South African singer, record producer and businessman Zakes Bantwini along with South African flautist, producer and composer Wouter Kellerman, and South African singer and songwriter Nomcebo Zikode made SA proud on Sunday, 5th February when their song “Bayethe” was awarded a Grammy Award for Best Global Music Performance. The collaboration resulted in the three artists attending the live event that was hosted at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles after being nominated.
Known as the biggest night in music, the Grammys are the premiere award show that recognises the best recordings, compositions, and artists – mostly in the United States, while also recognising music from all over the world through their Best Global Music Performance category. Staving off competition from the likes of fan favorite Burna Boy’s hit “Last Last”, the South African darlings made the country proud with their win. After winning the Grammy, Zakes shared how he met Wouter at the South African Music Awards, saying, “I think the beautiful story is we met with Wouter chatting about this at the South African Music Awards. So we met at the awards in South Africa talking about this particular moment, and today we’re at the Grammys. Come on!”
In his acceptance speech, Zakes made sure to emphasise that achieving one’s dreams in the music industry is possible and that his utmost gratitude goes to his collaborators. He said, “This award is not just for us, it’s for everyone back home. This moment is testament to the fact that our dreams are valid and we can accomplish anything we set our minds on. I want every young kid in the ghetto in South Africa to dream big and believe that we deserve to be recognised on the biggest stages in the world. Thank you to my team at IMG Africa, my collaborators Wouter Kellerman and Nomcebo Zikode, and everyone who’s been supporting us along this journey.” The Grammy award comes after a successful run in the South African music scene for Zakes Bantwini. In 2022, he won the South African Music Awards (Highest Airplay and Best Collaboration), a GQ Award for Musician of the Year, and a South African Social Media Award (SASMA) for Most Popular Song on South African Social Media for his hit single “Osama”.
Wouter Kellerman is no stranger to the Grammys as he has been nominated twice before, winning once prior to this latest win with Zakes Bantwini and Nomcebo Zikode. Kellerman was nominated for and eventually awarded the Best New Age album at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards held in 2015 for his 2014 collaborative album with Ricky Kej called Winds of Samsara. He was again nominated the following year for his 2015 album, Love Language, which he eventually lost.
Nomcebe Zikode has had a long and extensive career as a back up singer in the South African music industry. She has worked with gospel legends such Deborah Fraser, Lundi Tamayara and other well-known gospel artists. She then branched out and established herself as a singer, providing vocals for DJ Ganyani’s hit single “Emazulwini”. It is however the work she did with Master KG on the crossover hit “Jerusalema” that catapulted her into superstardom. She and Bantwini now join a group of esteemed South Africans who have won a Grammy – the list includes Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Soweto Gospel Choir and Black Coffee.