The 2021 SAMAs will recognise Gqom and Amapiano as separate categories

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Gqom and House music sensation, Busiswa Gqulu during the 10th annual Feather Awards at the Johannesburg City Hall. (Photo by Frennie Shivambu/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Gqom and House music sensation, Busiswa Gqulu during the 10th annual Feather Awards at the Johannesburg City Hall. (Photo by Frennie Shivambu/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
  • In previous years artists belonging to these genres have had to compete in the award ceremony’s  Kwaito categories. 
  • The SAMAs spokesperson Lesley Mofokeng said the decision to separate the genres was informed by the growing number of Gqom and Amapiano nominees. 
  • Due to Covid-19 protocols the 2021 SAMAs will take place virtually with a small number of guests attending the event physically. 


Established in 1995, the South African Music Awards have for the last 25 years been considered a benchmark for the country’s mainstream artists across a variety of genres. 

Every year the nominations are announced at the end of March with the award ceremony taking place between April and May. This after the process of selecting eligible artists began in November of the previous year.

For 2021 entries for nominations opened on 26 November 2020 and are set to close on 31 January 2021. 

In addition to news of the nomination window being open, the SAMAs have announced that artists working in the Gqom and Amapiano genres will be considered in separate categories. In previous years artists belonging to these genres have had to compete in the award ceremony’s  Kwaito categories. This has riddled the awards with controversy including DJ Tira winning the 2020 Best Kwaito Album award for a Gqom record. 

Confirming this news to SowetanLive, the SAMAs spokesperson Lesley Mofokeng said the following: 

In our extensive consultations with the industry as we planned for SAMA27, it became abundantly clear that the general feeling was to separate these categories… This is testament to the popularity of these genres and the growth of our local music industry. We are delighted to witness this step in the right direction and believe that these categories will be hotly contested.

Mofokeng then added how the decision to separate the genres was informed by the growing number of Gqom and Amapiano nominees. 

Due to Covid-19 protocols the 2021 SAMAs will take place virtually with a small number of guests attending the event physically. 



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