The Kora Awards, dubbed “Africa’s Grammys”, have been postponed until Monday because Chris Brown, the US rapper headlining the event, missed his flight, organisers said.
Brown “will not arrive until Sunday at 5:00 am (0500 GMT),” the event’s communication director Konnie Toure told AFP on Saturday.
The award extravaganza, which originated in South Africa in 1994, was to have been held Saturday in Ivory Coast’s economic capital Abidjan.
Past editions have been attended by South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela and the late “King of Pop” Michael Jackson.
Brown, known as much for his virtuoso dance steps as for his tumultuous relationship with singer Rihanna, whom he has admitted assaulting, will still arrive in time to perform as scheduled at a concert “for peace in Africa” at Abidjan’s main sport stadium on Sunday, Toure 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 programme and 180 days of community labour after pleading guilty to assaulting Barbadian singer Rihanna on the eve of the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in 2009.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]