ZCC gospel music artists have trashed the South African Music Awards for what they call discrimination against their genre. The SAMAs last week announced their nominees and there was no recognition of the musicians.

ZCC gospel musician, Simon Makgatholela, says while the SAMAs are celebrating 25 years of existence, they have experience 25 years of discrimination from the music rights body.

“We have suffered a lot and we cannot allow the situation to continue. We are deciding to stand together and fight this now.”

The group includes long-serving artist like Makgatholela, Kenny Makweng, Ronee Sathekge, Connie Lamola and Mpho Thosago among others.

Makweng says that this is the only way that they can get the recognition they need.

“United we stand. This is a good cause for our music and this is the only way we can get the recognition we need. I fully support this initiative.”

The group says it is sad that the legends that have paved the way for such a big genre, but widely undermined, never had the opportunity to be recognised for their contribution to the industry. Artists such as Oleseng Shuping, Nkosana Kodi, and Mojeremane Xale, who have all passed away, leaving a rich legacy behind, are widely recognised as the pioneers of this genre.

They claim the first time Nkosana was ever mentioned by the RiSA and his name made to the SAMA event was when they sent condolences to his family and paid tribute to him in 2014, a few months after he had passed on.

“Which was painfully like recognising someone who had never existed in the first place,” reads in part the statement released by the group of musicians.

The group is demanding answers from the SAMAs and have launched an online petition which is being widely shared online.

They say this is the first stage of their attempt to get answers before the main event takes place at the Sun City resort on 31 May and 01 June.

The artists threaten that failure to respond will force them to move to the second stage of the campaign to get the attention and response from the body.