Kaunda Selisho

By Kaunda Selisho


‘Samas producing, planning and awarding has no integrity’ – Zakes Bantwini

Zakes Bantwini criticised Samas judges and organisers, and called on fellow artists and music fans to rebuild the show's level of prestige.

Shortly after winning a number of awards on a night hosted, in part, by his wife Nandi Madida, Zakes Bantwini has shared his unfiltered thoughts on the decline in popularity and prestige for the South African Music Awards (Samas).

His comments come after many marvelled at how the event flew relatively under the radar and failed to drum up the FOMO (fear of missing out) that it had come to be known for over the last two decades. 

With just two years shy of its Pearl Anniversary, the Samas took place in Sun City as it has over the years but what many in attendance and those watching at home had noticed was the lack of bodies in seats during this year’s broadcast night. 

“For over two decades, the Samas have been the highest accolade that could be bestowed on South African artists, and have represented a standard of creative excellence, that marked the height of success to those in the creative sector,” began Zakes Bantwini. 

“Regrettably, the Samas have broken our trust, they have devalued the honour and prestige, which the awards once stood for, there is no integrity in the way at which the show is being produced, the planning, the awarding of artists [and] in extending the basic courtesy of respect to the artist!”

This, after he thanked everyone who was involved in the making of his smash hit Osama. 

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“This song has meant a lot to Kasango and myself, and to millions whom it reached around the world.”

The musician highlighted how he had won first two Samas after a career spanning 15 years and 28 nominations.

“Regrettably, this year happens to be the lowest point of these awards and I receive these awards with a heavy heart. The lack of attendance by artists nominated is just one [of the] signs of what the artists think of Samas organisers and stakeholders!”

“This is a result of years of the judging processes being unjust, corruption and myopic thinking and a lack of vision.”

In Zakes Bantwini’s view, the show “depicts a looted SOE and reeks of nepotism and traces of bureaucracy,” before adding, “I am unable to find the words to describe my shock and disappointment”.

He criticised the show’s judges and accused them of converting the awards into a promotional show and a money-making exercise.

“South African musicians are making a global impact, we have to fight to be globally competitive and to take a position that supports longevity. If we celebrate mediocrity we will only have ourselves to blame,” wrote Zakes.  

He concluded with a call to action to agree that the Samas judges have failed both artists and music fans and said it was up to these groups of people to build the industry again.

He also issued an advisory to Ukhozi FM to do better with this year’s crossover song.

READ NEXT: Samas red carpet: What was going on with the fashion?

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