East Africa shut in the cold at MTV Africa awards


Lupita Nyong’o was only recently introduced to the American audience ...

The highly-anticipated MTV Africa Music Video Awards (MAMAs) were held on Saturday night in Durban, South Africa.

Surprisingly, although they call themselves East Africa’s biggest, both Bebe Cool and Chameleone were nowhere near the nomination list. The only Ugandans nominated were Radio and Weasel, for appearing on Kenyan songbird Amani’s Kiboko Changu, which was vying for the Best Collaboration gong. The rest were Nigerians and South Africans.

But many still held a lot of hope in the ‘single’ nomination, expecting to pull off what Mathew Nabwiso did at the film awards two years ago. All this came to crumble when that award went to South Africa’s Uhuru and his Angolan counterpart Oskido for their danceable Y-tjukutja hit.

But it’s not only Uganda that was crushed: Tanzania, whose Diamond was also vying for the same, was equally hurt, as, of course, was Kenya. Many fans took to social media to declare their dissatisfaction with the awards show, some branding it a ‘fraudulent’ Nigeria/South Africa affair. The awards, a brainchild of the entertainment channel MTV Base, recognise youth culture, music and achievement across 18 categories.

A poignant moment during the ceremony was dedicated to the late President Nelson Mandela. Rasty, a well-known African street artist, created a moving time-lapse video portrait to honour Mandela, featuring an acoustic performance from Afro-soul artist Simphiwe Dana of her song “Acapella.”

The top winners of the night were Nigerians Davido and Tiwa Savage who both walked away with the top male and female accolades respectively. Renowned video director, Clarence Peters, too, had a fantastic night as he picked up both the Best video and the Transform Today awards.

Lupita Nyong’o, through a video message, accepted the personality award: “Thanks Africa for always supporting me.” The Kenyan actress beat competition from Nigerian actress Jalede Omotola and author Chimamanda Adichie, and Ivorian footballer Yaya Toure. The awards were marking their comeback after a three year hiatus.


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