Sama lifetime honour for PE-born singer

Yoliswa Sobuwa

NEW Brighton-born Sizwe Zako will receive a MTN South African Music Award (Sama) Lifetime Achievement Award next month.

The now Johannesburg-based gospel artist joins a star-studded group of recipients that includes Dr Thomas Chauke and the late Johannes Kerkorrel.

“I am very happy that my hard work is being appreciated. I am always telling my kids to start working hard at an early stage,” Zako, who still has a home in Port Elizabeth, said.

The singer, who is a household name throughout Southern Africa, is credited with lifting gospel music’s profile in South Africa.

He has released seven albums.

“God has been really great to me. My seventh album, Footprints, which is a 10-track instrumental album, was released in February this year and is already available in stores. It [came about because] of the interest shown by people in instruments,” he said.

For his efforts, he will receive a cash prize of R15000 sponsored by Amstel.

MTN Sama chief executive Nhlanhla Sibisi described the three recipients of the lifetime awards as irreplaceable pillars in South African music. Their significant contributions to the arts could never be underestimated, he said.

Zako left Port Elizabeth for Johannesburg in 1982 to pursue a career in music.

“I still love coming to Port Elizabeth. I tried to get support from the NMB [Nelson Mandela Bay] Municipality and the premier of the Eastern Cape to help me groom young talent in [the province]. These young kids need a lot of help when it comes to entertainment issues.”

The musician said he enjoyed visiting friends and reminiscing about the good old days.

The stars who have benefited from the musician’s well-crafted beats and innovation as a keyboard player, composer and producer include the late Vuyo Mokoena, Ebony, Pastor Khaya Mayedwa, Rebecca Malope and Peter Mokoena. He is also known for having one of the best recording studios.

The Sama awards will be held at Sun City’s Royal Ballroom on May 10, and SABC1 will flight a delayed broadcast.

The Sama ceremony will be the 19th.

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