The category celebrates musicians who demonstrate a deep commitment to Africa and its traditions, who are original and innovative in their art form. It also recognises leading vocalists and instrumentalists involved in traditional music, other than African, that contributes to the diverse tunes of our nation.

Sonti Mndebele

Sonti Mndebele has enjoyed a whirlwind career. After exile in Botswana she moved to Germany with the musical Sounds of Soweto where she met and performed with Donna Summer and Tina Turner. She moved to London to join Ipi Tombi in 1984 and met Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba, working with them for the next 9 years. She performed with Paul Simon on the Gracelands tour and live at the Grammy awards and has since worked with many well known artists. Sonti sang at Wembley Stadium to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 70th Birthday and 1990 release from prison. She  released her solo CD Back Where I Belong in South Africa in 2011.

Simphiwe Dana

Simphiwe Dana has become one of the most illustrious and talked about stars in the country; she enjoys sold out status at her concerts in venues in South Africa and abroad. Her first album reached platinum status and she is the winner of six SAMAS. Her influences include jazz, reggae, jive and traditional Xhosa music, which she fuses to form a style known as Modern African Soul. Her open letter to Steve Biko, penned to him on the 35th anniversary of his death, bear’s testament to her deep social conscience and concern for her homeland.

Yolande Visser

Yolande Visser is one of South Africa’s most ourageous performers! It was February 1, 2010, when online magazine Boing Boing first posted the music videos for Die Antwoord’s “Zef Side” and “Enter the Ninja.” Featuring an oddly comical interview with bandmates Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er the clips went viral, garnering the band’s website more than 15 million hits within the month. They also transformed the obscure “rap-rave” act from suburban Cape Town into the biggest pop sensation ever to come out of South Africa. The duo have since been signed to Interscope (home of Marilyn Manson and Lady Gaga) and have caught the attention of Hollywood.