Reggae Brings Unity In Kenya

Two promoters in Kenya are using reggae to promote unity in that country which has endured years of tribal conflict. They will stage a series of concerts called Umoja Splash Festival, which starts July 6 in Nairobi, the capital.

Jah Cure is headliner for the initial event which takes place at Uhuru Gardens. Kenya Don, a popular figure in African reggae circles, and Thomas “Big Ted” Kwaka, are co-promoters.

Kwaka, who is director of events in Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta’s office, said the shows’ objective is to maintain peace between Kenya’s over 40 tribes.

“The Umoja Splash Festival is very important to our country as it’s promoting the co-existence of the many different communities in Kenya. The festival will be going across all counties in the country; after the launch we plan to hit around 30 counties which means 30 concerts promoting unity,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

Kwaka said Jah Cure last performed in Kenya in 2012, and remains popular in the East African country, which has hosted a number of dancehall/reggae shows, some of them promoted by Kenya Don.

Image result for reggae artist in concert“Reggae is very popular in Kenya, and in addition to our local artistes, the top-flight reggae artistes will headline the concert series,” Kwaka said.

He did not disclose which Jamaican acts will perform at the follow-up shows.

Jamaica and Kenya have strong ties going back to the late 1950s when the Mau Mau uprising against the British colonial government, led by Kenyatta’s father, Jomo Kenyatta, erupted. In 1952, Jamaican Dudley Thompson assembled an international panel of lawyers that represented Kenyatta at his trial for treason.

The elder Kenyatta was imprisoned for seven years, but became his country’s first president in 1964 one year after independence from Britain. The Kikuyu (to which Kenyatta belonged), Maasai, Meru and Embu are some of the tribes in Kenya that have been involved in clashes.

Kenya Don, who has also promoted dancehall/reggae shows in the United Arab Emirates, Mauritius and Seychelles, believes the Umoja series can prevent bloody incidents like those in 2007-08 which resulted in the deaths of 1,500 people.

“Mr Kwaka is very enthusiastic about this festival and feels this is what Kenya needs at this time. With his expertise in the industry he would love to bring this to reality not only in Nairobi but across all the counties,” he said.

Source: Reggae brings unity in Kenya

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