Three new categories for SAMA23

By Drum Digital
01 November 2016

As if by way of reversing the decisions taken five years ago, the South African Music Awards (SAMAs) are adding three categories for SAMA23.

By Mpho Tshikhudo

These are: the Best African Indigenous Gospel album (Clap & Tap/Zion Music), Best Africa Artist album and Best AfroPop album.

Thobela Dlamini, chairperson of SAMAs explains,  “What informed the change is the industry. People expressed the need to see AfroPop back into the fold and we couldn’t say no. The same thing again with the Best African Indigenous Gospel category. There was an outcry from the Scrapyard and Isicathamiya community and we had to answer. We had to give them the platform as well,” he said.

The Best Africa Artist category should have been introduced as early as last year already, this category is for all African artists including South Africans whose music truly represents a distinct Afrocentric sound that reflects the continent’s music heritage.  The album submitted should also prescribe to the release period for entry i.e. 1 December 2015 – 31 January 2017.

In 2011 when Randall Abrahams took over as the CEO of the awards, he reduced the number of categories, citing reasons for the television broadcast. Randall also mentioned that the idea of revising categories would help to ensure that competition is elevated at the awards.

“The idea of revising the categories has been around for a little while,” Randall told DRUM at the time. “It's a necessary exercise in order to provide focus for the two-day awards event and, most importantly, the television broadcast. We invited RiSA members to forums to discuss category revision and there was a level of vigorous debate. We've arrived at a list of awards that covers the broad diversity of music from South Africa and this will provide for an exciting awards weekend.”

Thobela doesn’t feel that the SAMAs are reversing what Randal introduced when he started his term five years ago.

“We can’t say we are reversing what Randall did,” Dlamini clarifies. “It costs us about R250 000 for each category. Categories were cut due to lack of sponsorship.”

The SAMA entries are open to all artists who have released an album between the 1 December 2015 and 31 January 2017.  The album must be commercially available in order to qualify for entry.  Entries open from 1 November 2016 until 31 January 2017.

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