MTV Africa Music Award History

The MTV Africa Music Awards (also known as the MAMAs) were established in 2008 by MTV Networks Africa (now Viacom International Media Networks Africa) to celebrate the most popular contemporary music in Africa. The 2008 and 2010 events took place in Nigeria, first in Abuja and then in Lagos. The 2009 event happened in Nairobi, capital of Kenya.After these three initial events, the award had a 3-year hiatus, returning only in 2014 in Durban, South Africa. The next two events were also hosted in the same country: 2015 in Durban; 2016 in Johannesburg. In 2017 the popular award didn't hold again.

The MTV Africa Music Awards was conceived and created by the SVP and MD of the MTV Networks in Africa, Alex Okosi. Earlier, African artists had been included in the MTV Europe Music Award where MTV Base Africa viewers voted for Best African artist in the 2006 and 2007MTV Europe Music Awards.

The first awards show was held at the Velodrome, Abuja in Nigeria on 22 November 2008 and was broadcast around the world on November 29 in conjunction with Airtel and local television channels in Africa.The show was hosted by Trevor Nelson. The awards were preceded by four concerts celebrating the musicians nominated for the awards. There were concerts featuring international and local nominees, which took place in Johannesburg, South Africa on November 5, Nairobi, Kenya on November 9, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on November 13 and Lagos, Nigeria on November 15, 2008.The Award categories included Artist of the Year, Best Alternative, Best Female, Best Group, Best Hip-Hop, Best Live Performance, Best Male, Best New Act, Best R&B, Video of the Year and the MY Video Award which allows viewers to make their own version of a music video.

The 2009 event took place in Nairobi, Kenya at the Moi International Sports Centre in October 2009. In 2010, the awards were again held in Nigeria, at Eko Expo Hall in Lagos. This year, some award categories were to better reflect the music of the entire continent, hence creating awards for Best Anglophone, Best Lusophone and Best Francophone artists.

After a 3-year hiatus (2011, 2012 and 2013), Viacom International Media Networks Africa announced that the MTV Africa Music Awards would return on 7 June 2014. The fifth event took place at the ICC, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal on 18 July 2015, and on 23 August 2016 it was announced that the sixth edition of the MTV Africa Music Awards would take place in Johannesburg, South Africa on 22 October 2016 at the Ticketpro Dome.

In 2017 the popular award didn't hold again. Alex Okosi, Executive Vice President of Viacom International Media Network Africa said the company is working to reinvent the MAMA to create a deeper music experience for the 2018 edition of the award.

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