Abigail Kubeka to receive Lifetime Achievement Award

South African singer and songwriter Abigail Kubeka will be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the upcoming Wawela Music Awards (WMA) in Johannesburg.

Abigail Kubeka Photo: www.etv.co.za
Abigail Kubeka Photo: www.etv.co.za

The announcement of this special award was made by the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) on Tuesday 2 August. Kubeka will receive her award in a ceremony on 7 October. Producer Gabi Le Roux and Zimbabwean icon Oliver Mtukudzi will also receive special awards - namely Prolific Catalogue of Works and Breaking Through The Borders, respectively.

This is not the first time Kubeka has received such an accolade. In 2014 she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas). Her success and longtime achievement cannot be disputed owing to her contribution in the country’s entertainment industry. Born in 1941, her career took centre stage in 1957 at the age of 16 when the late Miriam Makeba invited her to join her Skylarks ensemble, which featured music legends such as Letta Mbulu and Mary Rabotaba.

She soon began touring Europe, Asia and Africa with Makeba, which saw her sharing stages with international stars such as Eartha Kitt, Percy Sledge and Monk Montgomery. Not only has Kubeka rubbed shoulders with top music entertainers, she also earned recognition when she performed at global events such as the first Miss World Pageant (held in South Africa in 1992) and at the opening ceremony of the All Africa Games in 1999. She has also entertained big names such as former President Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth II.

Over the years, the Wawelas have taken pride by being the only awards in South that put a spotlight and recognise music composers, lyricists, song writers and music publishers. The event is known for its in-depth appreciation of music composition and songwriting, including music created for television and film to songs for commercials. 

Besides announcing news of the the special prizes for Kubeka, Le Roux and Tuku, SAMRO also revealed the nominees of the 2016 Wawelas. Tiyani Maluleke, SAMRO's marketing general manager, said: “We are excited to announce this year’s nominees. The list of those selected paints a great picture of how far the awards have come. This year marks our fourth year and with that, we are humbled by the amount of entries and quality of content submitted.”

This year’s nominees include industry darlings such as acapella group The Soil, Afro-soul singer Maleh, house duo Black Motion, jazz singer Lindiwe Maxolo and RnB artist Naima Kay. The full list of 2016 WMA nominees is as follows:

Best Soundtrack in a Feature Film or Theatric Documentary

  • Alun Richards
  • Nik Sakellarides
  • Benjamin Willem

Best Song or Composition in a Television Production

  • Orangotang Music
  • Joe Niemand
  • Benjamin Willem

Best Song or Composition in a Television Commercial

  • The Soil
  • Alun Richards
  • Adam Howard

Best Song or Composition in a Radio Commercial

  • Nik Sakellarides
  • Louis Enslin
  • Adam Howard

Best Creative Album of the Year

Songwriter of the Year

Best South African Duo or Group

  • Beatenberg
  • The Soil
  • Black Motion

Best Male Artist and Composer/co-Composer

  • Benjamin William
  • Zola
  • Fabian Sing

Best Female Artist and Composer

  • Lindiwe Maxolo
  • Maleh
  • Naima Kay


  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Abigail Kubeka
  • Prolific Catalogue of Works: Gabi Le Roux
  • Breaking Through The Borders: Oliver Mtukudzi


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