The fourth edition of the Kenya Universities Performing Arts Association (KUPAA) festivals officially kicked off at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University in Siaya County, where at least 30 universities across the country gathered at to showcase their talent.
The learners thrilled the audience in an event that has attracted participants both public and private universities.
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, the host institution was a beehive of activity as the students rehearsed and performed their items.
Running under the theme, shaping societal development through performing arts, the ten-day event seeks to refine intellectual interactions of the students.
In his speech read by the outgoing University Education PS Amb. Simon Nabukwesi, Education CS Ezekiel Machogu said KUPAA festival would not only decongest the Kenya National Drama Festivals, but also give opportunity for university students to participate in performing arts without inhibitions and allow them to be role models.
The CS further added that his ministry is considering the proposal of funding future KUPAA events to strengthen its activities.
On his part, Amb.Nabukwesi who spoke during the official opening of the event, observed that there is so much to learn from the performances.
The PS said the performances grant the young people an opportunity to showcase their hidden talent.
“Having such festivals is an indication that our universities have matured enough to produce intellectuals that are all round,” said Nabukwesi.
He added that arts helps students in embracing values such as confidence, time management and ability to be independent.
Speaking during the same event, KUPAA National Chairman Mr Boniface Isalambo, said the festival has grown both quantitatively and qualitatively.
“We were expecting all the 35 KUPAA member universities to participate, but due to the challenge of funding co-curriculum activities by universities, we are unlikely to have everyone attending,” he said.
He added that the festival is student centered and research driven.
The event which is expected to end on November 13, has seen students display ecstatic performances on drama, visual arts and beauty pageant.
While echoing the significance of the Creative Arts in the growth of Kenya’s economy, the chairman took note of the key role arts play in promoting Kenya’s culture, diversity and cohesion.
“Works of art such as music, story-telling, film and poetry, theater and performing arts are powerful tools for promoting Kenya’s cultural diversity and cohesion as well as an avenue for job and wealth creation,” she said.
The host university Vice Chancellor Prof Stephen Agong’ lauded KUPAA for spearheading the festival, which he said, provides learners with opportunities to not only showcase their talents, but also inspires them to exploit their talents for job opportunities and wealth creation.
“We are happy as an institution to have hosted both the regional and national festivals,” said Agong’.
By Brian Ondeng