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MAMA Awards make a comeback

By Elly Gitau
Thursday, November 26th, 2020
In summary

Once billed as the continent’s biggest awarding event, the MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs) are back after a four-year hiatus.

The awards were established in 2008 by MTV Networks Africa to celebrate the most popular contemporary music in the continent.

The 2008 and 2010 events took place in Nigeria, with the 2009 event going down in Nairobi.

After these three initial events, the award went on a three-year break, returning in 2014 and 2015 in Durban, South Africa and 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

However, MTV Africa and MTV Base have announced the return of the continental premier award show in 2021, this time happening in Kampala, Uganda.

The event will be held in a re-imagined virtual format on February 20, and will be broadcast on MTV Base (DStv Channel 322) and MTV (DStv Channel 130).

The repeat show will also be aired on BET Africa, BET International and MTV channels across multiple continents as a one-hour MAMA-themed MTV World Stage feature.

“We are excited to bring this amazing showcase to audiences across the continent and globally with an innovatively re-imagined awards show and celebration. 

"Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, content production has embraced innovation as the new gold and we are excited to take Africa to the world and showcase its immense talent and culture as we stage the biggest music awards show on the continent," said ViacomCBS Networks Africa Senior Vice President and GM Monde Twala.

The ceremony will feature vibrant performances from leading African and international artistes and will also showcase some of the biggest cross-genre and cross-border collaborations.

It will celebrate African talent across 20 award categories, including Best Male, Best Female, Best Song, and Best Collaboration.

The contribution of artistes from Portuguese and French-speaking Africa will also be recognised in the Best Lusophone and Best Francophone categories.

Additional new categories included are the MAMA Generation Change Award, Best Fan Base, Alone Together Best Lock-down Performance and Personality of the Year.

Hollywood-based Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o and music acts Nameless, Wahu and Sauti Sol are past winners of the MAMAs.