MASERU — The South African Music Awards (SAMA) have dumped the Sesotho album category effectively sidelining local famo artistes, XpressPeople has learnt.
The 18th SAMA awards are pencilled for April 26.
Molefi Mabote, managing director of Kingdom of Lesotho (KOL) music productions, said the move will seriously inconvenience Basotho artistes.
Mabote said last year the SAMA’s steering committee suggested a slash of categories from 51 to 23 to mirror the Grammy awards.
“After a series of meetings between the SAMA’s steering committee and music production labels in South Africa last year November, the organisers agreed to keep the 17th SAMA category format,” he said.
He added that when they submitted their entries for this year’s edition they learnt that the best Sesotho album category had been removed.
Sesotho, Setswana, Venda, Sepedi and other African languages fall under the best traditional album categories.
“After we registered and submitted our music, we were told of the new changes that our independent categories have been removed,” Mabote said.
“We are very disappointed to tell our fans that famo music has been removed from the awards. This means they will not have the chance to vote for their favourite artistes.”
He added: “We have however formed a group that will challenge the decisions of the steering committee and we have agreed that we will boycott the ceremony.”
Also removed from the list is gospel music and all language representative groups except Maskandi and Zulu.
“They told us that Maskandi and Zulu sell better than other languages. The two genres are marketed by four biggest recording labels in South Africa which are EMI, Sony, Universal and TS Records,” Mabote said.
He said they were not happy with this arrangement because African language music was selling big in South Africa.
Mabote accused the big record labels in South Africa of plotting to kill independent labels.
This was despite that they pay a membership fee to the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA) which monitors all artistes who produce and release music in South Africa.
The 2011 best Sesotho Album winner, Lesotho-born Morusu, told Xpress People they were planning to challenge the decision to remove the best Sesotho album category.
“We have paid R700 and submitted 10 CDs each knowing that we are competing for the best Sesotho album, not best traditional album,” Morusu said.
“We are in a meeting with some of the artistes affected and we are willing to take action and boycott the awards ceremony,” he said.
Morusu said the move to ditch Sesotho music should disappoint their hordes of fans.
“The SAMAs were a platform for fans to show their love and loyalty to their favourite artistes by voting for them and now they have nothing exciting to look forward to,” he said.
“It is also very disappointing for me. I was looking forward to defending the award and win it for Basotho and my fans but now I have been deprived of the opportunity.”
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