November 28, 2023

A hot mess!

Zanele Mbokazi says the awards are also to help document the journey of SA gospel music
Pictures: Supplied

Chaos is an understatement! That's one word you could use to describe the 16th annual Crown Gospel Awards which took place at FNB stadium over the weekend. It was the first year the awards were being hosted in Johannesburg after the Durban municipality ditched the Crowns for the SAMAs, which also never saw the light of day in the kingdom. The Crowns certainly had a lot to prove, by hosting a memorable event but they could have done better. Impressive, was the Crowns stage, which was black and gold glam. But, to say the awards were badly organised and seemed like a last-minute situation is the perfect description.


Held in a dome marquee in the middle of the stadium, one would describe it more of a tent with floors falling all over the set-up. The awards lacked the "Durban factor" with huge crowds of fans gathered outside and screaming for their favourite gospel singers. VVIP guests paid R2200 and VIPs R1200, which came with special seating and hospitality. Each guest was allocated a ticket number, but people sat everywhere. Paying guests had to endure the 'umsebenzi" plastic chairs arranged for them as the seating was chaotic. Oh, poor VVIPs suffered! Even SABC boss, Lala Tuku struggled to get a seat. Award-winner Dumi Mkokstad did not have a place to sit! Cabanga! Guests waited until midnight to be able to even get water. There was no water at the venue for VVIPs! If one was thirsty, they had to trot through the grass and buy a bottle for R20. Award-winning producer Mojalefa "Mjakes" Thebe almost collapsed from the thirst. According to another guest who was billed to give out an award, there was no clear communication. "No autocue, no confirmation of the times. I was called the night before and asked to announce an award. I agreed. I was not given a directive and so I sat in the crowd." Poor Sophie Ndaba was also called up from her seat to come and announce an award.





Thank the heavens it was not a live event because it would have been a disaster. What was meant to start at 8 pm, started around 10 pm. The Gauteng Department of Health MEC, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, expressed joy in having the awards in the province for the next seven years. However, the entertainment was outstanding, despite most of the awards being given to unknown stars from Gauteng. Jabu Hlongwane looked as young as he did 10 years ago, and he attended with his wife, who kept dozing off. Moja LOVE's Bishop Makamu attended with his gorgeous wife. Of course, Shauwn "Mamkhize" Mkhize came with her camera crew, who faffed over her every move as she changed from one ball gown to the next. The host Rorisang Thandekiso arrived looking amazing in a suit with her mom. Khaya Mthethwa excelled as co-host. Khaya Dladla looked dazzling in a sequin suit. Mihlali Ndamase was definitely angry for not getting the celebrity treatment she deserved on the carpet. As beautiful looking as the red carpet was, it was chaotic, with no order, and direction.

Hosts Khaya Mthethwa and Rorisang Thandekiso




My goodness! The VIP area looked stunning with different lounges and was safely guarded by an aggressive man in a typical Bheki Cele hat. We love it! He ensured that security was tight. As expected, zero alcohol at the bar, despite Jesus turning water to wine and Ecclesiastes 9 verse 7 saying: "Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favours what you do." Inceku made sure they sneaked in pre-mixes of GnT in squeeze bottles. But, asikho lapho!



The founder of Crown Gospel Music Awards, Zanele Mbokazi, said that the awards will be documenting its journey in the form of films. The first film will star Dr Rebecca Malope. Despite the chaos, the awards were fun, peaceful and unlike churchgoers know how to have some good sober fun. Hoping next year will be better. Check out the winners below:

Best Female

Sindi Ntombela

Best Male

Jumbo Album 3C

Best of Africa Gospel

Tsepo Lesola

Best Traditional

Butho Vuthela Song

Best Jazz song

Swazi Dlamini

Best Accapela

Yithi Laba

Gospel Singers Best Rap

Vovee and LG

Best Community Outreach

Letia Mawelane

Best Producer Producer

Khaya Mthethwa for 3C Live

Best New Comer (2 winners)

Sibusiso Nzima (KZN) and Soso Maholwana (Eastern Cape)

Best Clap and Tap

Spiritual Gospel choir

Best Gospel Itende

Londiwe Spe Nxumalo (Swaziland)

Best Video KingD Collaboration

Swazi Dlamini and Phutuma Tiso

Best Live Recording

Gershom Ntimane Group

Best Gospel Group

Thembisa Gospel Group

Best Worship Song

Collen Maluleke

Best Writer

Dumi Mkokstad

Best Classic

Joseph Tshawane

Best Contemporary

Mnqobi Nxumalo

Best Praise

Tebs David



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