Nathi crowned king of the SA Music Awards with five trophies

South African singer Nathi scooped five awards at the 22nd annual South African Music Awards (SAMAs), which took place in Durban on Saturday 4 June.

Nathi Mankayi won four SAMA trophies. Photo: SAMAs
Nathi Mankayi won four SAMA trophies. Photo: SAMAs

The Eastern Cape-born hitmaker, whose album Buyelekhaya and its hit single ‘Nomvula’ came like a breath of fresh air to the SA industry, picked up trophies for Best R&B/Soul/Reggae Album, Best Newcomer, Best Male Artist, Best-Selling Full-Track Music Download and Best-Selling Album of the Year.

He was followed by globe-trotting DJ and producer Black Coffee, with four trophies on the night: for Best Dance Album, Best Engineered Album and Album of the Year for Pieces of Me, as well as the International Achievement Award in recognition of his meteoric rise in the global dance scene.

Nathi and Black Coffee's triumph may have come as little surprise, as the duo led the nominations that were first revealed in April alongside rising rappers Riky Rick and Emtee and songbird Zonke Dikana. While Riky Rick left empty-handed, Emtee converted one of his four nominations into a win in the fiercely contested category of Best Rap Album. Building on his success at the Metro FM Awards earlier this year, the rapper also won the highly contested Amstel Record of the Year award, the only public voting category of the night, for ‘Roll Up’. 


Zonke meanwhile took home the laurels in the Best Female Artist category, while two of her fellow nominees in that category, Judith Sephuma and Zahara also claimed one SAMA statuette apiece – for Best Adult Contemporary Album and Best Produced Album (for producer Robbie Malinga) respectively.

More surprising perhaps was that long-time kwaito heavyweights Big Nuz were named Best Duo/Group of the Year, as well as winning the Best Kwaito Album honours for For the Fans. Another Durban kwaito act, Dbn Nyts, scooped three awards for their monster single ‘Shumaya’: Best Collaboration, the SAMPRA Highest Radio Airplay Award and the SAMRO Composers’ Award for Highest Radio Airplay. Another big winner on the night was controversial gospel artist Sfiso Ncwane,who raked in three SAMAs for his smash hit single ‘Bayede Baba’: Best-Selling Music Download, Best-Selling Ring-Back Tone, and the CAPASSO Composers’ Award for Best-selling Digital Download. Ncwane’s album won the Best Traditional Faith Music Album category at last year’s SAMAs.

Two South African-based artists of Congolese descent also scooped awards, with Petite Noir claiming victory in the Best Alternative Album category for La Vie Est Belle/Life is Beautiful, and Tresor winning the race for Best Pop Album with VII.

Other winners on the night included Marcus Wyatt and the ZAR Jazz Orchestra (Best Jazz Album), Desmond & the Tutus (Best Rock Album) and Dizu Plaatjies & Friends (Best African Adult Album), while Grammy-winning flautist Wouter Kellerman made it his second SAMA in a row in the Best Classical and/or Instrumental Album category. Gospel supergroup Joyous Celebration claimed success in the Best-selling DVD category, while the Best Music Video trophy went to a collaboration between Afrikaans rapper of Jack Parow and Freshlyground, the James Bond-styled ‘Army of One’.


Lifetime Achievement Awards were given to late legends Nana 'Coyote' Motijoane and Bhekumuzi Luthuli, as well as fellow struggle stalwart Roger Lucey.

The SAMAs, which were held for the first time in the  coastal city Durban, saw an array of spectacular live performances and electrifying mash-ups that kept the energy levels and anticipation at fever pitch throughout the evening. The ceremony was broadcast live on SABC1.

“We extend our warmest congratulations to all the nominees and victors, but in truth, South African music was the real winner here tonight,” said SAMA CEO Refiloe Ramogase. “The quality of the recordings and live performances celebrated at #SAMA22 bears testimony to the fact that South African music is in a highly innovative, world-beating and dynamic place at the moment. It certainly appears that the sky’s the limit for our exceptional community of South African musicians.”

The full list of 2016 SAMA winners is as follows:

  • Album of the Year: Black Coffee - Pieces of Me
  • Duo or Group of the Year: Big Nuz - For the Fans  
  • Female Artist of the Year: Zonke - Work of Heart          
  • Male Artist of the Year: Nathi - Buyelekhaya
  • Newcomer of the Year: Nathi - Buyelekhaya
  • Best Rock Album: Desmond & the Tutus - Enjoy Yourself                      
  • Best Pop Album: Tresor - VII
  • Beste Pop Album (Afrikaans): Karlien van Jaarsveld - My Hartjie                             
  • Best Adult Contemporary Album: Judith Sephuma - One Word                
  • Beste Kontemporêre Musiek Album: Elvis Blue - Êrens in die Middel van Nêrens    
  • Best African Adult Album: Dizu Plaatjies & Friends - Ubuntu – The Common String       
  • Best Alternative Album: Petite Noir - La Vie Est Belle/Life is Beautiful 
  • Best R&B/Soul/Reggae Album: Nathi - Buyelekhaya       
  • Best Rap Album: Emtee - Avery
  • Best Kwaito Album: Big Nuz - For the Fans            
  • Best Dance Album: Black Coffee - Pieces of Me     
  • Best Traditional Faith Music Album: TYGC Family - The Journey Begins 
  • Best Contemporary Faith Music Album: Ntokozo Mbambo - Spirit and Life                       
  • Best Maskandi Album: Imithente - Ichakijana                
  • Best Jazz Album: Marcus Wyatt & the ZAR Jazz Orchestra - One Night in the Sun
  • Best Classical and/or Instrumental Album: Wouter Kellerman - Love Language      
  • Best Live Audiovisual Recording: Jimmy Dludlu - Live at Emperors Palace   
  • Best Collaboration Dbn Nyts ft. Zinhle Ngidi  & Trademark – ‘Shumaya’
  • Best Music Video of the Year: Jack Parow & Freshly Ground – ‘Army of One’                        
  • Best Produced Album of the Year: Zahara - Country Girl              
  • Best Engineered Album of the Year: Black Coffee - Pieces of Me                                   
  • Best Remix of the Year: DJ Sliqe -  Do Like I Do Remix

Special Awards:

  • International Achievement Award: Black Coffee
  • Lifetime Achievement Awards: Nana Coyote (posthumous), Bhekumuzi Luthuli (posthumous), Roger Lucey
  • Best-Selling Album: Nathi - Buyelekhaya
  • Best-Selling DVD: Joyous Celebration - Volume 19: Back to the Cross
  • Best-Selling Overall Music Download: Sfiso Ncwane ‘Bayede Baba’
  • Best-Selling Music Download (Ring-back Tone): Sfiso Ncwane – ‘Bayede Baba’
  • Best-Selling Full-track Music Download: Nathi – ‘Nomvula’
  • SAMRPA Award for Highest Radio Airplay of the Year: Dbn Nyts – ‘Shumaya’
  • SAMRO Composers Award for Highest Radio Airplay: Samkele Maphumulo, Kabelo Masekane, Cebo Ngcobo, Wanda Shabalala and Lwazi Yokwana for ‘Shumaya’ by Dbn Nyts
  • CAPASSO Composers’ Award for Best-Selling Digital Download: Sfiso Ncwane – ‘Bayede Baba’
  • Amstel Record of the Year: ‘Roll Up’ by Emtee


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