MIXED REACTIONS TRAIL KORA AWARDS’ RETURN
It’s no longer news that the next edition of Kora all Africa Music awards has been scheduled to hold in Nigeria for the first time. The troubled awards, which has not held since 2005 after the organisers reportedly went bankrupt, is resurrecting, and, in the wisdom of the organiser, the best place to start a new life is Nigeria, a country presently dominating the African continent in terms of music content, quality and revenue. A media launch for the award is already billed to hold in Abuja on December 20. and with the awards proper slated for the first quarter of 2008, industry insiders are already debating what the awards’ coming portend and whether or not Nigerians should embrace it with open arms. Opinions are divided. While most artistes, especially those who have been beneficiaries of the award in times past favour the coming, seeing it as a welcome development, a section of the media and music industry pundits are wary of the intention of the organisers. There are even reports a particular group may be contemplating carrying out an anti-KORA campaign from early next year.Those who favour the award being hosted in Nigeria, including Adewale Ayuba, Folake Umosen, argue the initiative is good for further development of the growing music industry especially as local award organisers will have a lot to learn from KORA. But those who oppose the idea claim KORA is overtly pro-South African; and is only using Nigeria as a last resort because ‘they’re having problems in South Africa’. KORA All Africa Music awards is organised by Kora South Africa Pty; with office in Sandton, SA. The awards was founded by Ernerst Coovi-Adjovi, a Benenoise businessman and music enthusiast. For over a decade, the award beamed the spotlight on music of African origin and was nicknamed Africa’s Grammys after it attracted attendance from Michael Jackson and Nelson Mandela in the late nineties. Other high profile international music figures have graced the event since then, especially performers of black descent who are excited about acknowledgement for their work from the ‘motherland’. But there continues to be sceptics like Femi Kuti (the award’s first Nigerian major winner) who believe the award is a fraud. The afrobeat performer has been locked in battle with the organisers since they reportedly failed to give him the cash prize attached to his 1999 best African act award.