SA Music Awards move to Durban in June

The 22nd annual South African Music Awards (SAMAs) are set to take place on Saturday 4 June in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

Durban will host the SAMAs for the first time this year. Photo:
Durban will host the SAMAs for the first time this year. Photo:

Regarded as the country’s premier music awards and hosted by the Recording Industry of South Africa (RISA), this year’s SAMAs will take place at the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC), with the eThekwini Municipality as the hosting partner.

It will be the first time the awards are held in the coastal city. In the past they have been held mainly at Sun City, a few hours' drive from Johannesburg, with the exception of the 2011 ceremony at Montecasino in Johannesburg and the 2001 event at the Sandton Convention Centre, also in Joburg.

Refiloe Ramogase, chairman of the SAMAs, said: "We are delighted with our new partnership with the very progressively minded eThekwini Municipality. This marks a fresh chapter in South Africa's premier music award show, a chapter in which we shall build on the annual South African Music Awards' solid, respected heritage and proud legacy with a renewed youthful vibrancy."

James Nxumalo, Mayor of eThekwini, said: "Music brings people together, irrespective of race, creed or culture and eThekwini is proud to be hosting the 22nd South African Music Awards. We welcome the nation’s most talented musicians to our beautiful City. It is fitting that the ceremony will take place at our historic venue, the Durban Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, which has been transformed into a world-class events and conference centre over the years.

"We are pleased that this prestigious awards ceremony is being held in Durban as we constantly strive to ensure our highly talented musicians are provided with opportunities and the necessary platforms to showcase their talent," added Nxumalo.

Nominees for the 2016 SAMAs are expected to be announced later in April. 

Another coup for Durban – but at what cost?

News of the upcoming SAMAs comes after the city of Durban, which markets itself as ‘South Africa’s playground’, has been making headlines recently over the amount of money it spends to host music events such as concerts and awards, often favouring international rather than local acts.

Some R3.7-million (about US$24 400) was reportedly spent by the city to host American rappers TI and Nicki Minaj in consecutive weeks in March. The inaugural International Jazz Extravaganza on 12 March also attempted to put the city on the map when it comes to music festivals, although the line-up boasted American smooth jazz icons Lee Ritenour and Spyro Gyra, with local talent Nduduzo Makhathini and child star Luthando Jackson added later to the line-up to open the show.

The city has also hosted the continental MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMA) for the past two years. In 2005, millions allegedly went down the drain when the city hosted the Kora All African Music Awards, which reportedly flopped despite a heavy financial injection by the provincial government and the city (not unlike the same awards' current difficulties in Namibia, where it failed to take place in March as expected).

At the same time, the city struggles with a lack of live music venues and opportunities for local artists. 

According to a recent article in the Daily Maverick, the province has recently declared that it cannot afford to fund the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which were awarded to Durban last year.


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