A first for South Africa is the much-anticipated MTV Africa Music Awards (Mamas) which will take place at the Durban International Conventional Centre (ICC), on Saturday, June 7. Brought to you by KZN Province and supported by Absolut, the Mamas celebrate the musicians and achievers who have had the most impact on African youth culture during the year.

The awards are open to all artists whose music videos were accepted for airplay on MTV Base or MTV between March 20 last year and March 19 this year.

Some of Durban’s nominees include Zakes Bantwini, Big Nuz, DJ Cndo, The Arrows, DJ Tira and Gangs of Ballet.

Tonight caught up with the Durban artists to find out what their expectations are.

Bantwini shares: “Obviously, I would like to win. I’m always hearing people say I’m the best live act on the continent and in the world so it would be nice to own something that speaks to that. It would be like a souvenir. With regards to my performance, I put a lot of work into it on stage and would like to have something that represents that hard work.”

As for the fashion side of things, the kwaito artist says: “I never really take it to that next level. I go to my wardrobe or usually just decide on the day. But most of the suits I have, I designed and also I collaborate with designer Navin Khoosal.”

As for Big Nuz, R Mashesha laughs when I ask him what he thinks of their chances of winning a Mama: “We are always positive that we’re going win. To us, it doesn’t matter if we win or not, as long as we are nominated, that’s good credits. But we will be performing.

“We grow every time we keep that element of surprise in our performance. If people know what’s going to happen, then it’s not much of a surprise. But we hope for a lot of energy.”

The Durban-based owner of Afrotainment, DJ Tira, reveals: “Well, we always gotta have faith. Maybe you can win, you never know, and it’s great to know it’s happening in our backyard and people will be voting so make sure you support it. We’re looking to get one, so hopefully we do.”

Of his performance at the event, he says: “They can expect a super performance with a lot of energy and good vibes. Expect a good time.”

As for Durban boys Gangs of Ballet, frontman Brad Klynsmith is stoked to be a part of the ceremony: “If I’m honest, it feels like the level in South Africa has jumped so much. We feel like we’re underdogs, which is good for South African music, because there’s so much great competition out there. We’re sincerely happy to be a part of the mix and recognised for an awards show like this. We’d be really amazed if we win and it would be such an achievement for us.”

Chatting about their attire for the event, Klynsmith says it’s not confirmed.

“We work with a local guy who has a clothing line called Sgt Pepper. He supplies Stuttafords and stuff. He’s from Durban and within a year, he exploded on to the fashion scene. He usually dresses us for all the awards so we will probably be wearing his clothes.”

The Mamas will see actor, producer and comedian, Marlon Wayans, as the host and US artists Trey Songz and Miguel will form part of the star-studded line-up.

• The Mamas, June 7, Durban ICC. R200 to R450 at Computicket. Visit www.mtvbase.com