The Wawela Music Awards (WMAs) showcased the music industry’s best in the business where music composition and song-writing is concerned. Some of the night’s big winners included  South African super group Mi Casa,  afro soul songstress Berita, South African Idols winner Elvis Blue, jazz legend Don Laka and the internationally acclaimed Jonathan Butler. 

The Southern African Music Rights Organisation NPC (SAMRO) CEO Sipho Dlamini said, “The Wawela Music Awards started in 2013 and since then we have observed a major progression not only in the number of entries for the awards but also in the calibre of musical works that have been submitted  which is of supreme quality.” 

The night’s big winners in the Best Creative Album of the Year category were Mi Casa for their album Su Casa while songstress, Berita took home the Songwriter of the Year award for her hit song Thando Lwethu. The Best South African Duo/Group went to Mccully Workshop. Singer songwriter, Nomfundo Xalavu won Best Female Artist & Composer/Co-Composer and Elvis Blue took home the Best Male Artist & Composer/Co-Composer award

In the audio visual categories, film score composer, Benjamin Willem won the Best Soundtrack in a Feature Film or Theatric Documentary category while the Best Song or Composition in a Television Production was awarded to Brendan Jury. Jeremy Loops won Best Song or Composition in a Television Commercial and Alun Richards received the Best Song or Composition in a Radio Commercial awards. This is another unique feature of the WMAs which seek to also recognise excellence in composition and song-writing for music used in television, film and advertising. Writers and composers were not the only winners at the WMAs, Universal Music won the Statistical Award for Broadcast and Live performance, which is judged purely on the statistical information available at SAMRO. 

The recipients of the Special Awards were announced last week to the media. This was the first time the WMAs announced the Special Award recipients prior to the awards ceremony. Xitsonga music legend, Dr Thomas Chauke received the Lifetime Achievement Award, Kalawa Jazmee Records founder and jazz legend, Don Laka was honoured with the Prolific Catalogue of Works Award and internationally acclaimed Jonathan Butler received the Breaking Through the Borders award.  

These legends also gave spectacular performances during the night and while Jonathan Butler couldn’t be there on the night, the WMAs organised a special performance by him supported by the WMAs band.

“South African song-writers, composers and producers are making great strides in raising the profile our industry domestically and abroad. This is what we at SAMRO are celebrating; the people behind the scenes that are making a difference and shaping the musical landscape. They are part of the driving force moving the music business forward, without them there would be no music. Today we acknowledge their work and celebrate with them.” Dlamini said.

Performances from  Kabelo  Mabalane, Reason, Berita and Mi Casa were a true testament of the creativity and talent possessed by South African musicians. Demonstrating that a new generation of music composers, lyricists and songwriters are more than qualified to carry on the legacy started by the likes of Jonathan Butler, Don Laka and Dr Thomas Chauke.