Mamas turn out to be a dud

Gugu Sibiya

Temper tantrums and impish behaviour characterised the first, highly anticipated MTV Africa Music Awards with Zain at the Velodrome in Abuja, Nigeria.

Forgetting that he was not in the US, where the gangster behaviour of rappers is not only tolerated but celebrated, The Game behaved like a drama queen with her knickers in a knot.

After impatiently waiting for the rapper in a country where hip-hop is exploding, fans could no longer contain themselves when their idol came on stage.

Most of them rushed to him in an effort to touch him or to have their picture taken with him.

When it became clear that The Game's huge entourage could not control the excitement, the notoriously ferocious local police moved in.

They too could not quell the excitement that surrounded The Game's performance, so like a spoilt brat he threw the mic at the crowd and stalked off the stage in a huff.

Touted as a classy affair that would attract top personalities such as Trevor Nelson, the Mamas failed to impress.

While the groups were enthused enough to deliver inspired performances, the sound let them down dismally. You could barely make out what was said or sung.

Yet group after group, including our HHP, Loyiso Bala and Cassette, gave their all. Only The Game gave a really short performance that did not showcase what he is made of.

Collaborations between HHP and Kelly Rowland and D'Banj and Kelly Rowland were stunning. The African boys really did us proud.

P Square and our Jozi delivered a riveting performance, leaving fans clamouring for more.

Asa, who blew local audiences away at the International Joy of Jazz in Johannesburg, thrilled people in Nigeria. The only snag was that she sang only one song.

When it came to the awards the Nigerians swept the boards.

But all was not lost. We managed to walk away with two awards. Jozi scooped an award for Best Live and the UK-based Seethers took one for Best Alternative.

Performances included those by 9ice, Cassette, Seun Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80, Flo Rida and Jua Cali.

Guest presenters at the awards included 9ice, DJ Cleo, Goldfish, Sasha, Loyiso, Dama do Bling, Zonke, Samini, Wahu, Noni Gasa, JJ Okocha, East Africa Bashment Crew and MTV VJ Cynthia. DJ Kofi was on the spot as the resident DJ.

What was supposed to be a moving tribute to Miriam Makeba, who the continent named Mama Africa, turned out to be so half-hearted as to be an insult.

That of legendary Afrobeat star Fela Anikulapo Kuti was slightly better.

Seun Kuti subsequently accepted the inaugural Mama Legend Award in honour of his late father.

Winners of the MTV Africa Music Awards with Zain each received an iconic Golden Microphone trophy featuring a retro-pop microphone emerging triumphantly from a globe of the world, with the African continent placed triumphantly at the top.