The Ndlovu Youth Choir from Limpopo set the tone for the first night of the 26th annual South African Music Awards (Samas) with an explosive celebration of Africa.
The internationally-acclaimed ensemble presented a swashbuckling performance fit for the country’s most prestigious music award ceremony.
The virtual show was hosted by actress Dineo Langa and comedian Donovan Goliath over five nights, and was produced under strict lockdown rules and social distancing norms.
The theme for this year is #ForThaKultcha and tonight was the first subtheme #ForThaRoots, which celebrates traditional music and awards artists who embody what it means to be proudly South African.
Ndabo Zulu and Umgidi Ensemble emerged with top honours as they walked away with two awards for Newcomer of the Year and Best Jazz Album for Queen Nandi: The African Symphony.
Gospel star Dumi Mkokstad claimed his first Sama after 20 years in the industry when he was declared the winner of the Best Traditional Faith Music Album for Calvary.
The legendary group Amadodana Ase Wesile scooped the Best African Indigenous Faith Album for Lona Ba Ratang Ho Phela, while acoustic duo Qadasi and Maqhinga clinched the Best Traditional Music Album for Ungabanaki.
K.O and Nandi Madida’s duet Say U Will earned the Best Collaboration Award and Thokozani Langa shone the brightest in the Best Maskandi Album category for Upopayi.
The Beste Kontemporêre Musiek Album was taken by Riana Nel for Sterker. Nigerian superstar Davido won the Rest of Africa Award for his album A Good Time.
In keeping with the #ForThaRoots theme, Goliath and Langa scored fashion points in stunning MaXhosa ensembles.
Comedian Skhumba Hlophe and radio personality DJ Ankletap kept audiences entertained with their running commentary. Radio personality Thuso Motaung and singer-songwriter Arno Carstens also joined in as presenters from their living rooms.
The star-studded lineup of performers included Amanda Black who sang a tender rendition of Ndizele Wena. Rapper Big Zulu also delivered a stirring performance of Vuma Dlozi alongside Mnqobi Yazo.
Nhlanhla Sibisi, CEO of the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA), stated that despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, he is pleased with how the ceremony turned out.
‘This has been both a challenging and exciting time. On the one hand, we had to get the show on the road after the disruption of Covid-19. On the other, the new conditions of lockdown and social distancing provided an opportunity for our creatives to think outside the box and try new things.
“I’m proud of what we saw this evening and applaud the production team and all hands that contributed to the success. I also wish to extend my congratulations to all the winners from tonight. I look forward to the next four nights as we honour the best our country has to offer,” he said.
See the full list of #ForThaRoots winners below:
Best Maskandi Album: Thokozani Langa – Upopayi
Best Traditional Music Album: Qadasi & Maqhinga – Ungabanaki
Best Collaboration: K.O featuring Nandi Madida – Say U Will
Best Traditional Faith Music Album: Dumi Mkokstad –Calvary
Newcomer of the Year: Ndabo Zulu and Umgidi Ensemble – Queen Nandi: The African Symphony
Best African Indigenous Faith Album: Amadodana Ase Wesile – Lona Ba Ratang Ho Phela
Best Jazz Album: Ndabo Zulu and Umgidi Ensemble – Queen Nandi: The African Symphony
Beste Kontemporêre Musiek Album: Riana Nel – Sterker
Rest of Africa Award: Davido (Nigeria) – A Good Time