Nigeria and South Africa dominate 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards

Stars of the African music industry came out in force on Saturday 18 July in Durban, South Africa for the fifth edition of the MTV Africa Music Awards. MAMA 2015 brought the continent together for a massive celebration of contemporary music and creativity, including electrifying performances, collaborations and awards presentations.

P-Square with one of the their two MAMA 2015 trophies.
P-Square with one of the their two MAMA 2015 trophies.

The big winners on the night included Nigerian stars Yemi Alade and Davido, who took home the Best Male and Best Female awards respectively, while South African hip-hop star Cassper Nyovest nabbed the Best Hip-Hop award, despite losing out in the same category to KO at the recent South African Music Awards (SAMA). Nigerian duo P-Square, recently named Nigeria's richest singers, won Best Group as well as Artist of the Decade.

Nigeria’s ‘Koko master’, D’Banj, won the MAMA Evolution award, a new category honouring established artists who have made an indelible mark on African music and taken it to new territories around the world. Another Nigerian star, Patoranking won Best New Act Transformed by Absolut, given in recognition of new and emerging artists. South African comedian and newly appointed Daily Show host Trevor Noah triumphed in the Personality of the Year category. Song of the Year went to Nigerian act Mavins’ ‘Dorobucci’.

As seems to be the general trend with the MAMAs every year, it was musicians from Nigeria and South Africa who completely dominated proceedings, winning in 13 of the 17 categories. This fact was not lost on African music fans, who took to social media following the awards to complain. Two exceptions to this trend were in the dedicated Best Francophone and Best Lusophone categories, where DJ Arafat (Ivory Coast) and Ary (Angola) won respectively. Indeed the only open category where an artist from neither Nigeria nor South Africa won was for Best Live Act, where Tanzanian star Diamond Platnumz took home the trophy, despite losing out at home to Ali Kiba in the recent Kilimanjaro Tanzania Music Awards (KTMA). American artist Nicki Minaj was named Best International act, while the MTV Base Leadership Award was shared between Saran Kaba Jones (Liberia) and S’Bu Mavundla (SA).

Emmy Award-nominated American funnyman Anthony Anderson captivated the 5 000-strong MAMA audience at the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC) with his lively humour, engaging charisma and unexpected outfit changes. Stunning collaborations between artists of different genres saw American superstar NE-YO take to the stage with Seyi Shay (Nigeria), 2Face collaborating with Bucie (SA), Kenyan boy band Sauti Sol pairing up with Yemi Alade, and Patoranking swapping beats with South Africa’s KO. The show ended on a high with a jubilant medley mash-up by Artist of the Decade winners P-Square, featuring hit tracks ‘Personally’, ‘Chop My Money’, ‘Alingo’ and ‘Shekini’. Other performers included DJ Fisherman, NaakmusiQ, DJ Tira, Anselmo Ralph, Danger from Big Nuz, Duncan, Burna Boy, Stonebwoy, Da LES, Diamond, Flavour, Toofan, D’Banj, Davido, Uhuru, Black Motion and Cassper Nyovest.

Commenting after the show, Viacom’s Alex Okosi said: “Africa is a continent of the now and the future; tonight was testament to that. MAMA 2015 represented and reflected the abundant amount of creativity and passion this continent breeds.”

The MAMA 2015 coincided with the nationwide celebration of the late Nelson Mandela’s birthday, a fact that was touched on by artists in the show.

Walking the red carpet at the awards were leading African music and media celebs like Bonang Matheba, HHP, Chameleone, Dreamteam, Riky Rick, Samini, OC Ukeje, Bebe Cool, Mpumi, Jovi, Uhuru and Vanessa Mdee. Other famous faces included comedian Trevor Gumbi, Nigerian OAP Toolz, MTV Shuga star and Mr Nigeria Emmanuel Ikbese, BET Top Actor winner Altovise Lawrence, Miss South Africa Liesl Laurie, Boity, Khuli Chana, Joselyn Dumas, Jessica Nkosi, actress Zikhona Sodlaka, and MTV Base VJs Sizwe, Nomuzi, Ehiz and Sandile.

Congratulations to all the 2015 MAMA winners:

  • Best Female: Yemi Alade (Nigeria)
  • Best Male: Davido (Nigeria)
  • Best Group: P-Square (Nigeria)
  • Best New Act Transformed by Absolut: Patoranking (Nigeria)
  • Best Hip Hop: Cassper Nyovest (South Africa)
  • Best Collaboration: AKA, Burna Boy, Da LES & JR - 'All Eyes On Me' (SA/Nigeria)
  • Song of the Year: Mavins - 'Dorobucci' (Nigeria)
  • Best Live: Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania)
  • Video of the Year: 'Nafukwa' - Riky Rick. Director: Adriaan Louw
  • Best Pop & Alternative: Jeremy Loops (South Africa)
  • Best Francophone: DJ Arafat (Ivory Coast)
  • Best Lusophone: Ary (Angola)
  • Personality of the Year: Trevor Noah (South Africa)
  • MAMA Evolution: D’Banj (Nigeria)
  • Best International: Nicki Minaj (USA)
  • Artist of the Decade: P-Square (Nigeria)
  • MTV Base Leadership Award: Saran Kaba Jones (Liberia) & S’Bu Mavundla (SA)


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