Celebrating the best in Africa

2014-06-09 00:00

SATURDAY night’s glitzy MTV Africa Music Awards (Mamas) ceremony was marred by sound issues in the ICC Arena in Durban.

Fans seated in the upper tiers of the raked seating were left feeling frustrated as they struggled to hear the on-stage speeches and even the video inserts flighted on the big screens.

Host Marlon Wayans, who arrived on stage on a blinged-out rickshaw, also managed to make some embarrassing mistakes.

He mispronounced Mafikizolo as ‘Mafikizulu’, and described the ceremony as the MTV Africa Movie Awards, rather than the MTV Africa Music Awards.

But the star of movies like White Chicks and the recent Haunted House 2, redeemed himself when he told the crowd and those watching on television that he was excited to be in South Africa and that Durban was a beautiful place.

“I’m honoured and excited to be here … there are 500 million people around the world watching this right now,” he added.

Music fans across the world were able to see South African musicians Mafikizolo, house music group Uhuru — which consists of Maporisa, DJ Clap, Xelimpilo and Mapiano, and Nigerian superstars Davido and Clarence Peters, win big at the Mamas.

Mafikizolo were named Best Group and also took home the coveted prize of song of the year for Khona, which featured the talents of Uhuru. The group were also nominated for Artist of the Year and Best Collaboration. Accepting the award for Song of the Year, Nhlanhla Nciza thanked their fans for sticking with them “from day one”. Her partner, Theo Kgosinkwe, meanwhile, thanked MTV Base for giving “African artists a platform to celebrate the music of Africa”.

Davido won the prizes for Best Male and Artist of the Year; Uhuru was recognised for Best Collaboration for Y-tjukutja, which featured Oskido, DJ Bucks, Professor and Yuri da Cunha; and music video director, filmmaker and cinematographer Peters won two awards, the new Transform Today by Absolut Award and Best Video.

Kenya’s Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave) took home the award for Personality of the Year, beating South Africa’s Trevor Noah, Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Omotola Jalade and Yaya Toure from Cote d’Ivoire.

The inaugural MTV Base Leadership Award was won by Tanzanian entrepreneur Ashish J. Thakkar. Nominee for this award, Dr Sandile Khubeka, who works at Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, told The Witness on the red carpet that he was delighted to be attending the awards ceremony. “I’m having a lot of fun,” he added.

The young doctor completed his degree at the age of 20, and attained a distinction in obstetrics and gynaecology.

During the ceremony Grammy winner Miguel took to the stage with Ghana’s Sarkodie; South African acts Khuli Chana, the Arrows, Beatenberg and Big Nuz all performed snippets from their hits; American R’nB superstar Trey Songz had the crowd going wild when he performed a selection of his songs, including Nana, before throwing his jacket into the crowd; and Ladysmith Black Mambazo brought the house down with their unexpected mash up of Acappello and Y-tjukutja. Another highlight of the evening was an acoustic guitar tribute to Nelson Mandela by Afro-Soul star Simphiwe Dana, who performed in front of video artwork by street artist Rasty.

American hip-hop star French Montana, who attended with his girlfriend, Khloé Kardashian, closed out the event with Pop That, Freaks and Ain’t Worried About Nothin!

Glitches aside, most of those who headed to Durban for the event — which was hosted by the KwaZulu-Natal Province and supported by Absolut and the City of Durban — felt the event was a fantastic advert for the continent’s music talent.

Speaking afterwards, Alex Okosi, senior vice president and managing director for Viacom International Media Networks Africa, said: “Tonight’s Mama was truly spectacular and a true testament to the passion, commitment and creativity of contemporary music, youth culture and achievement on the African continent.”

Desmond Golding, head of the Department of Economic Development and Tourism in KZN added, “The MTV Africa Music Awards KwaZulu-Natal has fulfilled all its great promise in terms of spectacle, star power and bringing the eyes of the world on to our great province.”


Best Male: Davido (Nigeria)

Best Female: Tiwa Savage (Nigeria)

Best Group: Mafikizolo (South Africa)

Best New Act: Stanley Enow (Cameroon)

Best Live Act: Flavour (Nigeria)

Best Collaboration: Y-tjukutja, Uhuru featuring Oskido, DJ Bucks, Professor and Yuri Da Cunha (South Africa/Angola)

Best Hip Hop: Sarkodie (Ghana)

Best Alternative: Gangs of Ballet (South Africa)

Best Francophone: Toofan (Togo)

Best Lusophone: Anselmo Ralph (Angola)

Artist of the Year: Davido (Nigeria)

Song of the Year: Khona by Mafikizolo featuring Uhuru (South Africa)

Best Video: Clarence Peters (Nigeria)

Best Pop: Goldfish (South Africa)

Best International: Pharrell

Personality of the Year: Lupita Nyong’o (Kenya)

MTV Base Leadership Award: Ashish J. Thakkar (Tanzania)

Transform Today Award by Absolut: Clarence Peters (Nigeria).

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