In celebration of Africa Month, the 22nd Annual South African Music Awards is posthumously honouring music legends Nana Coyote and Bhekumuzi Luthuli, as well as folk rock icon Roger Lucey, with Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Ahead of the 22nd Annual South African Music Awards on Saturday the 4th June 2016 at the Durban ICC, organisers RiSA have unveiled the list of industry pioneers to pay homage to the depth and richness of South Africa’s music heritage.
The late Nana Coyote was born Tsietsi Daniel Motijoane in 1955, and sadly passed away in 2010 – but not before making a strong imprint on the South African music scene with his distinctive growling vocals and electrifying live performances. His signature throaty howls would earn him the nickname “Coyote”, which fans took one step further – dubbing him “The Wild Dog”.
As a young man, Coyote entered professional music with Sharpeville outfit Black Five before going into exile in Lesotho in 1980. There, he joined the group Uhuru, now known as Sankomota.
His big break came when the group Ozila asked him to sing on their hit I’m Suffering, which was followed by an equally successful duet with Steve Kekana on Take Your Love, considered a South African classic. Soon afterwards, Ray Phiri asked Coyote to sing on the Stimela track Whispers in the Deep, which went on to become a massively popular chart-topper.
Therafter, he became a familiar face in the Stimela line-up and sang on a number of the band’s albums, including as lead singer, while also purusing a successful solo career. As a live performer, his credits include performing alongside the O’Jays, Eric Clapton, Joan Armatrading and the Commodores.
Roger Lucey (born 1954) is a singer-songwriter, journalist, filmmaker, actor and educator whose career as a budding musician was cut cruelly short by the security police in the early 1980s when his protest songs were deemed a threat to the apartheid regime: his voice was effectively silenced.
Such was the devasating effect on Lucey that he was reduced to working as a doorman and barman at one of the venues where he had performed at the height of his career.
He went on to work as a roadie and sound technician and covered international war zones as a WTN news cameraman for 10 years before calling it quits, suffering from post-traumatic stress. This highly regarded and much-loved folk music troubadour went on to pubish a memoir, Back in From the Anger, and recently made a long-awaited music comeback with Now is the Time, his first studio album in 30 years.
Lucey still performs regularly and currently divides his time between his teaching work in North Carolina and his hometown of Cape Town.
Bhekumuzi Luthuli remains one of South Africa’s biggest-selling maskandi musicians ever, who sold more than a million records and notched up almost a dozen platinum and double platinum releases. He died, aged just 48, in 2010.
Born in the KwaZulu-Natal town of KwaMaphumulo, near Stanger, he showed early musical promise as a boy when he began making traditional Zulu music on a home-made guitar. Luthuli joined Durban-based mbaqanga band Oshimi in the early 1980s, parting ways with them after two albums to forge a successful solo career.
He could hardly have imagined quite how successful he would become, however: the prolific maskandi king won SAMA Awards as well as many other accolades, and notched up the incredible feat – almost unheard of for a South African musician – of selling a million units over the course of 23 albums.
One of South Africa’s true music superstars, Luthuli was known for telling beautiful stories through his songs, making an enduring contribution to the country’s traditional music canon.
Black Coffee is the recipient of the International Achievement Award.
The Lifetime Achievement and International Achievement awards will be presented during the 22nd Annual South African Music Awards, to be held at the Durban ICC on Saturday 4 June 2016. The ceremony will be broadcast live on SABC1 from 8pm. Tickets for the live spectacle are available at Computicket, starting at R350.