JOHANNESBURG – At the end of every year, South Africa’s music industry looks forward to one key moment: the announcement of Song of the Year.
The country’s biggest radio station, the SABC-owned Ukhozi FM, has that honour.
Just before midnight every December 31, Ukhozi FM plays the cross-over track its listeners have picked for Song of the Year – and it rarely ever passes without controversy.
In 2017, Babes Wodumo’s smash hit ‘Wololo’ was the anthem, and many assumed it would be the song ushering in the new year but when Ukhozi FM’s results were in, the winner was a song 90 percent of the country swore they had never heard: ‘Van Damme’ by Mroza Fakude.
Fast forward this past December, and South Africa could not have been more split.
While the rest of the country was hitting the floor dancing to King Monada’s ‘Malwedhe’ of the idibala dance fame, Ukhozi FM said the song was not even in the top two but a distant third.
The 2018 Song of the Year honour, which comes with a brand-new car and R150,000 cash from SABC to the winner, went to Prince Kaybee featuring Busiswa for their hit, ‘Banomoya’.
In second place was ‘Eyadini’ by Maqonqo featuring Dason and Saviour Gee.
The results sparked a shocking internet reaction amid claims that Ukhozi FM’s eight million listeners, mainly Zulu-speaking, had voted on tribal grounds because King Monada is a Pedi from the northern Limpopo province.
Prince Kaybee was forced to wade into the row, saying in a January 1 tweet: “I don’t understand how #SongOfTheYear is about tribalism. 1st of all I’m not Zulu. I work very hard, no gimmicks, no hype but pure MUSIC! I love King Monada and his different style but unfortunately, I won. Let’s celebrate together as a country. I LOVE YOU LIMPOPO!”
Here is how South Africa voted, according to Ukhozi FM:
Song of the Year: Prince Kaybee feat Busiswa – Banomoya
Number 2: Manqonqo feat Dason and Saviour Gee – Eyadini
Number 3: King Monada – Malwedhe
Number 4: Dladla Mshunqisi ft. Professor – Amalukuluku
Number 5: Abathandwa – Moya Wami
Number 6: Master KG ft. Zanda Zakuza – Skeleton Move
Number 7: Vusi Nova – Asiphelelanga
Number 8: Mlindo The Vocalist – Macala
Number 9: DJ Websta feat Biggie – Obaleka
Number 10: Malumz on Decks & Gino Brown feat Mr Vince – Shayinumber