The city was already bubbling days before celebrities from across the continent arrived in droves for the event. Special guests and nominees arrived from all walks of life, including business, sport, entertainment, and the popular arts and culture industries. As expected, the crème de la crème of the African film, television and entertainment turned out on the famous AMVCA red carpet and show. Hosted by the returning duo of IK Osakioduwa and Minnie Dlamini, the show started with an electrifying performance by the critically acclaimed Niger-Delta dance troupe, Seki.
The award ceremony saw the women all dolled up and the men looking dapper. From Nigeria’s Rita Dominic to our very own Nice Wanjeri — who beat Ms Dominic to “Best Actress in a comedy and TV series” with her character Shiro in the popular sitcom “Auntie Boss” — all looked like a million bucks.
Kenyans went on to take home six out of the nine awards they had been nominated for. Other Kenyan winners included Dennis Maina Wanjohi, whose documentary “The Flesh Business” was declared the Best Documentary, and Sarika Hemi Lakhani’s “Supa Modo” bagged “Best Indigenous Language movie or TV series”.
But the night belonged to “18 Hours” after it was voted “Overall Best Movie”, becoming the first Kenyan production to ever do so. It had been nominated for five awards and ended up taking home three, with Phoebe Ruguru winning two of them for “Best Movie in East Africa” and “Best Overall Movie”.
“Even with all our diversity, we can all speak one language and we understand that language to be film,” she told Buzz.
All she now wishes is for people to watch the movie again. “I’m looking for partners to see if we can bring the movie back to the theatre, for people to watch it again. Following the win, people have been asking me where they can watch it at.”
Ms Wanjeri, who could not hold back tears after she won, said she could not believe that she had beaten big names in the industry to win her first ever award at the ceremony.
“I cannot believe I beat such people like Rita Dominic; people I used to watch while in school. God is great and this award shows that all hard work pays.” She also revealed that she might not be in the show anymore after her contract was not renewed. However, according to a source at NTV, where the show airs every Tuesday, she might come back as the station and the production company were working something out.
Nigerian actor, rapper and lawyer Folarin Falana, better known as Falz, became the first Nigerian artiste to win two major movie awards. The rapper won his second acting honour for the movie “New Money” under Best Supporting Actor in a Drama category. He first bagged the award in 2016 for his role in TV drama series, “Jenifa’s Diary”.
There were also quite a number of Big Brother Housemates-Nigeria and Africa — with Bisola winning the Trail Blazer award, which comes with a car, after rendering a soulful performance. Lilian Afegbua, who was the first Nigerian to be eliminated at the last Big Brother Africa, won Best Indigenous Movie in Igbo with her movie, “Bound”.
Musician Cobhams Asuquo gave a sterling performance with his rendition of One Hit. Other performances of the night included renditions by famous singer-producer Cobhams Asuquo, and Nigerian opera singer, Omo Bello who performed together with her orchestra.
Another highlight of the night was when renowned Nigerian cinematographer Tunde Kelani was presented with the Industry Merit award, a decision that was well received by the audience as evidenced by a prolonged standing ovation. In the same vein, the Trailblazer Award was given to Bisola Aiyeola in recognition of her growing impact in the African film and TV space.
Speaking after the event, MultiChoice Kenya Managing Director Eric Odipo congratulated the winners for their hard work and win.
“Kudos to all the winners for their high-flying achievement in Africa. We are proud to know that Kenyan content has come of age, and can compete globally and in Nollywood. At Multichoice, our role is to enrich lives. As Africa continues to change rapidly, the entertainment industry is ever more relevant. We are using our influence and resources to play a positive role in Africa, helping to grow Africa’s people and creative industries into vibrant, economic powerhouses,” said Odipo.
Kenya Film Classification Board CEO Ezekiel Mutua, who was also in attendance, echoed Mr Odipo’s sentiments as he also congratulated the Kenyan winners.