MTV Africa has officially confirmed that Uganda will be hosting the 2021 MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs) in February 2021.

In August 2019, the Ugandan government approved the bid to have the prestigious awards hosted in Uganda that year.

It was to be the very first time the Pearl of Africa was going to host awards of such a magnitude if the bid was accepted by MTV Africa.

Nothing was really clear about the awards after Uganda’s bid despite them having been slated to happen in December 2019. That year, they didn’t happen.

Related Story: What Uganda expects ahead of the 2019 MAMA awards

The outbreak of the global Coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 dashed the hopes of several Ugandans to have the awards hosted in Kampala. The awards were consequently suspended.

Ugandan State Minister for Tourism Hon. Godfrey Kiwanda speaking at the launch of the 2021 MAMA awards

Ugandans kept their fingers tied as they anticipated that by the end of the pandemic, Kampala would be considered to host the awards.

Their prayers were indeed answered on Wednesday 25th November 2020 as MTV Africa answered the “What is the M?” question after weeks of the mysterious ‘M’ which was placed on the Independence Monument in October.

Through social media, MTV Africa confirmed that the awards will happen in Kampala, Uganda on 20th February 2021.

“It’s official! Africa’s biggest celebration of music is heading to Uganda. The #MTVMAMA takes place in Kampala on the 20th of February 2021,” MTV revealed in Twitter.

Further information about the venue of the awards and preparations is yet to be announced but atleast we are sure the awards will happen and that Kampala will host Africa next year.

What are the MAMA awards about?

The MAMA awards were established in 2008 by MTV Networks Africa to celebrate the most popular contemporary music in Africa. They lasted six editions with South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya hosting the awards thrice, twice, and once respectively.

In 2017 the popular awards weren’t held and Alex Okosi, Executive Vice President of Viacom International Media Network Africa, said that the company was working to reinvent them to create a deeper music experience for the 2018 edition. In 2018, they were a no show as well.

One of the most exciting editions of the MAMA awards (in a Ugandan perspective) happened in 2015 at a ceremony that was held at the Durban International Convention Centre, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa on July 18th in commemoration of Nelson Mandela’s birthday.

In that year, several Ugandan artistes were proud to share the limelight with some making it on the nominations list as others were invited to make celebrity appearances.

Jose Chameleone was pitted against the likes of Samini, Asa, Black Coffee, 2Face Idibia, Anselmo Ralph, Fally Ipupa, HHP, and D’Banj – who won the award – in the MAMA Evolution Award category.

Bebe Cool’s ‘Love You Everyday’ was nominated in the Video of the Year category something which raised arguments on who should keep the award, between the singer and the videographer, if it’s won.

Ugandan singer Bebe Cool at the launch of the 2021 MAMA awards

The following year, 2016, the awards were a shadow of their former self with less publicity towards the main event. The nominations and eventual winners as well were not convincing enough for several music fans and critics.

That was the last year the awards were held and despite a negative reception generally, Uganda went ahead to prove that its entertainment industry was improving as Eddy Kenzo, Sheebah Karungi and Bebe Cool achieved nominations.

The MAMA awards are such a big stage for any Ugandan artiste and that was witnessed in the efforts that the nominated artistes invested to ensure that their fans voted for them in the last two editions of the awards.

The expectations are that the awards act as a platform to showcase what Uganda, as a nation, possesses in terms of Arts and Film. It could be the perfect timing because Ugandans have waited too long for this opportunity.

The question that remains is whether the pandemic shall have ended by February 2021 so as to have several international celebrities in Kampala instead of a possible virtual show – especially because the concerts and music shows are still banned by the government as a measure against the rapid spread if COVID-19.

Stick here for more information about the forthcoming awards!

Josh Ruby is an Editor with high interest and knowledge in the Ugandan entertainment space, an industry he has been actively part of since 2010. Leads to breaking stories are welcome!

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