2023 Sama awards delayed due to financial challenges

The 2023 South African Music Awards (Samas) has been delayed due to financial issues.

Sunday World understands that the biggest music show in the country is allegedly battling to secure a sponsor after receiving a backlash following the 28th edition of the awards show in 2022.

Awards organisers, Recording Industry of South Africa, confirmed to Sunday World that the awards show is battling financially, but has not been canned.

This comes after various musicians including Makhadzi, Lady Du and Zakes Bantwini lambasted the awards show last year. The artists accused the organisers of ill-treatment, favouritism, and delivering a weak show compared to previous years.

The show is behind its own schedule this year, as it has not revealed the nominees, which were already made public by June last year. The organisers have also not shared the dates of the awards show and the venue to host the biggest night in music.

It is understood that in addition to scrambling for a possible sponsor, the organisers were locked in meetings this week to plot a way forward.

Sama spokesperson Lesley Mofokeng told Sunday World that even though the awards show has been delayed, it has not been cancelled.

“RiSA remains determined to deliver the 29th edition of the SA Music Awards even in the most challenging financial conditions we face,” said Mofokeng, adding that the show is delayed because they are undergoing a facelift.

“We have undergone a restructuring process that relooked our processes and repackaged the Sama. The team has been hard at work with committee meetings, vetting of entries, judging, and other behind-the-scenes work,” he said.

He said an announcement will be made in the next few weeks. “We will announce the nominees in the coming weeks, please watch this space.”

In 2022, artists lashed out at awards’ organisers following the show held at Sun City Resort in North West in August.

Megastar Makhadzi alleged that she was ill-treated by the organisers, who only gave her one minute to perform after they had made her rehearse using a cellphone for sound.

“I rehearsed with a cellphone on stage to get my choreography. I asked to rehearse with the camera guys so they can read my moves, no one listened to me. I asked for smokes and fireworks, they promised but never delivered. But I remained a queen,” she said at the time.

She added that she does not want anything to do with the Samas anymore.

Grammy award-winning musician Zakes Bantwini also attacked the quality of the show, stating that many artists did not attend the awards due to corruption and lack of vision.

“Regrettably, the Samas have broken our trust. They devalued the honour and prestige they once stood for,” he said at the time.

“There is no integrity in the way the show is being produced. The planning, awarding and extending the basic courtesy of respect to artists.”

Amapiano artist Lady Du joined the fray and lambasted the awards show of favouritism, stating that winners were awarded based on their association with the show.

“How does a person get a tender for organising artists to perform on stage, then the artist he is managing gets the biggest award of the night?” she asked, referring to Artist of the Year winner Musa Keys, who is managed by one of the directors of the awards show.


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