Three pioneers of South Africa’s music industry will be honoured with Lifetime Achievement Awards at the 22nd annual South African Music Awards (SAMAs) on Saturday 4 June in Durban: Nana ‘Coyote’ Motijoane, Bhekumuzi Luthuli and Roger Lucey.
The news was revealed recently by the organisers of the SAMAs, the Recording Industry of South Africa (RISA).
Coyote was born Tsietsi Daniel Motijoane in 1955. His signature throaty howls would earn him the nickname ‘Coyote’, which fans took one step further, also dubbing him ‘The Wild Dog’. As a young man, Coyote entered professional music influential soul outfit the Black Five before going into exile in Lesotho in 1980. There, he joined the group Uhuru, which later became known as Sankomota. His big break came when the group Ozila asked him to sing on their hit ‘I’m Suffering’, which was followed by an equally successful duet with Steve Kekana on ‘Take Your Love’, considered a South African classic. Soon afterwards, Ray Phiri asked Coyote to sing on the Stimela track ‘Whispers in the Deep’, which went on to become a massively popular chart-topper. Therafter, Coyote became a familiar face in the Stimela line-up and sang on a number of the band’s albums, including as lead singer, while also purusing a successful solo career. One of South Africa’s most powerful vocalists, Coyote passed away in 2010 – but not before making a strong imprint on the South African music scene with his distinctive growling vocals and electrifying live performances.
Bhekumuzi Luthuli was one of South Africa’s biggest-selling maskandi musicians. Born in KwaMaphumulo, near Stanger in KwaZulu-Natal, he began making traditional Zulu music on a home-made guitar. In the early 1980s he joined Durban-based mbaqanga band Oshimi, parting ways with them after two albums to forge a successful solo career. He could hardly have imagined quite how successful he would become, however. The prolific maskandi king won numerous SAMAs as well as many other accolades, and notched up the incredible feat - almost unheard of for a South African musician - of selling a million units over the course of 23 albums. One of South Africa’s true music superstars, Luthuli was known for telling beautiful stories through his songs and making an enduring contribution to traditional music in South Africa. He passed away in 2010, aged just 48.
The only surviving musician of the three award recipients, Roger Lucey is a singer-songwriter, journalist, filmmaker, actor and educator whose career as a musician was cut cruelly short by the apartheid-era security police in the early 1980s. When his protest songs were deemed a threat to the apartheid regime, his voice was effectively silenced. Such was the devastating effect on Lucey that he was reduced to working as a doorman and barman at one of the venues where he had performed at the height of his career. He went on to work as a roadie and sound technician and covered international war zones as a news cameraman for 10 years. In 2013 the popular folk troubadour published his memoirs, Back In From the Anger, and recently made a long-awaited music comeback with Now is the Time, his first studio album in 30 years. Lucey still performs regularly and currently divides his time between his teaching work in the USA and his hometown of Cape Town.
Besides the three Lifetime Achievement Awards, the other ‘special’ SAMA this year is the International Achievement Award, which will go to globe-trotting house producer and DJ Black Coffee. The Lifetime Achievement and International Achievement awards will be presented during the 22nd annual SAMAs at the Durban International Convention Centre on Saturday 4 June, along with the winners in the various regular categories - see the full list of nominees here.
The ceremony will be broadcast live on SABC1 from 8pm. Tickets for the live spectacle start at R350 and are available at Computicket. For updates and more details, visit the SAMA website or Facebook page.