Isolezwe editor Mazwi Xaba receives a platinum disc from gospel star Sfiso Ncwane in the newsroom. The gospel singer has won several Crown Gospel Awards in previous years and wanted to express his gratitude to the newspaper and fans for the success of his album, "Baba Ngiyavuma".
A capacity crowd packed Durban's impressive ICC arena; anxious to see who would take the honours in 28 hotly contested categories.
The brainchild of former Ukhozi personality and high-profile businesswoman, Zanele Mbokazi, the awards were launched four years ago to promote the gospel genre and facilitate social upliftment and moral regeneration. Isolezwe
Editor, Mazwi Xaba, says, "It's an honour for Isolezwe
to be involved with an event which recognises performers who've worked so hard to achieve success. It's amazing to see how the Crown Awards have grown over the years, how we've grown together. They are now a truly national event and this time there were representatives from some of our neighbouring countries such as Mozambique. It's definitely bound to grow even bigger and possibly become a pan-African Gospel awards event. We're very proud of the association."
Although more accustomed to the written word, Xaba shared the stage with the host of Africa's biggest radio show, Ukhozi's Sbu Buthelezi, to present two awards.
"Music is a passion for our readers," says Xaba. "At Isolezwe
we cater for very broad tastes - from jazz, pop, R&B, house, maskandi, gospel, isicathamiya - it's all in the mix. But gospel is arguably number one among our readers. The latest DJ's feature prominently in our title but we also pay attention to the more traditional genres," says Xaba.
Every year Isolezwe
hosts a hugely popular Isicathimiya Festival during which 60 of the provinces top groups compete from dusk to dawn for the coveted "Cothoza neSolezwe" or Best Performer title. Isolezwe
sells an average of 106 734 copies every weekday throughout KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. The Sunday edition, Isolezwe ngeSonto
, sells 81 553 copies. A Saturday edition, Isolezwe ngoMgqibelo
, was launched at the end of August and has rapidly grown to sell an unaudited average of 55 400 copies a week.