The nominees for the landmark 20th Annual South African Music Awards were announced amid great excitement and anticipation at Sun International’s Carnival City in Ekurhuleni this morning.

David du Plessis, the Chief Operating Officer of the Recording Industry of SA (RISA), said this year’s event will be special in more ways than one: “Not only are we celebrating 20 years of South Africa’s premier music awards, we are also commemorating the country’s 20th anniversary of democracy.”

Du Plessis said that as a symbolic tribute to the first democratic elections, which were held on 27 and 28 April 1994, the SAMA 20 awards ceremony will take place exactly 20 years later, on 28 April 2014, at the Sun City Superbowl.

“Just as the country has evolved into a mature democracy over the past two decades, the SAMAs have also developed into the polished, professional and hotly anticipated industry event that they are today,” he added.

“This year’s crop of SAMA nominees perfectly encapsulate the rainbow nation in all its creative diversity and vibrancy. We are extremely proud to be sharing our 20-year milestone with the birth of the new South Africa as a nation.”

As always, all eyes will be on the Record of the Year category, which is determined by a public vote. The nominees for this award will be announced shortly, after which fans will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite song and artist of 2013. Prepare for a thrilling contest!

The Lifetime Achievement Awards, honouring the veterans and game-changers in the industry, will also be revealed prior to the awards ceremony.

The countdown to the 20th Annual SAMA Awards at Sun City on 28 April 2014 starts tonight with a bash of note at the official SAMA Celebration Party in Sandton, where Mzansi’s finest music makers of 2013 will come out to play – and dance the night away!

The nominees’ announcement and all the red-carpet glamour and excitement of the celebration party will be streamed live in real time on the SAMA 20 mobisite. For those who miss out on all the live action, packaged highlights will also be available for viewing on the mobisite (www.samatv.mobi) and on the official SAMA 20 YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/samusicawards).

For more information on SAMA 20, visit www.samusicawards.co.za. Get hold of the nominated albums now at iTunes.com/SAMA

The Annual South African Music Awards are organised by the Recording Industry of South Africa (RISA), a trade association of recording companies operating in South Africa.

Check out the nominees in the Gospel categories

• Best Traditional Faith Music Album
Andile KaMajola   Chapter 6 ujehova ungibiyele
Deborah    Umqhele
Lusanda Spiritual Group  Uhambo Lwam
Rebecca     Bayos’Khomba
Worship House    Project 10 Live in Limpopo, RSA

• Best Contemporary Faith Music Album
Benjamin Dube                          Renewal in His Presence with Benjamin
Dube
Judith Sephuma    The Experience Live in Concert
Nqubeko Mbatha  Sentiments of a Worshiper
Soweto Gospel Choir   Divine Decade
& Friends
We Will Worship    YHWH

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