2019 SATMAS brings to an end a controversial chapter in North West

When the curtains finally came down at the Mmabatho Conventions Centre on Sunday morning and the thousands of revellers who had come to enjoy the final round of the three-year spectacle of traditional music extravaganza coupled with a spectacular display of colourful attires by the audience, it also signalled the end of a contract in which the provincial government had spent millions of rands paid to an events management company residing from outside the province.

The Kwazulu Natal based Mageza Heritage Foundation previously operating as an NPO had been contracted to organise the annual South African Traditional Music Advancement Awards (SATMAs) celebration much against the wishes of local service providers who questioned the commitment of the provincial administration to developed and contribute towards local economic growth.
Like the annual Mahika Mahika show, the SATMAS have been clouded with a lot of controversy as locals complained that they were overlooked by both Mageza Heritage Foundation and the main sponsor, the North West Department of Arts, Culture, Sports and Recreation (ACSR) , previously known as CATA.
Departmental authorities had their handful trying to explain the reasons they had decided on several programmes affecting the different annual events.
The 2019 edition was the third in a row to be hosted by the North West Provincial Government. It was also the final instalment for the province, before the show is hosted by the Mpumalanga Province next year.
MEC for ACSR, Virginia Tlhapi literally walked into difficult challenges affecting the events and last week battled to satisfy all the artists when she met them in Klerksdorp.
She was quoted as having remarked after last weekend’s closing ceremony of the SATMAS that “The Satmas in our Province have been a success since we started hosting three years ago.
‘’We are proud to say that the awards have played a pivotal role in placing our arts and culture sector on the map not only in South Africa, but beyond our borders as well. The awards have always been part of our broader strategy to raise the bar on our arts scene and contribute to our economy by bringing revellers to our shores. We thank the organisers for working so well with the Provincial government.’’