Local gospel artist Kabelo Eric and traditional group, Makwakwa are the only two Botswana groups nominated for the prestigious KORA awards this year.
Eric was nominated for Best Male Spiritual Music category with his song Kabiosi, while Makwakwa Cultural Ensembles were nominated in the Best Traditional Group for Re dibini.
“This is my first Kora nomination and I am really excited. It is more than a blessing to be recognized as the best in the continent as these awards are our very own African Grammy’s. For me as an artist this means my music contracts and prospective collaboration with other international artists improves. The awards are an incredible marketing platform for African talent and fertile ground for collaborations and partnerships amongst African artists,” he told Time Out.
He is nominated alongside D Naff from Namibia, Hatim Ammor from Morocco, Kidum from Burundi, Eugene Ablodevi from Togo and Eddy Kamoso from Burundi. He says he is optimistic he will clinch the award with the support of his fans, fellow musicians and international followers, “I heard about the Kora awards in 2014 and I submitted my videos and profile for possible nomination. Before the nomination I was appointed Kora Goodwill Ambassador 2014/15 for Ebola Movement Campaign in Botswana,” Eric says.
For their part, the equally elated Makwakwa who are nominated alongside Trio Teriba from Benin, Groupe Kiltir from Reunion, Babylone from Algeria, Bayadu du Congo from DRC, Les Espoirs de Coronthie from Guinea- say they were nominated for the Kora’s in 2014 but because of the xenophic attacks and Ebola breakout, the ceremony did not take place. “However, we are thankful for this second nomination and hope to grace the award ceremony,” says Ronnie Makaleng of Makwakwa.
Slated for the 20th March 2016 in Windhoek-Namibia, the awards ceremony will feature 27 categories with a monetary reward of a Million US Dollars for the ultimate winner of the African Artist of the Year category. Various category and genre winners will all take home between USD 20 000 and USD 50 000 dependent on the category.
Accomplished musical legends who have graced the Koras over the years include Angelique Kidjo, Kofi Olomide, Miriam Makeba, Thandiswa Mazwai, Michael Jackson, Shaggy, Rihanna, Salif Keita, Oliver Mtukudzi, Bebe Winans and Femi Kuti, amongst others.
“We have been unwavering in our commitment to rewarding and celebrating excellence in African music. From the beginning, we have been clear on this goal. We are delighted to be back home in Namibia, and look forward to delivering an extravaganza that the entire world will tune in to watch. We have little doubt that the powerful partnerships we have forged will help us realise an awards ceremony to remember!” explained founder and Executive Producer Ernest Coovi Adjovi.