It was massive turnout of the biggest names in Uganda’s music industry when the All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA, hosted the 2015 AFRIMA Uganda Stakeholders’ Conference on May 19, 2015 in Kampala, the capital city.
In partnership with the African Union Commission, AUC, All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA, is a continental music awards project that is conceptualised to reward the music talents of Africa and also stimulate conversations on how the African music industry can contribute to the economies of African countries and create jobs towards reducing poverty on the continent. AFRIMA opened its 2015 entry submission on Monday, May 18 and closes on July 20, 2015.
The dates and modalities for entry submission, among other important details about the awards project, formed the crucial discussions held with the Ugandan music and media stakeholders gathered at the Rwizi Hall, Hotel Africana, Kampala, Uganda.
AFRIMA Regional Director, Eastern Africa, Mike Strano and AFRIMA Project Director, Adenrele Niyi received at the venue attendees which included celebrated Ugandan music artists such as: Ragga/Dancehall sensation, Nutty Neithan; Afro-pop princess, Cindy Sanyu, Folk Music star, Joel Sebunjo; Afro-soul diva, Lilian Mbabazi; R&B crooner, Michael Ross; star vocalist, Irene Ntale; Dancehall artist, Vampino; Rappers extraordinaire, Navio and The Mith and 2014 AFRIMA Winners of the Reggae, Ragga & Dancehall category, Radio & Weasel, among others.
While introducing AFRIMA, Ms. Adenrele Niyi stated that Uganda was coming under focus for the important stakeholders’ conference because of the vibrant music industry. She added that beyond awarding trophies to artistes for their creative works, “AFRIMA is very keen on engaging the people who are critical to the awards process to give them a platform for knowledge sharing and capacity building. Without the artistes and music professionals there can be no awards to give out. The International Committee of AFRIMA will appreciate the support of the Ugandan music industry to prosecute the 2015 AFRIMA and this is why we are here today”.
During his presentation on AFRIMA and the 2015 awards calendar, Mike Strano acknowledged the lead position Uganda occupies in the music industry of Eastern Africa. He emphasised this while going through the 33 award categories pointing out that Ugandan artistes, Jackie Chandiru and Maurice Kirya, were nominated for Best Female Artiste in Eastern Africa and Best Male Artiste in Eastern Africa respectively.
“However, the good thing is that Radio and Weasel brought home a trophy for Uganda winning the Best Reggae/Ragga/Dancehall category. So, we encouraged the artistes to get on the digital platform and mobilise you fans to vote for you. Voting will be done on AFRIMA website, www.afrima.org and the AFRIMA jury will announce nominations after the screening process”, he revealed.
One of AFRIMA’s Uganda media partners, FACE TV also advised artistes who may have challenges with submitting their works on the AFRIMA website to contact FACETV office where an official will be available to offer informed assistance. Executive Director, FACE TV, Pejay Boaz, said “AFRIMA coming to Uganda for this conference is a welcome development. At FACE TV believe in the Ugandan music industry and that is why our channel plays only Ugandan music, all day, every day. In addition, we are glad to align ourselves with an initiative that helps our industry to grow”.
There was an interactive sessions with many participants expressing excitement at the opportunity AFRIMA was offering Ugandan music to compete on the global stage. Speaking about his AFRIMA 2014 experience, one half of the Uganda Reggae/Raga duo, Radio, shared: “I was in Lagos for AFRIMA last year, and it was an experience I will not forget because it is the first time I will win an award. Although I have been nominated for many international awards, we’ve never won until AFRIMA came. So, I have joined the winning team and I want to say to Ugandan artistes to also improve on your craft where necessary and join the AFRIMA winners”.
AFRIMA 2015 Uganda Stakeholders’ Conference came to a close with a word of thanks to AFRIMA from the Director, SMSOne Uganda, Elisabeth Mushabe. “We are impressed with AFRIMA and the platform they have made available to African artistes. In Uganda, we are pushing to grow our music industry and if AFRIMA comes here to offer us creative ways of achieving this, then we will work with them to for the common objective”, she assured.
Media organisations present cut across television, radio, print and blogs including, Nation TV, Bukedde Media, Delta TV, Metro FM, Urban TV, Red Pepper, The Observer, The Ugandan Drone, Magic FM, Fox Magazine, Khan Media, Daily Monitor, Big Eye, Life TV, Ugandan Broadcasting Corporation, Innerman FM and Record TV.
Likewise, present for the industry stakeholders were Isaac Luwero, Chief Executive Officer, The Face Studio; Lutaaya Kato of the National Research Centre; Dick Motovu of the Ugandan Musicians Union, representatives of Bebe Cool, representatives of Jose Chameleon and more.
AFRIMA 2015 is being hosted in Nigeria in partnership with the Africa Union Commission in line with the existing hosting rights of three years which commenced in 2014 and it is will be broadcast live to over 80 countries across the world. The awards programme consists of the Africa Music Summit, a one-day conference to interrogate the business of music in Africa and how to build on the music structure to contribute to the African economy. There is also the AFRIMA Music Village, a two-day festival style music concert featuring performances from African top music artistes and social networking. AFRIMA 2014 was sponsored by Diamond Bank, Peugeot and P and G