Zakes Bantwini, Nomcebo Zikode and Wouter Kellerman have won the hearts of South African celebrities as they praised them for winning a Grammy award for their collaboration on Bayethe.
The three won the award for Best Global Performance in the Global Music category at the 65th instalment of music’s most prestigious event, which took place on Sunday in Los Angeles.
They were nominated alongside Nigerian superstar Burna Boy for Last Last, Arogi Aftab and Anoushka Shankar for Udhero Na, Matt B and Eddy Kenzo for Gimme Love and Rocky Dawuni featuring Blyk H3ro for Never Bow Down.
Speaking about winning the award, Zakes Bantwini said he hoped it proved to all young South Africans that anything was possible.
“This award is not just for us, it’s for everyone back home. This moment is testament to the fact that our dreams are valid and we can accomplish anything we set out minds on. I want every young kid in the ghetto in South Africa to dream big and believe that we deserve to be recognised on the biggest stages in the world,” said Bantwini.
The musician, producer and businessman also thanked his team at IMG Africa, his collaborator and everyone who supported them along their journey to winning the award. Zakes Bantwini’s manager, business partner and long-time friend Sibo Mhlungu said the win was “incredibly special” for them.
“When Zakes and I started this company a year and a half ago, our goal was always to compete on the world stage,” he said in a press statement. “This moment didn’t come by chance – we prepared for it, and we spoke it into existence. Big congratulations are due to my team and everyone involved in this project; we’re definitely celebrating this one all year.”
Messages of congratulations for the trio also came from the political fraternity, with President Cyril Ramaphosa thanking the trio for their “brilliant contribution in placing South African on the world stage”.
The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture and KwaZulu-Natal provincial government – Zakes Bantwini and Nomcebo Zikode’s home province – congratulated Zakes Bantwini and Zikode, for their first-time win and Kellerman for his second win.
Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube said the trio’s award affirmed their local and international contributions to the music industry.
To the musicians, the department said, “South Africa is proud of the great work of art that you continue to churn out with excellence and high levels of creativity without compromising national identity and our beautiful story of a beautiful people, able to rise from the ashes of the past and rise to conquer against all odds”.
“We salute you on behalf of all the people of this, our beautiful country, South Africa.”
Dube-Ncube said the province was proud of Zakes Bantwini, who hailed from KwaMashu and Zikode, from Mpumalanga Township in Hammarsdale for flying the country’s flag high and putting on the province on the global music stage through their win.
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In an interview with News24, ahead of the awards, Zakes Bantwini said he was “very optimistic” they would come back with the award as he had “such a very positive vibe about it”. He added that more African acts were receiving recognition from the prestigious awards because they “now compete at that particular level”.
“It’s really amazing to witness that currently happening, but I think it’s because the world now realises and sees, so the world no longer wants us to fit the narrative. They want to listen to us as we are. You don’t need any American feature for your song to be regarded as one of the most popular songs. You have the likes of Burna Boy now with number-one songs in America, without any American feature, and it just goes to show that I think African music can now be able to stand alone and could be globally competitive and be appreciated by almost everybody,” said Bantwini.
Zakes Bantwini, Kellerman and Zikode’s win marks the tenth time a Grammy award will come home to South Africa. In 2022, South African DJ and music producer Black Coffee won the Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album for Subconsciously.