Namibia to Host Kora Awards

Namibia will again this year shine on the international arena, as it is expected to host the Kora Awards that have become the pre-eminent award aiming to recognise musical and artistic excellence on the African continent.

Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta told New Era this week that the country was approached to host the renowned continental music awards, to which government has agreed.

“We have held talks and a delegation of organisers is arriving in the country next week for presentations and to conclude the agreement,” Shifeta said yesterday.

“The media will be invited when our guests are here next week,” the youthful minister assured.

The Kora Awards are music awards given annually for musical achievement in sub-Saharan Africa. Founded in 1994 by Ernest Adjovi, they are comparable to the American Grammy Awards in intent.

The objectives of the awards are to promote African artists and their works internationally and to unite Africa and its Diaspora through music and the arts.

Shifeta first revealed the planned hosting of the Kora Awards on Tuesday when he visited New Era offices. He said organisers of Kora Awards already met him last month and preliminary discussions have been held on how best to host this glitzy event.

The awards are expected to be held at Windhoek Country Club Resort and Casino in December on a date yet to be announced.

“They came to see me last month and we agreed to have the event here. I heard they had a problem in hosting it in South Africa and Kenya. It is a very big event a lot of people will watch it. It is almost like FIFA [World Cup], it’s big publicity you can’t miss. It markets Namibia because so many international television stations will show it. The Windhoek Country Club [Resort and Casino] agreed to host the event,” he revealed. US rapper Chris Brown and Rihanna were among the high profile artists who attended the 12th edition of the Kora Awards held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in 2013. This year’s awards are expected to also attract high-profile international music personalities that Minister Shifeta said would help market the country to a global audience. The awards ceremony is named after the Kora, an important West African plucked chordophone, and is billed as the only non-sporting African annual event broadcast live across three continents. The event was first broadcast in 45 countries in Africa in 1996. The total television audience for the live broadcast is estimated at 380 million viewers – from 45 African countries, 28 European nations and nine countries in Asia – and for the first time this year, Kora All Africa Music Awards will be seen in North America following a broadcast agreement between Kora Entertainment Southern Africa and Black Entertainment Television (BET) on Jazz and BET International, broadening the audience even further.

Shifeta also called on the need for Namibia to have a conventional centre to host major events such as the Kora Awards. “Even if we want to have major activities, we lack facilities. We don’t have a convention centre. We started discussions with local authority in Windhoek to see where we can get land. We can work on public private partnership (PPP), it’s not that we need to have government money that time to build it. We need at least 20 hectares because of traffic, and once we have that you can have many events,” he said.

In 2013, Namibia – through the Ministry of Environment and Tourism – hosted another successful international event, the 11th session of the Conference of Parties (COP 11) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) at the Windhoek Country Club Resort and Casino.

Source : New Era