Counties converge on Kisumu for cultural fest

By: ANTHONY NJAGI

Lake side City was transformed into an extravagant exhibition of music, cultural dance and theatre on the third day of the Kenya Music and Cultural Festival organized by the Ministry of Culture and the Arts.

The week-long Cultural Festival that is being held at Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu has been attended by about 40,000 participants started on Friday and continues through the week to Thursday.

Besides music and dance the cultural festival also held an exhibition of traditional foods and medicines as well as an elaborate exhibition of visual arts, plays, dramatized verse, acrobatics and stand-up comedy.

According Nicholas Ole Moipei, the event’s organizing chairman, this year’s festival aimed at celebrating Kenya’s achievements for the past 50 years and sensitise the communities on the need to foster unit for development.

Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts Dr Hassan Wario is expected to attend the gala performances on Thursday.

Universities from the region showcased their creativity with teams from Moi University and churches impressing the festival-goers. Masinde Muliro University, Maasai Mara University, Sengekwo, Chavakali, KPA and Bandaru, Sologidi, Mikindani St Marks Mombasa, Muranga County Government choir, Salvation Army –Eldoret Central Choir, Password Group Nakuru, St Steophen’s Cathedral Kisumu, Nanyuki Water, Nakuru Ladies Choir, Nakuru Choir, Kisumu Friends Choir, KTC PAG Kenya and Mlimaki Dancers staged memorable acts.

Conspicuously absent in the festivals are the parastatal choirs.

“Parastatals and club choirs participation is really low. I want to appeal to head of parastatals to

participate in this festivals,” said Mr Richard Kathambi, the vice chair of the Kenya Music and Cultural Festivals.

Participants also came from other parts of the country with Arise and Shine from Vihiga County, PCEA Lanet Youth Choir from Nakuru, Mikindani ACK from Mombasa County and Micy Kanunga from Kiambu showcasing their talents at the festival.

Mr Moipei said: ‘’it is so much fun seeing all Kenyans cultures mingling freely while appreciating each other and knowing that they have so much to learn and share from their cultural differences’’.

Mrs Ranguma, wife of Kisumu County’s governor Jack Ranguma who was the chief guest said performances would instil a sense of optimism.

“It is my belief that music and cultural festival is also reflecting the struggles of our time, and hopefully communicating messages that empower the people and encourage them to move on with hope and determination.”

In the economic sense, the varieties of cultural expressions offer a new avenue for the growth and development of tourism products, she said.

“Story telling gives a break from the other modes that offer less intellectual stimulus at the least and at worse, a showcase of ethnical decay in the society,’’ she said.

Kisumu County Chief Officer Lucy Matengo said the festival hoped to create new opportunities.

‘’We organise these festivals in order to create opportunities and nurture various talents for prosperity which is one of our Ministry of Gender and Culture and Sports in Kisumu County.

On behalf of the Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma, we feel proud as a county in supporting such an activity this year.”

Calvin Adwar a national executive member said Kisumu County will experience a sense of diversity whose hosting will foster national unity and cultural exposition becoming a bedrock of art.