Cape Town - Saturday night was a massive night for Afro-soul sensation Nathi Mankayi, who was crowned king of the 22nd Annual South African Music Awards at the Durban ICC, beating out stiff challenges from established superstars and fellow newcomers alike.
Nathi, whose album Buyelekhaya and single Nomvula sent the nation into a collective swoon last year, scooped five awards at #SAMA22 – for Best R&B/Soul/Reggae Album, Best Newcomer (supported by Apple Music), Best Male Artist, Best-selling Full-track Music Download and Best-selling Album of the Year.
Nipping at the young Eastern Cape-born hitmaker’s heels was iconic DJ and producer Black Coffee, with four #SAMA22 trophies on the night – for Best Dance Album, Best Engineered Album and Album of the Year (served hot by Nescafé) for Pieces of Me, as well as the International Achievement Award in recognition of his meteoric rise in the global dance scene.
The highly contested Amstel Record of the Year award, which is the only public voting category of the night, went to Roll Up by Emtee, after South Africa’s avid music fans scrambled to vote using the #SAMA22 USSD platform ahead of the cut-off time during the awards ceremony.
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The awards, which were held for the first time in eThekwini, saw an array of spectacular live performances and electrifying mash-ups that kept the energy levels and anticipation at fever pitch throughout the evening. The ceremony was broadcast live on SABC1.
“We extend our warmest congratulations to all the nominees and victors, but in truth, South African music was the real winner here tonight,” said an elated Refiloe Ramogase, CEO of the South African Music Awards.
“The quality of the recordings and live performances celebrated at #SAMA22 bears testimony to the fact that South African music is in a highly innovative, world-beating and dynamic place at the moment. It certainly appears that the sky’s the limit for our exceptional community of South African musicians.”
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Another big winner on the night was gospel artist Sfiso Ncwane, who raked in three Samas for his smash hit single Bayede Baba: Best-selling Music Download, Best-selling Ring-back Tone, and the CAPASSO Composers’ Award for Best-selling Digital Download. Ncwane’s album won the Best Traditional Faith Music Album category at last year’s SAMAs.
Kwaito act Dbn Nyts also scooped three awards for their monster single Shumaya: Best Collaboration, the SAMPRA Highest Radio Airplay Award and the SAMRO Composers’ Award for Highest Radio Airplay.
Big Nuz beat out a tough field to claim Best Kwaito Album honours, as well as the trophy for Best Duo/Group of the Year. Emtee converted one of his four #SAMA22 nominations into a win in another fiercely fought category – Best Rap Album.
Zonke took home the laurels in the Best Female Artist category, while two of her fellow nominees in that category, Judith Sephuma and Zahara (Robbie Malinga – producer), also claimed one SAMA statuette apiece – for Best Adult Contemporary Album and Best Produced Album, respectively.
Desmond & the Tutus slam-dunked the Sama for Best Rock Album, with Petite Noir claiming victory in the Best Alternative Album category. Best Jazz Album honours went to Marcus Wyatt and the ZAR Jazz Orchestra, while Grammy-winning flautist Wouter Kellerman made it his second Sama in a row in the Best Classical and/or Instrumental Album category.
Tresor emerged as the champion in the Best Pop Album race, while the Afrikaans counterpart category, Beste Pop Album, saw Karlien van Jaarsveld do the victory lap. Former Idols winner Elvis Blue has added yet another Sama to his trophy cabinet, for Beste Kontemporêre Musiek Album.
Best African Adult Album laurels went to Dizu Plaatjies & Friends and Imithente won the Sama for Best Maskandi Album. TYGC Family and Ntokozo Mbambo triumphed in the categories for best traditional faith and contemporary faith albums, respectively.
Another firm local gospel favourite, Joyous Celebration, claimed success in the Best-selling DVD category, while Jimmy Dludlu was named the best of the best in the stakes for Best Live Audiovisual Recording of the year. The pairing of Jack Parow and Freshly Ground aced the Best Music Video category for Army of One, with DJ Sliqe winning Best Remix.
Lifetime Achievement Awards (sponsored by Telkom) were awarded to late music legends Nana Coyote and Bhekumuzi Luthuli, as well as to fellow industry stalwart Roger Lucey.
READ NEXT: Here are all the 2016 Sama winners