South Africa celebrates Grammy win: 'Their names will forever be remembered as great African talent'

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Wouter Kellerman, Zakes Bantwini and Nomcebo Zikode at the 65th Grammy Awards.
Wouter Kellerman, Zakes Bantwini and Nomcebo Zikode at the 65th Grammy Awards.
Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
  • Congratulatory messages were the order of the day as Zakes Bantwini, Nomcebo Zikode, and Wouter Kellerman received praises for their Grammy win for their collaboration on Bayethe. 
  • They won the award for Best Global Performance in the Global Music category at the 65th instalment of music's most prestigious event on Sunday in Los Angeles. 
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa thanked the trio for their "brilliant contribution in placing South Africa on the world stage".

On Monday, congratulations were the order of the day for Zakes, Bantwini, Nomcebo Zikode and Wouter Kellerman as local celebrities praised them for winning a Grammy award for their collaboration on Bayethe.

The three won the award for Best Global Performance in the Global Music category at the 65th instalment of music's most prestigious event, which took place on Sunday in Los Angeles.

They were nominated alongside Nigerian superstar Burna Boy for Last Last, Arogi Aftab and Anoushka Shankar for Udhero Na, Matt B and Eddy Kenzo for Gimme Love and Rocky Dawuni featuring Blyk H3ro for Never Bow Down.

Speaking about winning the award, Zakes Bantwini said he hoped it proved to all young South Africans that anything was possible.

He said:

This award is not just for us, it's for everyone back home. This moment is testament to the fact that our dreams are valid and we can accomplish anything we set out minds on. I want every young kid in the ghetto in South Africa to dream big and believe that we deserve to be recognised on the biggest stages in the world.

The musician, producer and businessman also thanked his team at IMG Africa, his collaborator and everyone who supported them along their journey to winning the award.

Zakes Bantwini's manager, business partner and long-time friend Sibo Mhlungu said the win was "incredibly special" for them. 

"When Zakes and I started this company a year and a half ago, our goal was always to compete on the world stage," he said in a press statement. "This moment didn't come by chance – we prepared for it, and we spoke it into existence. Big congratulations are due to my team and everyone involved in this project; we're definitely celebrating this one all year."

Messages of congratulations for the trio also came from the political fraternity, with President Cyril Ramaphosa thanking the trio for their "brilliant contribution in placing South Africa on the world stage".

The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture and KwaZulu-Natal provincial government – Zakes Bantwini and Nomcebo Zikode's home province - congratulated Zakes Bantwini and Zikode, for their first-time win and Kellerman for his second win.

Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube said the trio's award affirmed their local and international contributions to the music industry.

To the musicians, the department said, "South Africa is proud of the great work of art that you continue to churn out with excellence and high levels of creativity without compromising national identity and our beautiful story of a beautiful people, able to rise from the ashes of the past and rise to conquer against all odds".

"We salute you on behalf of all the people of this, our beautiful country, South Africa."

Dube-Ncube said the province was proud of Zakes Bantwini, who hailed from KwaMashu and Zikode, from Mpumalanga Township in Hammarsdale for flying the country's flag high and putting on the province on the global music stage through their win. 

"We celebrate the success of the son and daughter of the province who are a beacon of hope and an inspiration to many young people in townships and rural areas," she said in a press statement.

She added:

Zakes, Nomcebo and Kellerman's Grammy award success is not only remarkable for KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa, it is also significant for the African continent. By winning this Grammy award, Zakes, Nomcebo and Kellerman have shown the world that KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and Africa are indeed a musical force to be reckoned with globally. We cannot thank them enough for reviving faith and hope for many aspiring artists in the province and South Africa as a whole.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal and Economic Freedom Fighters also congratulated the three musicians and added that their win "reaffirms the depth in talent in South Africa's music industry."

"The trio has not only made South Africa proud but has shown that resilience and dedication are the keys to success in a country where the arts are severely neglected," the EFF said in a press statement. "The song Bayethe now sits firmly in international history books, and their names will forever be remembered as great African talents. Congratulations!"

Meanwhile, on social media, reality TV star and YouTuber Lasizwe Dambuza congratulated Zakes Bantwini for the win saying, "ladies and gentlemen, Zakes Bantwini, a Grammy Award winner, all the way from South Africa! You are a reminder that dreams can really come true. Congratulations @ZakesBantwiniSA".

Zakes Bantwini's wife, musician and TV presenter Nandi Madida echoed a similar sentiment, adding that her father-in-law "is definitely smiling in heaven".

"As some of you may know, @zakesbantwini sadly lost his father last month. As you can imagine, it's been such a challenging time for him, but I know his father is so proud of him right now. You have gained a powerful ancestor, my love. Congrats for winning your first Grammy!"

Zakes Bantwini, Kellerman and Zikode's win marks the tenth time a Grammy award will come home to South Africa. In 2022, South African DJ and music producer Black Coffee won the Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album for Subconsciously.

In an interview with News24, ahead of the awards, Zakes Bantwini said he was "very optimistic" they would come back with the award as he had "such a very positive vibe about it". He added that more African acts were receiving recognition from the prestigious awards because they "now compete at that particular level".

He said:

It's really amazing to witness that currently happening, but I think it's because the world now realises and sees, so the world no longer wants us to fit the narrative. They want to listen to us as we are. You don't need any American feature for your song to be regarded as one of the most popular songs. You have the likes of Burna Boy now with number-one songs in America, without any American feature, and it just goes to show that I think African music can now be able to stand alone and could be globally competitive and be appreciated by almost everybody.

READ MORE | Zakes Bantwini on Grammy Awards: 'To me, I've already won'


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.