The Channel O Africa Music Video Awards (previously known as the Channel O Reel Music Video Awards, the Channel O African Music Video Awards, the Channel O Spirit of Africa Music Video Awards and the Channel O Music Video Awards) are Pan-African music awards organised by music television broadcaster Channel O, to celebrate outstanding achievements in music across the African continent.
In 2003 Channel O hosted its first ever music awards called the Channel O Reel Music Video Awards, at M-Net Studio 1 at the Broadcast Centre in Johannesburg, and were hosted by the Channel O VJs.
After a two-year break they were reinvented as the Channel O African Music Video Awards and since 2005 have been held annually.
When the awards started, the Channel O Reel Music Video Awards set out to recognise both the performer and copyright owners throughout Africa for their contribution to African music. Comprising 22 categories, the viewers were tasked with voting for their favourite videos.
In 2005 the awards made a comeback with a new name: The Channel O African Music Video Awards, which were held at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre. That was the year that SA jazz legend Hugh Masekela was recognised for his contribution in developing music through his drug rehabilitation program, to help troubled artists.
In 2006 the name and venue changed to Channel O Spirit of Africa Music Video Awards, and Gallagher Estate, respectively. Musician, actor, TV host and humanitarian Zola received the Special Recognition Award for his role in uplifting the youth throughout the continent; most notably the work that he has done as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in East Africa.
The show was hosted by comedian David Kau, assisted by Channel O VJs.
In 2007 the awards were hosted at the Johannesburg City Hall and were widely criticised for the lack of organisation, seating and various other gripes. See "2007 Awards Controversy" below. They were hosted by Nigerian singer and songwriter D'Banj and South African dance artist DJ S'bu.
The 2008 awards received a new sponsor and the event was moved to Carnival City in Johannesburg, with more favourable results than the previous year. For the first time in the history of the Channel O MVAs, VJs hosted the event. Kabelo KB Ngakane had been with Channel O since 1998 and his co-host Nonhle Thema was also a well-known Channel O VJ.
The awards remained at Carnival City for 2009. They were hosted once again by KB Ngakane and Nonhle Thema, with the addition of Lungile Radu.
In 2010 the awards were broadcast live for the first time and in 2013 the awards were renamed once more, this time to the Channel O Africa Music Video Awards.
The nominees are taken from videos being sent, seen and requested on Channel O from the 1st June in the year before the awards, until 31st May in the year of the awards (which are typically held in October).
Viewers across Africa are able to vote for the winner in the 13 different categories - excluding the Special Recognition category. They can vote via SMS, an international phone line or via the Channel O website.
The Best Newcomer award is not necessarily given to a new act or artist; it is the first video received by Channel O for that artist.
Best Male Video
Best Female Video
Best Duo or Group
Best Dance Video
Best Ragga Dancehall Video
Best R&B Video
Best Kwaito Video
Best Hip-Hop Video
Best African Southern
Best African West
Best African East
Video of the Year
Special Recognition Award
The awards categories were renamed for the 2010 awards:
Most Gifted Male Video
Most Gifted Female Video
Most Gifted Newcomer
Most Gifted Duo, Group or Featuring
Most Gifted Dance Video
Most Gifted Ragga Dancehall Video
Most Gifted Afro Pop
Most Gifted RnB
Most Gifted Kwaito
Most Gifted Hip Hop Video
Most Gifted South Video
Most Gifted East Video
Most Gifted West Video
Most Gifted Video Of The Year
2007 Awards Controversy
The 2007 Channel O Music Video Awards were marred by shambolic, horrific organisation that left hundreds of invited VIPs stranded without being able to attend the show due to overbooking of the small venue at the Johannesburg City Hall.
Seating was booked for 300 guests, but 500 were invited and VIPs left in the cold were treated dismissively by security staff, with a number of complaints of security personnel getting physical with guests and nominees alike.
Before the 2008 MVAs the press were sent a press release that mentioned lessons learnt from last year, which included moving the venue from the Jo'burg City Hall to Carnival City.