Music of Wednesday, 23 February 2005


MTV launches channel for Africa

Lebo performed at the launch party MTV has launched its first music channel for Africa. MTV base Africa is available to some 1.3 million homes across the continent via satellite, but also plans to broadcast on free-to-air networks.

From the outset a third of the new station's music will be African, with that figure set to rise to 50%. Critics of MTV accuse it of promoting bland, American youth culture around the world.


At a glossy launch in Johannesburg, South African singer Lebo - whose music is a mix of African rhythms, Western pop and rap - said the development would be positive for artists like her.

"Now you're guaranteed that whether you go to Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, anywhere in the world, you know that people there will definitely know your music through the channel," she said.

MTV says it plans to help encourage African music at grassroots level and bring it to a global audience.

Speaking from Johannesburg, the president of MTV Networks International, Bill Roedy, said the company was committed to the music and culture of Africa.

"We've made it symbolic by making it our 100th channel. It's symbolic because we have a tremendous belief in the role that music from Africa can play," he said.

"Our aim is to be very aggressive, creative, even relentless in getting our channel out to as many households as possible in Africa.

Among the channel's plans are a weekly documentary series on emerging African musicians.

It will be shown on the Multichoice satellite network.