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#MTVMAMA15: @Buhlebonga chats to @AlexOkosi about the #MTVMAMA15

I was right. In my last column I wrote that the MTV Africa Music Awards were coming back to Durban; and last Thursday the senior vice-president and managing director at Viacom International Media Networks Africa, Alex Okosi, confirmed they would be held on Saturday, July 18. I spoke to him this week. 
The awards were a highlight for many last year – were you, as MTVBase, happy with them and the whole production?
We were excited about the awards and happy that they were a success. Not only for us, but for the publicity and exposure that Durban received from the global media we had in attendance and the awards being shown around the world. We were happy at how Durbanites embraced the awards and the activities around them. We believe we contributed in making 2014 a successful year for Durban. 
What do you look for in a host city?
Can the city stage a world class event? Does it have a music culture? Will it be able to showcase the beauty of the continent to the world? Do they have the vision to take the continent to another level? It's those things. 
What placed Durban on your list of cities to host the awards again?
It ticked all the boxes. It has the perfect venue with the Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC, the music scene is one of the most vibrant in the country, has a thriving tourism sector and has the right infrastructure to handle an event as major as the MTV Africa Music Awards. 

FROM LEFT SVP of Viacom Africa, ALEX Okosi, MTV BASE presenter Nomuzi Mabena , DJ CNDO and MTVbase creative director, Tim Horward at the ICC at the eve of the MTV Mamas, last year. picture: Siyanda Mayeza
Last year was a big year for African artists, especially those in hip hop – will we see a large hip hop influence this year?
Definitely. Hip hop continues to be one of the strongest genres in music and the MTVbase and MTV audience are huge fans. Hip Hop on the continent has grown – the standard of music being released and the videos. Artists on the continent are collaborating more often, which is what we have always wanted. So the awards should and will definitely reflect that. 
And the host? Have you decided who it will be?
Ah man, it’s too early to reveal. We want to keep people guessing. We will let you know in due time. 
What about Trevor Noah? He’s to host The Today Show on Comedy Central, which is your sister channel. It’s his continent and he could treat it as his “farewell tour” before he joins The Today Show. 
That would be cool. He’s one of the people we would only dream of having on our stage at the Mamas. He is a great ambassador for the continent. Our theme this year is Africa Re-Imagined and he’s that. Who would ever have guessed that he would be hosting one of the most popular late-night talkers? 
Will there be US/UK artists performing, or will it be strictly African?
Our audience enjoys international music too, so without a doubt. We also need to remember that these are global awards with viewers all over the world, so anything that will help them tune in, why not? 
What will make the Mamas different this year? 
The channel is celebrating its 10th year, so we are doing things differently. There are new acts that weren’t in the industry last year. If last year was great, then this year will be on another level. We are pushing ourselves and pushing boundaries to make this year the best yet.

MAMA MTV Africa Awards Launch at Maharani Hotel, which will be helled in KZN in July. From Left is Danger Big Nuz, Dj Tira and Caspper Nyoves. Picture by: Sibonelo Ngcobo

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