AFRIMA 2019 Presents Opportunity for Fence Mending Between Nigeria and South Africa


Vanessa Obioha

Though relations between Nigeria and South Africa is not at its best at the moment due to xenophobic incidents against Nigerians in the country, a window of opportunity to mend fences has presented itself with the 2019 edition of the annual All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA).

The two countries are leading the pack in this year’s nominations. Unlike last year where South Africa’s rapper Nasty C and Nigeria’s songstress Simi fetched only five nods, the sixth edition of AFRIMA sees Nasty C leading the pack with nine nominations. He is nominated in both the regional and continental categories including the coveted Artiste of the Year in Africa.

Following closely is Davido with six nominations which include; Best Male Artiste in Western Africa, Artiste of the Year in Africa, Song of the Year in Africa, African Fans’ Favourite, Best Artiste, Duo or Group in African R’n’B & Soul, and Best African Collaboration for ‘Blow My Mind with Chris Brown’.

The self-acclaimed ‘African Giant’, Burna Boy scored five nominations which includes Artiste of the Year and Album of the Year in Africa.

The hot chase to dominate the awards was clearly seen in this year’s entries which exceeded the 2018 submissions by 148. Of the 8,157 entries submitted this year, Western Africa led the pack with 38 per cent of the total entries, followed by Southern Africa with 24 per cent. Eastern Africa, Central Africa, and Northern Africa have 20 per cent, 14 per center, and four per cent respectively.

As music is globally recognised as a unifying tool, perhaps, the two countries will sheath their swords and embrace their cultural differences in the music ceremony that celebrates the creative talents and culture in the continent.

While voting will commence as usual on September 1 and end on November 22, the organisers are still yet to reveal the host city of this year’s awards slated for November 20-23.

Ghana was divested of the hosting rights after it failed to meet the requirements of the organisers. Nigeria is the only country which has successfully hosted the awards so far. Is it possible that the awards will return to Nigeria for this year’s event?

Other contenders in the nomination list include Egyptian artiste, Tamer Hosny and Tanzanian Diamond Platnumz who both clinched four nods. The late DJ Arafat has also been posthumously nominated in the Best Male Artiste in Central Africa and Best African Dance or Choreography categories for works he produced within the 6th AFRIMA entry submission window of August 1, 2018 – August 2, 2019.