5th AFRIMA: How History was Made in Ghana

The 5th edition All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA that lasted 4 days from Wednesday, November 21 to Saturday 24, was packed with invigorating activities which had invited guests and artistes from across the continent, Europe, North America, and Middle East fully engaged through their stay in the gold coast city of Accra, Ghana. The Republic of Ghana through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, Ghana hosted the 2018 edition.

The event kick-started on Wednesday 21st, with a Welcome Soiree where the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, Catherine Abelema Afeku, alongside the Director of the Creative Arts, Gyankroma Akufo-Addo, welcomed everyone to Ghana, with ‘Akwaaba’ hospitality, and ensuring them a swirling time in Ghana. In her welcome speech, the minister said: “for the next few days, you will feel the splendour of Africa through AFRIMA, showing the beauty of our continent through music, arts, and culture”.

The following day was the Africa Music Business Summit (AMBS), where music executives, professionals, Intellects and enthusiasts had interactive discussions and networking on issues surrounding the business of music in Africa, forging ways forward to fully develop the economic potentials of the music industry in Africa. This had in attendance South African Music Legend, Yvonne Chaka Chaka; Ugandan Music Activist and Parliamentarian, Bobi Wine; Ghanaian Media Owner; Bola Ray; Internationally acclaimed video and audio disk jockey, DJ Van; Nigerian music executive, Kenny Ogungbe; President of the Musicians Union of Ghana, MUSIGA, Bice Osei Kuffour also known as Obour, and other music stakeholders.

The night of the business summit was lit-up with performances from various African music stars at the 100,000-capacity Independence Square in Accra. Thousands of music lovers were thrilled with performances from Ghana’s own Sarkodie who charged up the stage with his applauding performance. Complimenting this was Stonebwoy, who also left the crowd yearning for more great music. These superstars were accompanied by other African artistes including; Ghana’s Fancy Gadam, Guru, Aletse Tinny, Feli Nuna, Nigeria’s Olu Maintain, Mr.P (of P-square), Mr. Real, Kenya’s Victoria Kimani, and Rash Band; South African Rapper, Nasty C among others, who all gave breath-taking performances.

The city tour on Friday 23rd was a success with the cooperation of the Ghanaian Government, had guest guided around the city of Accra. Places visited include the National Museum of Ghana in the Capital city of Accra, which is the largest and oldest of the six museums under the administration of the Ghana Museums and Monument Board (GMMB) and the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and Memorial Park, where guests were shown the monumental histories of the founding father and first president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah.

The AFRIMA team and guest then visited the St. Thomas Presbyterian Primary School in Osu Town, Accra, where AFRIMA carried out its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity. Here, AFRIMA presented the school with lots of reading items and school materials including computer sets, Piano set, Guitar set, and drum set, all brand new. While the Nominees and guests had a fun time with students, in a game of dance and singing competition.

The entourage was then ushered to the Jubilee House on a courtesy visit to the Presidency, where they were received by the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare in the absence of the President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana. Accompanied by Honourable Catherine Afeku, with Veteran Ghanaian Highlife Musician, Nana Ampadu, where the Chief of Staff reiterated the interest of Government of Ghana in hosting ARIMA for the next years (2019 & 2020) before it is moved to another African City. It was a merry congregation, as it had all attending AFRIMA Nominees, past winners and other African artiste attending the music awards.

The 23rd night was also the Official AFRIMA Nominees’ Party, held at Carbon Lounge, Accra, in partnership with CIROC, hosted by Universal Music. All nominees, artiste managers, and music executives came together in a frenzied atmosphere as this gave room for artistes to interact and exchange contacts with their counterparts, paving room for future relationships and possible collaborations.

On Saturday, November 24, the red carpet was brought to life as African celebrities, music artistes, dignitaries, and diplomats in the arts and culture industry on the night of the awards came with a full display of glitz and glam on the red carpet. There was a showcase of African fashion to its fullest. Pictures from Red Carpet can be viewed on the AFRIMA website www.afrima.org and social media @Afrimawards.

The Night was crowned with the awards ceremony, a night to celebrate the talents and crafts of African artiste who have done immensely great work over the year. The night saw nominees from the 36 categories produce a winner each, alongside the special recognition awards fully decided by the International Committee of AFRIMA. This uncategorized recognition is awarded to individuals who have impacted positively to the music world using their craft, position or personality. The 5th AFRIMA Legendary award was given to the internationally recognized South African singer, Yvonne Chaka Chaka. Executive Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode was awarded a special recognition for his contributions towards the growth and development of the Arts and Tourism sector of Lagos state, most importantly the role Lagos state played as official host of AFRIMA in its last 4 years from 2014 – 2017.

In what turned out to be an emotional moment for the audience, a special recognition award was given to one of Ghana’s music veteran, Teddy Osei, the leader of the famous Osibisa group, an Afropop band created in 1969. The veteran who was helped to the stage in a wheelchair had been suffering from a mild stroke but was overwhelmed by such great honor.

Nigerian Davido and Ethiopian Betty G became the biggest winners of the night; Davido won 3 awards for the categories of Artiste of the year, Best Male Artiste in Western Africa, and Best Artiste, Duo Or Group in African Contemporary for Odo remix, a collaboration with label mate Mayorkun and Ghana’s Kidi. Betty G, Ethiopian singing sensation, who also gave a heart tricking performance on the awards night, won the categories of Album of the year, Revelation of the year, and Best female artiste in Central Africa.

Other winners include Shekhinah with 2 awards for Songwriter of the Year, and Best Female artiste in Southern Africa; the song Akwaaba, by producer GuiltyBeatz featuring Mr. Eazi, Patapaa, and Pappy Kojo, also won 2 awards for Best African Collaboration and Song of the Year. Amongst the night’s winners are; Fally Ipupa (Best Male Artiste in Central Africa); 2Baba (Best Artiste, Duo Or Group in African Pop); Bebe Cool (Best Male Artiste in Eastern Africa); Stonebwoy (Best Artiste, Duo Or Group in African Ragga, Reggae & Dancehall); Falz (Best African Rapper or Lyrist), Afrotonix (Best African DJ); Toofan (Best African Duo, Group Or Band); Full list of winners available on the AFRIMA website.

The music village and the award ceremony were broadcast live to over 84 countries around the world in partnership with Multichoice, HipTv and other media partners on the continent.

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