Sama chief executive Nhlanhla Sibisi said: “Sizwe Zako, Dr Thomas Chauke and Ralph John Rabie [posthumously] are irreplaceable pillars in South African music and their significant contributions to the arts can never be underestimated and they are truly deserving of this honour."
The award is sponsored by Amstel, and carries a R15 000 cash prize.
“All three worthy recipients have shown that when you love what you do, and you take your time to be the best you can be, greatness is inevitable,” said Amstel Lager’s brand manager Lizeanne Kronk.
The Voëlvry movement was the “Boere Beatlemania” of the late 1980s, whose main proponents sported undeniably kitsch names like Koos Kombuis and Johannes Kerkorrel. But far from being incidental, this eccentric bunch of young Afrikaans artists became the voice of their generation when South Africa was pushed to the brink of collapse by apartheid. Under the Voëlvry banner, their goal was the emancipation of Afrikaner youth from the strictures of their authoritarian, patriarchal culture – to make it cool to be Afrikaans.
Kerkorrel's life has been celebrated in a wave of tributes following his untimely death at the age of 42 in 2002.
Gospel music producer Sizwe Zako is a household name throughout the Southern African region.
Zako has worked as a keyboard player, composer and producer for the likes of the late Vuyo Mokoena, Ebony, Pastor Khaya Mayedwa, Rebecca Malope and Peter Mokoena.
Dr Thomas Chauke has long been in the forefront of Shangaan/Tsonga music. In a career spanning over 32 years, he has released over 30 albums, which have earned him sales in excess of two million, and more South African Music Awards in the Tsonga Traditional category than any other musician.
Born in Salema Village, Limpopo, Chauke releases a new album every year. All his albums have reached gold, platinum or double platinum status.
Zako, Chauke and Kerkorrel will be honoured during the MTN Sama19 ceremony at Sun City on Friday May 10.