There are a total 36 categories awarded (these categories change from year to year to accommodate changes in music styles and genres)
Top 5 awards (Album of the year, Best Newcomer, Best Female artist, Best male artist, Best group)
The top 5 was first introduced in 1995 with the album of the year introduced in 2007
The first artist to win album of the year was Simphiwe Dana
Adjudication process starts in September
Nominees are announced end of March
Only citizens and permanent residents of South Africa are eligible for nomination.
Before the adjudication process, a Supervisory Committee is set up
Judges consist of: journalists, critics, musicians, producers and academics
The judges remain anonymous to avoid judges influencing each other
SAMAs have 3 judging phases
1st Phase the Committee determine the categories, rules and criteria for entries
2nd Phase receiving of entries, results of entries and auditing
3rd Phase top 3 entries from each genre is selected
The 1995 Best Female artist: Brenda Fassie, Best Male artist: Jabu Khanyile, Best New Comer: Soweto String Quartet
Arthur Mafokate on stage defiance forced organisers to introduce the Kwaito Award in the following year. In group Boomshaka recreated and performed a funky South African National anthem which caused a public backlash.
In 2001 Brenda Fassie was seen fighting with Mandoza over an award Mandoza but Brenda Fassie demanded it as hers.
SAMAs 22 became the first awards show to broadcast using virtual reality
Bob Mabena the veteran radio and tv presenter is the oldest host to have presented the awards at 50 years of age.
Suncity the venue where SAMAs are held was also built in the 90s
Suncity has always been a home for the SAMAs except for only 3 years in 25 years which were held somewhere else.
The actual award is gold-plated statuette
First ever awards were held in Alberton Civic Centre
The SAMAs have only been held in 3 places which are ICC in Durban, Alberton Civic Centre and Suncity.
Mafikizolo is the only music group/artist to have won 2 Album of the year awards