IT was a long night of fun, camaraderie, swashbuckling, Saturday night, in Kigali, Rwanda, when Africa Movie Academy Awards, AMAA, hosted Rwadan celebrities, business executives and their Nigerian counterparts during the 2017 AMAA nominees party in the East Africa country. The nominees party is a precursor to the main awards which will hold in Lagos on Saturday, July 15, 2017 at the Eko Hotel Convention Centre and it’s being officially hosted by the Lagos State Government as part of a year-long celebration of Lagos at 50.
The party which took place under a well decorated marquee at Camp Kigali was opened by Arthur Nkusi, a Rwandan stand-up comedian who wowed the ecstatic audience of revellers with his rib-cracking jokes after which he called The Maestros, a Nigerian live band from the stable of Bolanle Austen Peters creative enterprise.
The crowd gyrated, sang along and danced to many popular hit songs from Nigerian pop stars performed by the band. It was a pulsating night of celebration of the nominees into all the categories of the continental awards. The nominees were announced earlier in Kigali on May 15, by the Academy Jurors. According to the founder of the awards, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, the nomination party was a celebration of the progress and breakthrough that African film makers and those in diaspora have made from when AMAA started in year 2005. She added that AMAA team also chose Kigali for the event to further promote the cultural, social and economic ties between Nigeria and Rwanda.
“In the spirit of African unity and oneness of the people of Africa we came to Kigali for this event and it has been amazing the kind of support we got from the government of Rwanda and the relevant government agencies. We got support from Rwanda Development Board and RwandAir. I cannot continue to say the level of cooperation and massive support we got from Frank Murangwa, CEO of Rwanda Convention Bureau and Belise Kariza, Rwanda Chief Tourism Officer who pulled in corporate sponsorship from MTN and other companies.
“We thank Raddison Blu and Convention Centre for the support and Grand Legacy Hotel. Coming to Kigali has been a great and humbling experience for us at AMAA and it further confirms we Africans as brothers and sisters. I want to say thank you Rwanda and thank you to President Paul Kagame for the great work he is doing to transform this country.”
In his address, Mr. Murangwa, Chief Executive of RCB underscored the importance of the event to the tourism development of his country and friendship between Nigeria and Rwanda. He noted that the event has what cooperation between African countries can achieve for the continent and her people adding that his government looks forward to hosting the main AMAA awards whenever the organizers wanted.
Ugandan music star, Ykee Banda, also proved his status as a regional pop music star with his sterling performance. He sang his hit songs such as Nipe, featuring Urban Boys, Byonkola and Munakampala among other songs which Rwandans sang along with him with the accompanying dance steps. During the day before the party started, the Nigerian delegation which include Joke Silva, Olu Jacobs, Paul Obazele, Tony Anih, Doris Simon, Chinedu Ikedieze (Aki).
by Benjamin NJOKU