THE announcement of the South African Music Award nominees yesterday saw three Eastern Cape songbirds – two of them newcomers – getting top five category nominations, with bestseller Bulelwa “Zahara” Mkutukane heading the list with seven nominations.
Nomhle Nongogo, Zonke Dikana and Zahara will all be vying for the coveted female artist of the year award at the Samas, which will be held at Sun City in April.
Zahara, who hails from rural Phumlani and burst onto the local music scene a year ago, scooped nominations for, among others, best album, best female artist and best newcomer for her first music offering, Loliwe.
An ecstatic Zahara, who was yesterday on her way to Botswana for two shows this weekend, could not contain her excitement “Oh, my God!” she screamed. “I just could not believe it. When they announced it, I just started jumping up and down. I was expecting a nomination or two, but definitely not seven.”
Zahara shot to stardom when smash hits Loliwe and Lengoma took over the airwaves and rocketed her album sales to more than 350000. The song Loliwe is up for record of the year, as is the version of Lengoma remixed by popular Metro FM DJ and TS Records co-owner Sbusiso “Sbu” Leope.
Afro-soul singer and highly accomplished songwriter Zonke Dikana followed closely with three nominations – going head to head with Zahara in the best female artist and best album categories.
The versatile Dikana, who grew up in Motherwell, was recognised for her 2011 album, Ina Ethe, in the best album and best African adult album categories.
Mindful of the “Sama fever” that gripped Twitter yesterday, she tweeted that she appreciated the “vote of confidence”. She later tweeted: “It’s all in God’s hands. He knows what’s best for me.”
Nomhle Nongogo – who released her first solo album, Ikwezi, last year – was nominated for the best female artist category and best African adult album. An incredulous Nongogo tweeted: “Yaaaay! Nominated for best female of the year and best afro contemporary album.”
Grahamstown singer and Metro FM breakfast co-host Unathi Msengana got recognition for her latest album, With Love, while Uitenhage’s Loyiso Bala was nominated for his collaboration with SA Idols runner-up Lloyd Cele in the song Thando.