Namibia: Govt Won't Fund Kora Music Awards

By Ndapewoshali Shapwanale

GOVERNMENT says not a cent will be spent on the Kora awards, despite the event being incorporated in the country's annual independence anniversary celebrations.

Three government ministries - environment and tourism, education and information - have joined hands with the awards organisers.

Some people said the awards had to be postponed last year because of a lack of finances. The event is set for 20 March 2016.

Organisers of the awards have however approached parastatals, among them MTC Namibia, to contribute US$2 million (about N$29 million) towards the awards. The budget for the awards is yet to be disclosed.

Ernest Adjovi, the Kora All Africa Awards founder told The Namibian that the overall winner will walk away with US$1 million (N$14,4 million), while regional winners in the best male and best female categories will each receive US$50 000 (N$774 000).

Government's participation in the event was confirmed by environment and tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta, who said it was a partnership in which they will not spend a penny.

Shifeta said the partnership is only in the form of endorsement and support and that government does not have a budget for the event apart from providing transport.

He also said the partnership provides an opportunity for the ministries to carry out their different mandates.

Adjovi said he wants the Kora brand to grow from being a US$700 million event to a US$1 billion event. However, he did not commit himself to a figure, but it is safe to say that he wants Kora to be worth US$1 billion.

So far Air Namibia, Namibia Tourism Board, Windhoek Country Club, Namibia Broadcasting Corporation and New Era have been announced as sponsors for the event. Adjovi said the rest of the funds will be sourced from international sponsors. Sources said government took on the awards because of the close relationship between President Hage Geingob, Adjovi and fellow organiser Tonata Shiimi.

At one stage it was reported that Geingob was a partner in the awards but he subsequently denied this, saying the idea was only born while they were playing golf and that he thus only supported it as an idea but not to gain from it.

"Kora approached us and we decided the opportunity is right. And about the President distancing himself, you can take it from me that President (Geingob) is in full support of the awards. Those reports are a misrepresentation. He meant that he is not part of the Kora as a company, but he fully supports it," Shifeta defended Geingob.

Public relations officer at the Office of the Prime Minister Saima Shaanika said no addition has been made to the N$3 million allocated for the independence celebrations as per the 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2018 budget. She said the amount may increase but only because of inflation. Adjovi told The Namibian that the postponement came after the organisers failed to secure the venue - a dome from South Africa and because of the size of the Ramatex factory.

"Because of the size of the production team, we would not have been able to house all of them. There was a big event happening and most of the places were already booked," Adjovi said. "We want to make Windhoek the capital of music in Africa. The idea was born here, so it only makes sense."

The awards, he said, are financed by his family and are not for gain.

Adjovi shared Shifeta's sentiments, saying the partnership is strictly endorsed and no funds are expected or will be received from government.

He also said contrary to common belief, the government will not be asked to pay any licence fee for the awards being hosted in the country. Adjovi vehemently denied continental media reports that he asked Zimbabwe to pay US$1,1 million (close to N$16 million).

"Zimbabwe never hosted the awards, if all these things are true, why are we not in court?" Adjovi questioned.

Further reports also state that Adjovi cost the provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal close to N$50 million after the province endorsed a sponsorship deal to boost tourism and commerce in the area.

He said he had to sell houses and businesses to be able to fund the projects and that all his efforts are selfless and aimed at growing the Kora brand enough to be a multi-million, if not billion-dollar project.

*** The majority of well-known hotels and guesthouses contacted by The Namibian did not know about any enquiries for accommodation regarding the Kora awards or any other music awards made in December last year.

Source  The Namibian