Pearl Thusi, Robert Marawa and DJ Tira lead the pack of nominees in the newly unveiled KwaZulu-Natal Entertainment Awards (KZNEA). The trio scooped three nominations each when the list was revealed in Durban on Thursday afternoon.
Thusi is up for Female Actress, Female TV Presenter and KZN’s Most Loved awards; while Marawa received nods for Radio Presenter Male, Male TV Presenter and KZN’s Most Loved awards; and DJ Tira walked away with nominations in Best Music Promoter, KZN’s Most Loved and Special Achievement Award.
In it inaugural year, the awards aim to “honour outstanding achievements and contributions in entertainment by personalities and acts that were born and raised in KZN or have close ties with the province”.
The winners will be announced on 15 December 2020 at an event in Durban. Each category winner pockets R100,000 cash and the overall KZN’s Most Loved star walks away with a cool R500,000.
There are 23 awards to be won overall.
The Male Actor category sees Bheki Mkhwane taking on fellow cast member Siyabonga Thwala, Simphiwe Majozi, SK Khoza, Siyabonga Shibe, Thembinkosi Brian Mthembu, Sandile Dlamini and Ntobeko Sishi.
The Actress category pits Thusi against Thuso Mbedu, Nomzamo Mbatha, Leleti Khumalo, Dawn Thandeka King, Ayanda Borotho, Thembi Mtshali-Jones and Gugu Gumede.
The spotlight is also on new talent in the category of Newest Find and the nominees are Qwabe Twins, Blaq Diamond, TNS, Ntobeko Sishi, Sbahle, Mthunzi, Mnqobi Yazo and Sithelo the DJ.
The KZN’s Most Loved Cousin category tips the hat to entertainers who have impacted the province even though they are not from KZN. The nominees are AKA, Cassper Nyovest, Bonang Matheba, Boity, Kwesta, DJ Maphorisa, Jub Jub and Itumeleng Khune.
Special Achievement Award recipients are DJ Tira, Black Coffee, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Mbongeni Ngema.
There’s also an Event of the Year category to reward this competitive space. The nominees are Fact Durban Rocks, INK Kasi Xperience, Durban JAZZ Festival, Impucuzeko Maskandi Festival, Last Dance Music Festival, Rage Festival, Splashy Fen, Dubane Spring Break, Gagasi FM Beach Fest and The Ivyson Tour.
In KZN’s Most Loved, the category that carries a R500,000 prize money, the awards honour the darlings of the province and in the race are Thusi, Marawa, DJ Tira, Black Coffee, Riky Rick, Sjava, Khuzani, Nomzamo Mbatha, Minnie Dlamini-Jones, Nasty C and Somizi.
Xolani Majozi, the chairman of the awards, has congratulated the nominees: “KZN this one is for you by you. We are a province rich with talent and it’s about time we bragged about it. This is to inspire every young aspiring artist and creative out there and to assure them that they are on the right path. Come December 15, South Africa is going to come to a standstill.”