5 takeaways from the South African Music Awards

Maglera Doe Boy put on a show as part of the SAMA29 celebration of 40 years of SA hip-hop. Picture: Instagram/@magleradoeboy

Maglera Doe Boy put on a show as part of the SAMA29 celebration of 40 years of SA hip-hop. Picture: Instagram/@magleradoeboy

Published Nov 20, 2023


Following a chaotic lead up to the event, the South African Music Awards (SAMAs) served a mixed bag over the weekend.

From some great performances to some controversial moments, we look back at some key takeaways from South African music’s showpiece event.

Maglera Doe Boy is hip-hop’s newest star

— Maglera Doe Boy (@MagleraDoeBoy) November 19, 2023

The SAMAs decided to honour hip-hop on its 50th global and 40th SA anniversary with a medley of performances featuring some of the country’s top young hip-hop acts.

Blxckie, Loatinover Pounds, 25K and Thato Saul all graced the stage, but it was Maglera who stole the show with a flamboyant and commanding performance.

Nandi Madida is class personified

One of the most controversial moments of the awards show came during the speeches for the International Achiever award, which was awarded to Wouter Kellerman, Zakes Bantwini and Nomcebo Zikode for their Grammy wins earlier in the year.

When Nandi Madida went up to the mic to share a speech on behalf of her husband Zakes Bantwini, who was unable to attend, she was cut off right at the beginning of her speech.

As memes circulated the net, Madida chose to play it down with a classy post on IG in which she poked fun at herself and made light of the situation.

SA loves Makhadzi

No artist drew quite as rapturous a reception from the crowd at the SunBet Arena as Makhadzi.

Any mention of her name in the various categories she was nominated in drew loud cheers from the audience and her performance was among the most electric of the night.

Kabza De Small is still king of the land

Amapiano pioneer Kabza De Small led the way as amapiano continued its domination of the awards that started back in 2019.

Kabza walked away with four awards: Best Duo/Group of The Year award alongside DJ Maphorisa for ‘Scorpion Kings Live Sun Arena’, Best Produced Album for ‘KOA II Part 1’, Best Amapiano Album for ‘KOA II Part 1’, Best Kwaito Album for his collaboration with Kwesta on ‘Speak N Vrostaan’.

The SAMAs prestige has waned

Save for a few stellar performances, this year the SAMAs were lacking in that stardust that you’d expect from an awards show of this magnitude.

A lot of the award winners skipped the show and it just didn’t feel as grand as it used to.

However, given how the organisers had to plan and execute the show at the 11th hour after the Durban leg was cancelled, it’s understandable that not everything went perfectly.