate the lifetime achievements of four remarkable artists, each of whom has left an indelible mark on the South African music landscape.

The 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award recipients include Mandoza (posthumous), Pops Mohamed, Gloria Bosman (posthumous), and Ihhashe Elimhlophe.

These prestigious awards will be presented on November 18 at the SunBet Arena in Time Square, Menlyn, Maine, in partnership with Africa Fest.


Mandoza, born Mduduzi Thembinkosi Edmund Tshabalala in 1978, was a charismatic kwaito star who enthralled audiences with much-loved albums like Nkalakatha, Godoba, Tornado, Champion and Phunyuka Bamphethe.

In the 1990s, he was a co-founder of kwaito group Chiskop. His album Uzoyithola Kanjani, released in 1999, was a turning point in kwaito history. Nkalakatha, Mandoza’s 2000 anthem, is still a perennial crossover smash, as evidenced by South Africa’s victory in the Rugby World Cup.

Mandoza was well-known not only for his music but also for his contributions to the kwaito genre, which addressed social issues and encouraged young people to abstain from drugs and crime. Ever since his premature death in 2015, he has remained an inspiration.

Pops Mohamed

From a young age, Mohamed, a multi-instrumentalist, jazz musician, and producer from Benoni, began a career steeped in music. Known as the “Minister of Music”, he was a skilled player of several other instruments, including the guitar, kora, thumb piano, and African mouth bow.

Pops was a dynamic and creative artist who fused many musical genres, such as pop and soul, with kwela. He is now regarded as a worldwide representative of South African music due to his commitment to maintaining traditional sounds while incorporating contemporary aspects.

Pops Mohamed performing live during his new album called 'Society vibe fast forward' at Bassline. Picture:Itumeleng English

Gloria Bosman

Bosman was a celebrated South African jazz performer, composer and teacher who defied gender conventions.

She was born and bred in Soweto and pursued her passion for music, quickly gaining fame as a performer.

Gloria's performance appearance was characterised by simplicity and a focus on vocal strength, timing, and material command.

Gloria Bosman is performing at the Standerd Bank National Arts Festival.

Ihhashi Elimhlophe

Ihhashi Elimhlophe, the brainchild of Bheki Ngcobo, is a legendary figure in South African maskandi music.

Hailing from a small village in KwaZulu-Natal, Ngcobo ventured to Johannesburg in 1976 in search of opportunities in the music industry.

He began his career as a bass guitarist with the iconic Soul Brothers and soon became the lead singer for their junior group, Imitshotshovu.

Ihhashi Elimhlophe

Nhlanhla Sibisi, CEO of the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA), congratulated the recipients and pointed out that the awards symbolise a celebration of excellence and a tribute to these artists’ remarkable contributions to the local music industry.

“We are thrilled to honour the recipients of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards at the 29th Samas. These awards symbolise a celebration of excellence and a tribute to these artists’ remarkable contributions to our music industry.

“With great excitement and pride, we present these awards to truly deserving recipients, recognising their enduring impact and global recognition,” said Sibisi.

Sibisi said these giants resembled master architects meticulously crafting the blueprint of artistry and song, towering over the industry as beacons of inspiration.