It has been a busy couple of months. We’ve seen 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club, Blue Jasmine and their respective cast and crew hitting it big at the Golden Globes, the SAGs and now the Academy Awards. And while many may believe that awards season is over, it isn’t quite over. The second and now annual AfricaMagic Viewers’ Choice Awards go down in Lagos, Nigeria this coming Saturday and I’m happy to be back for again to cover the awards.
I’ll be on the red carpet on Saturday evening and then backstage interviewing all the winners, so it’s going to be busy, but fun too. For the love of the game 😉 I’ll also be hanging with the hosts in the build-up to the awards and hopefully some of the musical talent too. You can keep checking back here for more details, pictures and clips… It’s going to be fun! #AMVCAs… get involved.
When I hear the name or read about Nicole Fox (or Mansour now) I think about the larger than life radio and TV personality. She rocked the early mornings on national station, 5FM for a number of years before cracking the big time in the evenings. She became a household name in the country and everyone loved her.
On a personal note she (next to only three others) is the reason why I do what I do. She studied at Rhodes University; she worked on the station I’ve always longed to work for and she became a well-known and respected entertainer in the local industry. So you must imagine how bummed I was to hear that she was moving on a few years ago, but like much in life change is a guarantee and it’s often for the best – and for Nicole it was exactly that. After getting married, the star and her hubby packed their bags and headed up to Lagos, Nigeria to begin their new chapter. Fast track almost five years later (already) and the star is still rocking it up in one of Africa’s busiest cities.
While I was up in Lagos, I got to sit down with Fox to find out more about her exciting adventure up in West Africa.
JVB: Nicole welcome to JVB Online. Let’s get straight to it, tell me about the last five years and this crazy adventure of yours:
Nicole Fox: First of all I can’t believe it’s nearly five years in May. It’s been such an adventure. It’s been totally exciting. It’s been a complete diversion in my life. I never would’ve guessed that this would’ve happened to me, but then again I did make the choice and it has been absolutely the right thing for me. It has been crazy, it’s been frustrating. I’ve so many challenges of the stupidest things. I have learned a lot and I’ve grown as a person. I’ve had a great time.
JVB: How best would you describe Lagos?
Nicole Fox: Lagos is a bustling, heaving, throbbing, crazy city. Its none stop and someone kind of described it well. It’s like an assault on your senses. It’s noisy, it’s smelly, it’s bright it’s hot it’s humid. The elements are pretty harsh, but for that reason alone it’s crazy. Totally chaos but yet it operates on its own system and once you figure that system out, man you move and you shake.
JVB:I’ve just used the term “just now”. When last did you hear that?
Nicole Fox: (Laughs) You’re not going to believe this but I actually caught my husband saying now-now recently. “Ja, I’ll come and do it now now” and I was like what? I thought to myself I have totally converted you man. It only took four or five years (laughs). He’s an honorary South African now.
JVB: Tell me a little more about your current projects…
Nicole Fox: Well basically my current project first and foremost is my family. So that is what this chapter in my life is all about. I was quite clear that that is what I wanted, that was my priority to create a family. So my number one priority is my son Deen, who is now thirteen months old. He’s the light of my life, he’s just amazing and my husband and I have such a blast with him. He’s so cool, so much fun and we’re absolutely loving it.
JVB: You head home as often as you can but there must be a few things you really miss about SA?
Nicole Fox: What do I miss most about South Africa? First and foremost it would have to be family and friends. It such a cliché answer but when you’re away from them you really miss them. Number two would have to be oh my gosh, it’s so beautiful. I miss the trees, the beautiful weather, the blue skies, the Gauteng sunset and the thundershowers. Oh I miss it so much. And then of course I have to say I miss Woolworths (laughs).
JVB: What do you miss specifically?
Nicole Fox: Everything. I miss being able to walk into a store and have quality products available like that. I really miss rusks. I cannot buy buttermilk here. A friend of mine recently decided to conduct an experiment and posted a Tupperware of homemade rusks from Cape Town. He took my address and we thought that’s it. It would never reach. Twenty days later it arrived at my door. Can you believe it? Needless to say I scoffed all of them in its entirety in two days. Deen loves rusks (laughs).
JVB: It’s only five hours to Lagos from Johannesburg. If anyone is heading up to the city, what three could they do when they come to Lagos?
Nicole Fox: Coming to Lagos I would say that the number one thing you should do is to arrange on a Sunday a day out to the beach. A day out at the beach is just amazing. There are untouched beaches, palm trees everywhere. It’s beautiful and an absolute must-do. So chat to your hotel, your guest services about doing that. The other for tourists to do would be a visit to Leki Market, which is a wonderfully huge market with lots of West African crafts, trinkets, beautiful textiles, beads – and it’s all negotiable. The one thing you have to learn in Lagos is to negotiate.
Last night the inaugural AfricaMagic Viewers’ Choice Awards took place in Lagos, Nigeria. The awards honoured some of the continent’s top film and TV talent and judging by the amount of support and the turnout, people are impressed by the content coming out of Africa. We covered the awards in real time i.e. in addition to social media, we were blogging, uploading pictures and interviewing the winners as they walked off the stage via my beloved ipad. You can check all of that content out here www.AfricaMagic.tv.
Check out a full list of winners below.
Best Movie (Comedy)
Skeem Tim Greene
Best Movie (Drama)
The Mirror Boy Obi Emelonye
Best Movie (Overall)
Otelo Burning Sara Blecher
Best Television Series
The XYZ Show Godffrey Mwampembwa and Marie Lora-Mungai
Best Local Language – Swahili
The Ray of Hope Sameer Srivastava/Sanjni Srivastava
Best Local Language – Yoruba
Maami Tunde Kelani
Best Local Language – Hausa
Faida Nura A Ali and Hafizu Bello
Best Movie Director
Man on Ground Akin Omotoso
Best Writer (Drama)
The Mirror Boy Obi Emelonye and Amaka Obi Emelonye
Lagos; one of Africa’s busiest cities. With a population of more than 7million people, it’s a city with a lot of energy, entertainment and on a broader note, opportunity. I’m staying at a hotel called the Eko Hotel & Suites, which is the venue for the inaugural Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards taking place this Saturday. The hotel is located on Victoria Island, which is one of the most sought-after locations in the city. There’s a huge amount of development happening around here with a massive land reclaiming project underway. The new area is called Eko Atlantic. It is being referred to as a city and it will retrieve over nine million square metres of land from the sea and will ease the current demand for property, resources and the rapid population growth in this busy city. Check out this incredible pic (and the site) to see how this land reclamation process is going.
So that’s just a little bit of what’s going on the city. I’m loving being here – traveling the globe is incredible. Meeting new people from different cultures and seeing places you never thought you would is nothing short of awesome. I had a few issues with my passport on Monday. In fact I only got word that I was flying to Nigeria at 23:40 on Monday evening (my flight was set to depart JHB at 08:30). Tight much? Alas, it worked out and while I was exhausted on Tuesday morning, my flight here was great. The cabin crew were friendly, the leg room on board was fantastic and in general I was highly impressed with Arik Air – highly recommended.
After clearing customs and all of that jazz we hit the busy streets of Lagos en route to our hotel. I’d heard many stories about how heavy the traffic was and that we would be stuck for hours on end. That wasn’t the case. I think we got lucky, but it was great to move freely in the streets. Our driver was a little scary, I won’t lie. The way he was weaving through the streets and using that hooter at quite a high speed was all kinds of hair-raising. It’s the same anywhere you go in the world, so it’s not a surprise, but it’s always quite daunting when you can see how close the car next to you is etc, haha.
Our night was super chilled, relaxing and bed summoned us pretty early. I got up at the crack of dawn to hit the gym (I’m a freak like that, but then you should know that by now). Now imagine running in a gym in Lagos, a city known for its extreme temperatures, humidity. Imagine there are no windows there, so there is no fresh air and then imagine the AC isn’t working. It’s not ideal, but at least I sweated out all the garlic I consumed the night before 😉 It wasn’t ideal but hey, one remains calm and keeps running.
Another great thing about traveling? The random conversations you have with people? I was sitting working at breakfast and a local asked if he could sit at the table. Now for us South Africans, it’s kind of strange for someone you don’t know to ask if they can sit at your breakfast table. It’s just something we don’t really do, but in retrospect I think it’s really weird that we don’t. It’s common in the US and the UK, so we should exercise this in our own country. *Noted. Anyway, my new ‘friend’ told me he was a geologist out in Lagos for some meetings. He then quizzed myself and my friend/ colleague Leanne about our country, our purpose for being in Lagos, as well as our thoughts on apartheid. The latter is quite deep for 7:30, but hey. The conversation was good, we served as great ambassadors and then we said goodbye and moved on. Oh, the beauty of traveling. Leanne and I needed to get connected to the Net and on our mobiles so we hit up a cellphone shop. What was expected to be a 1-hour max excursion turned out to be just short of two and a half hours. Organised chaos I tell you, but the assistants were patient, extremely apologetic for the delays and friendly throughout, so it made it worthwhile. Note to prospective travelers, you will need to get your new sim card rica’d by the officials here. All you need is your passport, your address in the city and you’re good to go. Pretty easy going, but there are delays- clearly.
Today we’re in a series of script and audio/visual workshops and later we’ll hopefully sneak into the rehearsals for the big show. Tomorrow will be a busy ass day, but more on that then 🙂 So now you know where I am, what I’m up to and hopefully you’ve learned a bit about Lagos too.
Yesterday I flew into one of Africa‘s busiest cities, Lagos in Nigeria. I’m here to cover the first Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (click here for more details), which takes place this coming Saturday. I’ll tell you more about my experience in the build up to my trip soon, but for now, check out some of my mobile pics so far. This city is an adventure, an experience not many will be able to enjoy, but it has been good fun so far. More on the awards, the experience and the celeb spotting to follow.
The new season of Big Brother Africa is here. It’s called Big Brother Stargame and it officially kicked off last night. The show, in its seventh season, went live to the continent from its Johannesburg headquarters. International rapper J.Cole was on stage for a performance, as were some of choreographer Somizi’s dancers. I got to interview Cole yesterday too, nice guy and very friendly. I’ll have more from that interview this week, but for now, here are the housemate profiles for this year’s season:
Country: South Africa
The following housemates from across Africa entered the Big Brother StarGame House tonight (Sunday, 6 May) in the hope of winning Africa’s biggest reality show. They are:
Babalwa entered Big Brother StarGame because she loves competing in challenges, both physical and intellectual. The model, events manager and hair salon boss from King William’s Town in the Eastern Cape says the fact that she will be pushed to the limit in the house excites her and that she loves winning – “losing ain’t for me!” she says.
Barbzis single and says that she won’t sell her morals short for money – viewers shouldn’t expect any hanky panky from her in the house, but she’s game for anything else! She loves samp & beans with oxtail and her favourite books are “Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich” and “The Secret”. She enjoys most reality TV – she’s a huge Big Brother fan – and also likes watching news channels like CNN and Al Jazeerah.
She says her favourite places in the world outside of her home country are Miami and Lagos – the former for the parties, nice people and great shopping and the latter for the “fun”.
Barbz is inspired by a lot of people, but picks her Mom as the most influential because she moulded her into the person she is today. She says her parents influenced her life most because they made sure she went to good schools and their strict nature kept her out of trouble. The qualities she likes most in other people are respect, openness, friendship and “people with backbone” while she dislikes lies, false accusations, bad-mouthing, laziness and spitefulness. She entered Big Brother StarGame to market her brand and her business, to create awareness around xenophobia and to spread love amongst Africans.
Comedian, TV presenter, event organizer and talent manager DKB hails from Accra. He entered Big Brother StarGame because it’s a platform for people from different cultures and socialization to meet and bring the best out of themselves. Hedescribes himself as sociable, kind, trustworthy, entertaining and adaptable and promises viewers “non-stop entertainment”.
DKB’s role model is Tyler Perry because of the way he’s used his talent to empower black people. He says his Uncle has had the biggest influence on him “because he has taught me how to be a responsible man”.
His favourite part of Ghana is the Cape Coast, while the best thing about Africa is the culture. He’s a huge fan of Ice Cube and Tyler Perry and enjoys the music of Sarkodie, M.I.m Jay-Z, Eminem, HHP, Busta Rhymes, Usher and Freshlyground.
If he wins Big Brother StarGame, DKB would use the grand prize money to improve his life and that of his family. He would also start a business and create a charity investment that would sustain the outreach for a very long time. Hehopes that participating in Big Brother will better his interpersonal relations with people from other parts of Africa and boost his image as a formidable showbiz personality.
The MTV Africa Music Awards with Zain are just days away and now MTV Base has revealed this year’s host for the third MAMAs ceremony. It’s none other than actress and singer Eve. While she holds down the hosting duties, T-Pain, together with South African house trio Big Nuz and four-time MAMA winner D’Banj (Nigeria) will take to the stage to perform in Lagos, Nigeria come the 11th of December.
This is pretty random, but it has been year’s since I heard Eve’s collab with Alicia Keys called Gangsta Lovin’. Remember that one? Well now after all this time, I heard it again on Monday and now this. #Randomfact for the day. That’s all 🙂 Check out a list of this year’s nominees below: