2016 Music awards

Visit Wawela Website

South African Music Rights Organisation


  • The Beat Bulletin
  • August 2014

Dear Music Creators,


Over the last 20 years South Africa's social, economic and political spheres have drastically transformed, and so has music. As we celebrate 20 years of freedom and democracy in our country, we have dedicated this issue to also celebrating 20 years of music, and we look at South Africa’s music journey since 1994. 

We speak to DJ Christos, whose contribution to the South African music industry has played a significant part in putting SA music on the global map. Christos takes us through the SA journey in dance music and helps us capture some of the most interesting moments of the last 20 years in the music industry. 

We take you through the SAMRO journey, highlighting our role and influence in music since 1961.

We are also excited to announce the winners of the second annual Wawela Music Awards. The awards recognise and celebrate SAMRO members - composers, authors, lyricists and publishers - that have lit up international and local stages, screens and airwaves with their dazzling talent. 

We hope that you will find this issue of The Beat Bulletin, informative and engaging. 

Would you like to be profiled in a future newsletter? Do you have any news that you would like to share with fellow SAMRO members? Please contact us at online@samro.org.za – we look forward to your comments and ideas for possible inclusion in The Beat Bulletin.



Yours in music,

Tiyani Maluleke

General Manager: Marketing 



In this issue


South Africa's music scene has come of age in 20 years of freedom and to celebrate this, Beat Bulletin spoke to the legendary DJ Christos, who has been a member of SAMRO since 1990.

He spoke about how the South African music scene has evolved and also shared some tips from his industry notebook.

 You made your mark in the music industry 20 years ago, when you launched Kalawa Records with Oskido, what inspired you to launch the record company at that time?  

When we started Kalawa there was no dance music.  The only popular musicians were Chicco and Brenda. The rest were one hit wonders. We launched Kalawa to make a difference. We focused on producing dance music and launching artists to produce diverse music. We did very well, launching some of South Africa’s big names including Boom Shaka, Busi Mhlongo and Joe Nina among others. 

With Kalawa we were relevant, producing music for South Africans. However my interests were in expanding our market reach, and I was more interested in the interpretation of music, and expanding our reach by producing music that could attract an international audience. So, in 1999, I launched Kitsaitis Records. I let go of Kalawa to focus on Kitsaitis Records five years ago. I launched it to introduce a different genre - deep house. 

Describe the South African music scene 20 years ago? 

In 1994, South African music was non-existent, it was a dying breed. We were just playing Chicco and Brenda, and deep jazz, beyond that we had nothing.  Looking back, it’s amazing how far we have come.  South African music has achieved a lot, and has evolved a lot since the days of Brenda and Chicco. The late 90s saw the emergence of various new artists. 

Then Oskido, DJ Fresh, Greg Maloka and I started the Southern African Music Conference, which became a platform for skills development for young people. We groomed young talented and upcoming musicians, including the likes of Black Coffee who has put South African music on the global map.

Five years after Black Coffee was involved with us he became a hit. This proved that the skills development programme was a success. In no time, South African deep house and dance music were in demand.

Looking at the international music scene today, South Africa accounts for at least 40 per cent (www.tracksource.com) of dance music consumed worldwide. Within a decade, we have seen a massive consumption of SA dance music globally. This is presenting a lot of work and opportunities for talented young artists. 

These are things the youth ought to know. There are opportunities for talented young people in the dance music scene, and there is a market for SA dance music globally, because of the quality of dance music that we produce. 

What’s changed in the way music is being made today? 

The quality of music in the 90s was good, it had substance, artists invested in music videos, they spent money on it and they did it right. They invested in live instrumentals and the music quality was good. 

Today, everything is done digitally, there are very few artists recording with live instrumentals. Creating music has become more  convenient and faster and as a result we’ve seen a lot of artists come out in this era than 20 years ago, but there is a huge difference in the quality of the material being produced.

 My belief is that in music there must be something for people to take away, something that will build, or comfort, or allow people to learn something, and there must be a positive message; whatever you say there must be something positive in it, whether it’s sad or happy there must be learnings for the listener. 

What has been the impact of technology on music over the last 20 years?

When we started in the 90s, we were walking around with vinyl and LP records and cassettes. For a DJ that was a lot of work. It was just not physically possible to carry more than 20 records at a time, carrying all that around was heavy, at any given time you had over 20kgs of luggage to carry around to play at a gig.

Just to get the vinyl pressed to begin with was a mission, because we didn’t have a vinyl plant in South Africa and had to send it to Zimbabwe to get it pressed, and so it was really quite an expensive exercise. Making music was also expensive. To get into studio to record would cost at least R30 000, just to kick off. That is the equivalent of a couple of hundred thousand rand today.  

Technology has made making music a lot cheaper and easier. Today, all you need is a PC and software to kick off, and with about R10 000 you can start recording. With a memory stick that weighs less than 500g, you can play an entire gig. 

What has competition been like in the industry? 

Back in the day, we were stuck with the major record labels, the big companies dominated and monopolised the space. In the late 90s a lot of independent labels started emerging, and today out of the 20 that were there, they’ve been swallowed up by the dominating .There are a number of independent labels that have sustained for various reasons. In this industry, people tolerate each other, because if you are good at what you do, you work together with other people, whether or not they are your competitor. 

The future of music 20 years from now?

Over the next five to six years we will get to a point where music is given away for free online. Artists will make money out of performances, events or selling merchandise, and not the actual music sales, given that even the music that’s being sold is still being shared. South African music is flying the flag high and we are making inroads in the international market. 

What advice would you give to up and coming musicians? Register your works with SAMRO it pays, and don’t do it when you have released that big hit, do it even at the idea phase. A lot of musicians release big hits that get great air play and nothing else to show for it because they never register their works, and a lot of the time you find that it’s not that they don’t know, they are just too lazy to do the admin, and just can’t be bothered. The reality is that admin must be done, and once it’s done it pays. 



SAMRO administers the music copyright of those talented creators who churn out the sizzling sounds we love listening to - composers, authors, lyricists and publishers.

Established in 1961, SAMRO's role has been dynamic, particularly in the past 20 years. Today, there are many more ways to listen to music than there were two decades ago. Technology has made it easier to make, listen, distribute and sell, as well as reproduce and copy music. There are also many more businesses that play music to please their customers and employees. Music is everywhere. If it’s not where you are yet, it will get there soon enough, be it legally via an app or illegally via piracy. Making sure those who create the music get their fair share of the pie has certainly become more complicated in the modern age. 

Transformation and new leadership

SAMRO was founded by Dr Gideon Roos and the Roos family for a long time played a key role in running it. Dr Roos’ son Paul was at a point the CEO and his other son, Gideon Roos Jnr, was the executive director. This changed in 1997 when the Roos family took a decision to step down and’ resigned their positions. Rob Hooijer took over the reins as CEO and invested in grooming the next generation of CEOs. In 2006, he stepped down to make way for Nicholas Motsatse, the first black CEO in the organisation’s history. Last year, Deputy CEO Sipho Dlamini moved into the CEO position. 

Golden jubilee and new legal status

SAMRO celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011 and from 1 May 2013, the organisation ceased to be a company limited by guarantee and became a not-for-profit company in terms of the new Companies Act No 71 of 2008 as amended (the Act).

New premises

Having grown over the years, in 2007, SAMRO relocated from 73 Juta Street to its current premises at SAMRO Place, at 20 De Korte Street in Braamfontein. These offices offer excellent access and facilities as well as more space to house the team of experts needed to drive the organisation to its next level of growth.

Upgraded IT and business systems

In keeping with the times, in 2013 SAMRO adopted a new IT system to make it far simpler for members, to interact with the organisation. The system provides several new benefits to members and facilitates integration, all of which was not possible before. Some of the key functionality includes the web portal that provides 24-hour online access to member accounts, the ability to notify works and performances online, as well as access to historical distribution information.

Growing talent

In its role as a leading music rights organisation, SAMRO helps ensure that the music industry, and all working in it, remains healthy and thriving. This includes helping to ‘grow’ new talent. 

Over the past 20 years, SAMRO, through the SAMRO Foundation has awarded a total of 1552 SAMRO Music Bursaries, including 34 overseas scholarships and 96 bursaries that were awarded this year.



SAMRO pays tribute to all its licensees that have consistently paid their licence fees during the past 20 years.

Not all licensees are the same. A radio station that plays dance hits is quite different to a restaurant that makes use of background music. So, different kinds of businesses need different types of licences. The fact remains that licensees that pay their  licence fees make all the difference in ensuring that the music industry remains in good health. SAMRO licensees include broadcasters such as radio and TV stations.

The list of licensees also extends to various types of venues that provide music entertainment for their patrons. Throughout the years, venues have come and gone; some have closed their doors and others have only just recently registered with SAMRO. 

A host of restaurant, clubs, shopping malls, wedding venues and mobile DJs also pay their fees conscientiously.

Thank you for the music

Acquiring a music usage  licence from SAMRO gives music users permission to play music publically at their businesses or venues. The money collected from these  licences is passed on in the form of royalty income to the creators of music. 

“It is only fair that music creators get rewarded for the hard work and creativity that goes into making the tunes that make your business better,” says Sipho Dlamini, SAMRO CEO.

“As laid out in the Copyright Act, if the music you play isn’t written, created, performed and recorded by you, it belongs to whoever created the music. And if you benefit from playing the particular music, you need to give the music creator something in return.”

Reasonable and fair

“We’ve been in music licensing since 1961 and we understand that  licences have to be reasonable and fair to everyone,” Dlamini adds.  “By paying your  licence fees you’re sending a positive message to SAMRO music creators, the people who create the soundtracks to the industry’s success.” 

He points out that SAMRO affiliation lends credibility to your business and can add to your profile when included on your websites and in marketing communication.

For more information on venue licensing click here 


The South African Copyright Act has been instrumental in the growth of creative works in nearly a century. South Africa's music story would not be complete without paying homage to it.

Copyright laws in South Africa were launched as early as 1910, after the creation of the Union of South Africa (present day Republic of South Africa). The Act was amended in 1916 when Parliament enacted the Patents, Designs, Trademarks and Copyright Act 1916, which incorporated the British Imperial Copyright Act 1911 into South African law. In 1928 South Africa became a party to the Berne Convention in its own right.

South Africa having become a republic in 1961, Parliament enacted the Copyright Act of1965, which was still largely based on the British Copyright Act 1956. In 1978, Parliament replaced the Act with the Copyright Act of 1978, which (as amended) remains in force. The Act has been amended several times, most notably in 1992 to make computer programs a distinct class of protected work, and in 1997 to bring it into line with international agreements.

The Copyright Act enables the right to control the use and distribution of artistic and creative works, in the Republic of South Africa. 

Given the nature of the works of artists and composers, the Copyright Act protects copying of works of artists and composers without permission, and their creative works. According to the Act, the author of an original copyright work can become the owner of copyright automatically created, provided that certain requirements are met.

The Act is automatically recognised in other countries that are members of the Berne Convention (currently more than 148 countries are members of the Berne Convention). Copyright is automatically conferred on a work that is eligible for copyright at the time when it is created, provided that certain requirements are met. The duration of copyright is relatively long and the term is different for different categories of works. For literary, musical or artistic works other than photographs, the term is the life of the author plus 50 years from the end of the year in which the author dies.  So copyright will remain with the artist for even 50 years after their death. 

In the case of sound recordings and published editions, the term is 50 years from the end of the year in which the recording or edition is first published. According to the Act, copyright infringement occurs when a person without the authorisation of the owner, does any of the acts reserved for the owner, for example by making a reproduction of the work. 

Indirect infringement can occur when a person without permission of the copyright owner, imports, sells, lets, by way of trade offers or exposes for sale or hire, or distributes for purposes of trade.  It can also happen if one permits a place of entertainment to be used for a public performance of a literary or musical work, where the performance constitutes an infringement of copyright. 

This means that the copyright owner can take legal action against any person who infringes copyright on their works. If infringement is established to have taken place, the copyright owner will be entitled to damages as compensation, as determined by a court of law. Over the years, there have been a number of copyright infringement cases across the world. The one thing to always keep in mind is to give credit to the original owner of the artistic work.

A popular copyright infringement case is the Vanilla Ice vs. David Bowie/Freddie Mercury Case, where Vanilla Ice, in his 1991 hit, Ice Ice Baby, sampled the song Under Pressure by David Bowie and Queen.  At first Vanilla Ice denied it. While facing a lawsuit by the duo, Vanilla Ice retracted the statement saying it was “a joke”, and confessed to sampling the work. 

The case was settled privately out of court with Ice paying an undisclosed sum of money and crediting Bowie/Queen on the track. Unfortunately that was the last major hit by Ice. Keep this in mind, copyright laws are there for a reason. Don’t use other people’s creative work, as copyright infringement cases can get very costly. Make licensing your friend, and get the relevant approvals to use the works of others.

Sources: South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL); CIPRO; 99Designs.com



The second annual Wawela Music Awards took to the stage recently to once again applaud South Africa’s finest musical contributors.

The star studded ceremony was hosted by the South African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) in a glittering event held in Johannesburg on Friday 27 June 2014.

The awards were launched by SAMRO in 2013 to provide a more inclusive showcase of all players in the music industry’s value chain. The second installment of the prestigious Wawelas once again went beyond the performers to award song writers and music publishers who add magic to the music at every stage of creation. 

“We at SAMRO are pleased to be able to play our part in celebrating South African musicians through the Wawela Music Awards, as the awards enable us to recognise some great behind the scenes contributors and works,” said Sipho Dlamini CEO of SAMRO. 

The second event attracted some big names both performing on the night and nominated in the various categories. Particularly among the special awards categories, where South Africa’s ground-breaking musicians shared the applause with legends from the past and present. 

Among those recognised was the legendary “King Don Father of Kwaito”, Mandla ‘Spikiri’ Mofokeng, who was honoured in the Prolific Category of Works Award. He was recognised alongside another driving force in SA music – Chicco Twala – who picked up the Wawela Lifetime Achievement Award for the huge strides he achieved in his lengthy career. Also honoured was 73 year old Ladysmith Black Mambazo leader and Grammy Award winner, Joseph Shabalala. He walked away with the Breaking Through the Borders Award, which he deservedly earned though his accomplishments promoting South Africa’s rich and diverse music abroad.

The standard category awards also recognised some stand-out musicians in a broad variety of genres and mediums. The notable winners include film score composer Philip Miller, who won Best Soundtrack in a Feature film or Theatrical Documentary  the second year running .  While Joe Niemand took home the Best song or Composition in a Television Production award. 

The big winner for night was composer, Adam Howard,  who received two awards in the categories Best Song or Composition in a Television Commercial  and Best Song or Composition in a Radio Commercial. 

Rapper HHP walked away with the Best Creative Album of the Year award for his album Motswafrika, while Sheer Publishing took home the honours as the Best Publisher of the Year. Songwriter of the Year went to Mi Casa for Heavenly Sent while The Muffinz were awarded the  Best South African Duo/Group award for their album Have You Heard. Singer-songwriter and poet Zahara walked away with the Best Female Artist & Composer/Co-composer and maskandi legend, Ihhashi Elimhlophe won Best Male Artist & Composer/Co-composer.

Nicholaas Labuschagne, completed the list of honours with the Statistical Award For Live Performance and Broadcast.

Among the legends who shared the stage were Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Sipho Hostix Mabuse and PJ Powers. Who proved their talent to be undiminished  as they thrilled the audience with their unmistakable sounds. 

The Wawela Music Awards also took the time to poignantly mark South Africa’s 20 years of freedom and democracy with a special musical tribute performed by Yvonne Chaka Chaka, together with Trenton and Free Radical in honour of Nelson Mandela. Chaka Chaka, PJ Powers along with nominated musicians Lindiwe Maxolo and Tarryn Lamb also honoured the memory of Brenda Fassie. Performing heartfelt renditions of some of her biggest hits including  Zola Budd, Weekend Special and Vuli’ndlela. 

Dlamini spoke of the importance of the occasion, saying, “As we celebrate 20 years of freedom, we are proud to celebrate the role of music in the fight to attain our democracy.”


Full list of winners 

Standard Awards

Best Soundtrack in a Feature film or Theatrical Documentary

Philip Miller

Best song or Composition in a Television Production

Joe Niemand

Best Song or Composition in a Television Commercial

Adam Howard

Best Song or Composition in a Radio Commercial

 Adam Howard

Best Creative Album of the Year


Publisher of the Year

Sheer Publishing

Songwriter of the Year

Mi Casa 

Best South African Duo/Group

The Muffinz

Best Female Artist & Composer/Co-composer


Best Male Artist & Composer/Co-composer

Ihashi Elimhlophe

Statistical Award for Live Performance and Broadcast

Nicholaas Labuschagne 


Special Awards

Breaking through the Borders Award  

Joseph Shabalala

The Wawela Lifetime Achievement Award

 Chicco Twala 

Prolific Catalogue of Works Award 

Mandla “Spikiri” Mofokeng 



As we celebrate 20 years of democracy we must not forget the role played by musicians and artists in making the journey a memorable one through music.

Here are some of the titles that made us smile, cry, but most of all inspired us to want a better South Africa. They gave us hope and comforted us during the times of turmoil and beyond:

1. Brenda Fassie – My black President
2. Lucky Dube – House of exile
3. Boom Shaka – Free 
4. Mzwakhe Mbuli – Peace in our land 
5. Yvonne Chaka Chaka – Motherland
6. Johnny Clegg – Asimbonanga 
7. Miriam Makeba – West Wind 
8. PJ Powers – Jabulani 
9. Vuyisile Mini - Naants indod emnyama Verwoerd
10. Enoch Sontonga - Nkosi sikeleli Africa 
11. Lady Smith Black Mambazo – Liph’ Iqiniso  
12. Stimela  - Khululani  and Whispers in the deep 
13. Joe Nina – Unchained
14. Hugh Masekela – Bring him back home
15. Vusi Mahlasela – When you come back
16. Sibongile Khumalo and Hugh Masekela – Songs of migration 
17. Bright blue – Weeping
18. Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse - Nelson Mandela
19. Koos du Plessis - Sprokie vir 'n stadskind
20. Bok van Blerk and Robbie Wessels - Ons vir jou Suid Afrika  


“It is music and dancing that make me at peace with the world.” Nelson Mandela.