South Africa targets local radio after Ladysmith Black Mambazo Grammy nominations

Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s Grammy nominations, announced Tuesday, have brought about a flurry of tweets criticising local radio.

The South African isicathamiya group was nominated for Best World Music for Shaka Zulu Revisited: 30th Anniversary Celebration as well as Best Children’s Album for Songs Of Peace & Love For Kids & Parents Around The World — but South Africans on Twitter have lamented the fact that the group’s music isn’t heard on local stations.

“The Grammy Awards stay recognising LadySmith Black Mambazo (sic),” wrote Twitter user @MrMenziN, referring to the band’s 15 other nominations and four wins, “but we hardly ever hear their music on our local radio.” In under two hours, the tweet had garnered 160 retweets and 200 likes.

“Same thing that is happening to Black Coffee foreign people love him but he’s own doesn’t show love at all (sic),” user @IamLesson replied.

The sentiment was echoed by other South Africans, with one user criticising how radio hosts have congratulated Ladysmith Black Mambazo, but “hardly play their music on air“.

Another encouraged the group to “let America show [them their] treasure”.

The issue is of minimal local content being played on radio stations is not a new one.

In 2016, Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng implemented a 90% local content quota for 18 of the broadcasting company’s radio stations. The move, however well-intended, had a negative effect on local artists when it brought about a R200-million loss in revenue.

But a lack of support often pushes local artists overseas. Ladysmith Black Mambazo will tour the US from January to March 2018.

Feature image: Joe Mabel via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0, resized)



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