by Isime Esene
For three years in a row, the MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs), arguably Africa’s biggest award show has moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, and one can’t help but wonder why? We’ve wanted that event back since it was first taken down to Zuma country. Many actually felt the event will go round Africa with Lagos, Jo’Burg, and maybe Nairobi getting their share of buzz.
We were dead wrong.
At an event organized to make the announcement, Alex Okosi, Senior Vice President & Managing Director at Viacom International Media Networks Africa, told a select group of media guys that the next event is for real talking place in Johannesburg on October 22 – following Durban.
Not good for Nigeria, especially not at this time when we can use some positive attention. We can desire the MAMAs all we want but we’ve got to take it for what it is – the MAMAs, just like any other world class, well organized show, costs money and the money has to come from somewhere. You don’t take care of about 600 people and beam your event to millions of people across the world by paying in patriotism – money has to talk and it has to talk big!
A few journos at the exclusive announcement were a bit disappointed that it isn’t coming home to Nigeria (yes, some of us take it as our own) but this may not happen anytime soon. We will lose to South Africa even more if the Nigerian government refuses to see the bigger picture by throwing its weight – if it truly has any – behind one of the best organized African award spectacle. The buzz, boost for our dying tourism industry, and the spotlight any Nigerian city (insert Lagos) gets from this engagement is what dreams are made of.
“We need a lot of support beyond our own means – we benefited from partnership with the Kwazulu-Natal government to stage the show in Durban, and now the city of Johannesburg is on board to help us stage this year’s event,” Okosi said, when asked about the choice of Johannesburg. “MTV Base at its core has been showcasing Nigerian talent globally. We have staged two MAMAS here and we want to hold more, but we need to get support.”
The visionary may dream all he wants but to showcase the best of African talent – you’ve got to get all the support you need. And Viacom is getting all the love from Joburg Tourism right now.
At the risk of getting accused of putting words in Okosi’s mouth, here’s what he means: If we get the kind of support we need from the government in Nigeria, we will stage the show again here in Lagos.
Hi Gov. Ambode, time to pick up the call.