Johannesburg, South Africa: the fourth year for the South African Metal Music Awards has kicked into full swing with the ceremony date set for 01 July at Rumours Rock City in Gauteng (join the event here). The objective of this annual awards ceremony has been to identify and merit South African metal bands who have excelled in the previous year, and thus the SAMMA 2017 will celebrate accomplishments within the date range of 01 January 2016 and 31 December 2016.
Accomplishments which will be recognized include music videos, singles releases, EP and album releases, and recognition for live performance as well as noteworthy newcomers. 2017 maintains the same set of categories – which naturally also serve as umbrella categories for the various affiliated and sub genres – from the previous year which includes recognition for the best Death Metal, Thrash Metal, Black Metal, Core Metal and Alternative Metal, with a new inclusion for this year also recognizing the best Progressive Metal band, since the sub-genre has grown significantly enough in recent years to be split from Alternative Metal.
Determining the outcome: three independent bodies
The SAMMA has adopted a very open stance since last year, including to publish an operations manual (can be seen/downloaded here) for public scrutiny which describes the procedures and rules in detail. by setting up three bodies which function independently of each other and perform specific functions which do not overlap.
Last year was the first year where the SAMMA Operations Manual was implemented, and included the recognition and enforcement of three independent bodies tasked to engage the various challenges attached to such a concept. Those bodies are: The Organizer, The SAMMA Panel, and an Independent Observer.
The Organizer for 2017 has changed from the hands of the SAMMA founders, Brandon Bernardo and Musa Mntambo, and now rests in the hands of Sashquita Northey of Emalyth (responsible for the annual Arts Expo festival, plus the 2017 Wacken Metal Battle South Africa). The Organizer as a body is separated from The SAMMA Panel and is denied of any participation in the nominations or the final adjudication process, but handles the administration of the concept under full exposure to the Independent Observer, and is responsible for planning and execution of the ceremony.
The SAMMA Panel for 2017 retains some members from last year, including Sammy Slabbert (photographer & media at The Metalist) from Johannesburg and Zain Domo (booking agent at The Unscene & ROAR live music venue) from Cape Town. Panelists joining for the first time in 2017 include Duncan Bell (CEO at Turning Tricks Entertainment) from Johannesburg, Lav Nadlall (writer at The Metalist) from KZN/Johannesburg, Heidi De Villiers (writer/photographer at Kontrast) from Krugersdorp, Matthew Howes (sound engineer, well known from Burn and Red Door venues) from Durban and Christiaan ‘LordBoo’ Bronkhorst (well-known music enthusiast and event organizer) from Middelburg.
Each of the seven panelists has been required to acknowledge the SAMMA 2017 Panel Members Oath based on the principles of the SAMMA.
The role of Independent Observer has fallen once again to the hands of M4A Editor in Chief, Patrick Davidson, and this body ensures that all of the steps contained within the Operations Manual are followed correctly, to root out any invalid nominations or transgressions against the rules, and to keep the public informed of crucial developments and updates for the sake of transparency. The Independent Observer as a body is separated from The SAMMA Panel and The Organizer, and is denied of any participation in the nominations or the final adjudication process. However, each aspect of the SAMMA is open to full disclosure to the Independent Observer which must oversee that the process operates according to the operations manual. The Independent Observer is contactable by members of the public: metal4africa(at)gmail(dot)com.