Durban - South Africa was on show on Saturday night when half a billion people across the world tuned in to watch the fourth MTV Africa Music Awards. The awards, which were held at Durban’s International Convention Centre, were hosted by comedian and actor Marlon Wayans of White Chicks fame.

Showstopping performances by US musicians Miguel, French Montana and Trey Songz, who collaborated with African stars like Sarkodie, had the audience on their feet.

With more than 20 African countries represented at the awards, it was a musical feast that boasted the best of African talent.

Up for awards and performing on the night were South Africa’s Mafikizolo, The Arrows, Uhuru, Professor and Oskido; Nigerian superstars Tiwa Savage, Davido and Flavour; and Angola’s Yuri da Cunha.

The night belonged to Mafikizolo and Davido, who scooped two awards each. Mafikizolo got the coveted song of the year award for their smash hit, Khona, as well as the award for best group. Davido, who has a song with Mafikizolo and performed with them, won artist of the year and male artist of the year.

Durban rock band Gangs of Ballet won best alternative artist, while Uhuru ended a successful year with their hit song Y-Tjukutja winning best collaboration. Goldfish also made South Africa proud, winning the award for best pop.

Keeping Up with the Kardashians star, Khloe Kardashian, also attended the awards, accompanying her new boyfriend French Montana, who made a presentation. Other awards were presented by actresses Nomzamo Mbatha, Kajal Bagwandeen and Minnie Dlamini; Goldfish and DJ Fresh; comedians John Vlismas and Riaad Moosa; and Tottenham Hotspur’s Emmanuel Adebayor.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Tribune ahead of the awards ceremony, Trey Songz said he didn’t spend enough time in Durban in 2011, so he had to make up for it this weekend.

“It was an in and out thing for me. I performed and then I had to fly back to Joburg and leave South Africa. But this time, I plan on seeing Durban and the people and then giving an amazing performance, because I hardly ever get the chance to come here. So I need to give a performance so great that my fans don’t ever forget it.”

Alex Okosi, who is the senior vice-president of MTV Base’s parent company, Viacom International Media Networks, said Durban was the perfect choice for the awards.

“Durban is a progressive city and it’s serious about development and placing itself as a destination for events of an international standard. It has the infrastructure and the capacity needed to host events of such a high calibre.

“It made sense to bring the awards to Durban, especially after the MTV Africa All Stars concert, where we saw thousands of people fill up Moses Mabhida People’s Park to see African stars perform.”

Okosi also revealed why the awards were suspended for three years. “It costs money to organise these awards and we needed to be in partnerships with the host city for them to happen. We hosted the last edition of the awards in Lagos and it was time for them to come to South Africa, as we all know South Africa is a popular country and there is better infrastructure here too… Plus, we didn’t want them to seem like a Nigerian awards event. It’s a Pan African event.”

Sunday Tribune