Crown Awards return to honour best in SA gospel

The eighth edition of the SABC Crown Gospel Music Awards, a platform to salute and award excellence in South Africa’s booming gospel scene, is set to take place on 15 November at the Durban ICC Arena.

Gospel diva Rebecca Malope with her Crown Award from 2013. Photo: Facebook
Gospel diva Rebecca Malope with her Crown Award from 2013. Photo: Facebook

Sponsored by the SABC, the Crown Awards were founded and are produced by by Zanele Mbokazi of the World Gospel Powerhouse, an organisation and ministry set up to professionally package, assist, manage and direct gospel-related projects. Considered by many to be the biggest event on the local gospel calander, this year’s theme is ‘The New Order, The Manifestation, The Rebirth’. Mbokazi announced recently: "We are ready for the eighth edition of the Crowns - bigger, better, moving from glory to glory!”

Nominations were open between 1 August and 1 October to gospel artist and industry professionals from all African countries. This year’s entries are spread between more than 30 categories, six of which are decided by public voting. Event spokeswoman Wendy Sithole said: “In line with this year’s theme, the number and the quality of material submitted for entries was a huge improvement from the previous year. 2015 saw the increase in entries, with a total of 701. The World Gospel Powerhouse is delighted with this development and showcase of talent in the gospel music industry in South Africa, and beyond our borders.”

Mbokazi added that the annual event made an important contribution to the local economy: "Visitors come from other provinces, predominantly from Gauteng. This event has an economic contribution estimated at over R10 million with direct and indirect spend within the city." 

The ever-popular Rebecca Malope has been nominated in the Best Classic of All Time category for her hit ‘Moya Wam’. She will be competing again Teboho Moloi, Tebs David, Jay Jay and Andile KamaJola. In the pan-African category Best Of Africa, the nominees are Milkah Muthoni Irungu (Kenya), Uche (Nigeria), Phathwakahle (Swaziland) and Shongwe & Khuphuka (Swaziland). Also up for Crown Awards are the likes of Winnie Mashaba, Benjamin Dube, Dumi Mkokstad, the Tshwane Gospel Choir and 3C Live. Meanwhile, big-selling singer Sfiso Ncwane, recently making headlines for all the wrong reasons, does not appear on the long list of the 2015 nominees, nor does another hugely popular but controversial name in local gospel, Lundi Tyamara.


The full list of nominees for the 2015 SABC Crown Gospel Music Awards is as follows:

Best Gospel Rap

  • Ricwa - 'The Kingdom Is Coming'
  • Mawat - 'Rebirth'
  • Mda - 'Yeyakho Lengoma'
  • Blaque - 'Watchman'

Best Gospel Worship Song

  • Sipho Ngwenya – 'Mhlekazi'
  • Mahalia Buchunan – 'Ngiyabonga Naphakade'
  • Rofhiwa Manyanga – 'Worship Medley'
  • Adrian Losper – 'More And More'

Best Gospel Praise Song

  • Mawat – 'Umsindisi'
  • Worship House – 'Morena Wamarena'
  • Friends In Praise – 'Ebeneza'
  • Mahalia Buchanan – 'Phakama'
  • Shaun P -

Best Classic Of All Time Gospel

  • Teboho Moloi - 'Bapa Le Na'
  • Tebs David - 'Lerato'
  • Jay Jay - 'Esehlabelo Saka'
  • Andile Kamajola - 'Thumumlilo'
  • Rebecca Malope - 'Moya Wami'

Best Gospel Newcomer

  • Spax And The Newlight
  • Pastor Lungi Ndala
  • Malusi Mbokazi
  • Mahalia Buchanan

Best Gospel DVD

  • Pastor Lungi Ndala
  • Tebs David
  • Reality 7
  • Spirit Of Praise Vol 5

Best Female Gospel Artist

  • Lusanda Mcinga
  • Winnie Mashaba
  • Buhle Nhlangulela
  • Fikile Mlomo

Best Traditional Gospel

  • Butho Vuthela
  • M-Siya Maawu
  • Worship House
  • Thobekile Mkhwanazi

Best Male Gospel Artist

  • Tebs David
  • Betusile Mcinga
  • Lufuno Dagada
  • Andile Kamajola

Best Gospel Music Video

  • Tumelo Matlala
  • Maduvha
  • Tshwane Gospel Choir
  • 3C Live

Best Contemporary Song

  • Spax And Newlight - 'Crowned With Favour'
  • Churchill - 'Selatole
  • Thabo Namba - 'Bambelela'
  • 3C Live - 'Its All For You'

Best Gospel Jazz

  • Lwei Netshivhale
  • Nokuthula Fundama
  • Kgomotso
  • The Justin Leigh Band

Best Gospel Acapella

  • Tygc Family
  • Durban Metro Ymg
  • Reality 7
  • Ithimba Le Afrika

Best Pop Gospel

  • Buhle Nhlangulela
  • Jolene Joseph
  • Victory 5
  • 3C Live

Best Church Choir

  • Abafana Benduku
  • Sefofane Gospel Choir
  • Abahlabeleli
  • 3C Live

Best Gospel Group

  • Together As One Church Choir
  • Worship House
  • Ithimba Le Africa
  • Tshwane Gospel Choir

Best Gospel Poetry

  • Nokulunga Dladla
  • Nokwethemba Mchunu
  • Sphindile Ndlovu
  • Crystal Tyron

Best Collaboration

  • Spax And The New Light
  • Betusile And Dumi - 'Kuphelele'
  • Women In Praise - 'Khulula Ugcobo'
  • Rofhiwa Manyanga

Best Gospel Producer

  • Wayne Rengasamy
  • Rudzani Mamphiswana
  • Nhlanhla Silaule
  • Benjamin Dube
  • Oupa/Aubrey And Benjamin (Spirit Of Praise)

Best Gospel Songwriter

  • Thulani Ga Ndlela – 'Ukhona Umoya Oyingcwele'
  • Andile Kamajola - 'Nanoma Niyabona'
  • Malusi Mbokazi – 'Ngisize Nkosi'
  • Maduvha – 'Lamb Of God'

Best R&B Gospel

  • Maduvha
  • Nokubonga Dludla
  • Ambani Ramaru
  • Sifaniso Bophela

Best Engineer

  • Covenant Voices (Covenant)
  • Emmanuel Mampongoro (Pastor Lungi Ndala)
  • Leroy Croft (Tshwane Gospel Choir)
  • Andile Kamajola (Andile Kamajola – Nanoma Niyangibona)

Best Comedy Gospel

  • Sthembiso Pro Ndlovu
  • Crystal Tyron

Best Of Africa Gospel

  • Milkah Muthoni Irungu (Kenya)
  • Uche (Nigeria)
  • Phathwakahle (Swaziland)
  • Shongwe & Khuphuka (Swaziland)

Best Afrikaans

  • Victory 5
  • Esti
  • Adrian Losper
  • Tshepo Desmond

Best Gospel Album

  • Shaun P
  • Benjamin Dube
  • Tebello Sukwene
  • 3C Live

Best Community Outreach

  • Bongi & Collins
  • Twins For The Glory
  • 3C Live
  • True Faith Gospel

Best Gospel Artist

  • Malibongwe Gcwabe
  • Andile Kamajola

Best Gospel Song

  • 'Amanxeba' – M Siya
  • 'It’s A Wonderful Day' – Thobekile Mkhwanazi
  • 'Safa Naye' – Dumi Mkokstadi
  • 'Nanoma Niyangbona' – Andile Kamajola

Best Amazioni

  • Redemption In Christ
  • Eternal Life Ministry
  • Abazingeli Besikhalanga
  • Inkanyezi
  • Joyous Of God Mass Choir

Best Maskandi Gospel

  • Uqhoshangokwakhe Sibisi - 'Ningangenzani'
  • Butho Vuthela - 'Uthando Lukajesu'

Best Gospel Community Radio Show

  • Mpho Mashishi – Radio Pulpit (Local & International Gospel Sounds)
  • Luphumulo Masumpa – Link FM (Late Night Sunday)
  • Tholang Lebelo – Mogale FM (Dithorise)
  • Thami Ntombela – Imbokodo FM (Injobo Ithungelwa Ebandla)
  • Phindile Pewa – Highway Radio (Midday Experience Show)
  • Nathi Mhlanga - Voice Of The Church
  • Sizwe Manqele – Divine Touch Radio

Best Gospel TV Show

  • Its Gospel Time
  • Behind The Gospel
  • Gospel Classics
  • Road To Joyous 20

Tickets for the awards are on sale now from Computicket for between R350 and R1500, or directly from the organisers by phoning 031 303 3520 or visiting their offices at 29 McKenzie Road in Morningside, Durban. In the build-up to the big night, special prayer services (dubbed Ayihlome) were held at Gompo Hall in Duncan Village, East London on Satuday 31 October and at the Durban City Hall on 1 November. A 'Nominees White Party' will be held on Monday 9 October at the Durban Exhibition Centre. The night’s winners will reunite on Friday 4 December for a special concert at Woord en Lewe church in Johannesburg. Tickets are also available from Computicket. For more details on how to vote, visit the awards website or watch the video below.

Interestingly, while sales for gospel artists are still booming, the local gospel industry appears divided. The Crown Awards have competition in the Mzansi Gospel Awards, which was launched in March 2015 and took place on 13 June. In Cape Town, meanwhile, the local Cape Town Gospel Music Association (CTGMA) recently held its own Victory Gospel Music Awards at the Artscape Opera House on 30 October.


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