After Last-Minute Confusion, African 'Grammys' Due Sunday
The Kora Awards, dubbed "Africa's Grammys", will take place Sunday in Abidjan, organisers said, after confusion about when the event would happen and when its star – U.S. rapper Chris Brown -- would arrive in Ivory Coast.
"Everything will take place Sunday," Kora spokesman Ernest Adjovi said late Saturday.
The award extravaganza, which originated in South Africa in 1994, was originally to have been held Saturday in Ivory Coast's economic capital.
At the last minute, organizers claimed Brown had missed his flight and the show would be delayed until Monday.
But a source close to the ceremony said Brown "is not the real reason" the event was delayed, and blamed the postponement on organizational issues.
Past ceremonies have been attended by South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela and the late "King of Pop" Michael Jackson.
Brown is known as much for his virtuoso dance steps as for his tumultuous relationship with singer Rihanna, whom he has admitted assaulting.
He will arrive early Sunday on a private jet and, ahead of the award show, will perform at concert "for peace in Africa" at Abidjan's main sport stadium on Sunday, Adjovi said.
African artists including the Nigerian duo P-Square, winner of the last top Kora prize in Ouagadougou in 2010, will also take part.
For Ivory Coast, which is still recovering from four months of post-election violence that ended in April 2011 after claiming some 3,000 lives, the event signals a return to normalcy.
However, it has drawn criticism over the price of admission: one million CFA francs (1,500 euros, $2,000) for those who want a seat in the luxury hotel for the ceremony, or 50,000 CFA francs (75 euros, $100) for seats outside.
These prices are far out of reach for most people in the poor west African country, the world's top cocoa producer.
Brown was sentenced to five years probation, a year-long domestic violence program and 180 days of community labor after pleading guilty to assaulting Barbadian singer Rihanna on the eve of the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in 2009.