Nineteen cultural groups from Kwale County are set to represent the county in the national music and cultural competitions set for Mombasa County next week.
The groups comprise traditional dancers, artists, craftsmen’s and women that participated in the weeklong County’s Cultural Auditions held in Matuga Sub County.
The auditions attracted over 200 groups across the four- sub-counties of Matuga, Msambweni, Lunga Lunga and Kinango.
Kwale is expecting to emerge victorious in the one-week contest starting from December 4 in Mama Ngina waterfront grounds in Mombasa.
The county emerged 2nd in Kenya in the 2019 Music and Cultural competitions meant to celebrate the rich Kenyan heritage held in Siaya County and scooped over 40 trophies in different categories of music, poetry, dances, and arts.
The coastal county of Kwale who also lifted the Most Improved County trophy finished in the second position ahead of Uasin Gishu County who were the 2nd runners up. Hosts Siaya and Mombasa counties were positioned 4 and 5 respectively.
Some of the activities lined up for the festivals include showcasing the traditional attires, group choirs, solo verses, instrumental plays, traditional dances, and sacred folklores among others.
Speaking to KNA, the County Executive for Culture, Ramadhan Bungale, said that the county is prepared to emerge victorious at the national level.
Bungale asked the groups to show commitment in their performances and bring victory to the coastal county.
“We aim to be the winners in this year’s national competitions and am asking our participants to do their best. I believe that Kwale is always the best,’’ he said.
Bungale assured the residents that the County Government will support talents as it tries to address issues of unemployment among the youth.
He noted that the County Government has set aside Sh14 million in the 2021/2022 budget to facilitate the cultural festivals and talent auditions.
“We want to give platforms to everyone in the county to showcase his or her talents. Talents are helpful and they have transformed the economy of European nations. As a county, we have developed a roadmap to identify and nurture talents so that we can transform the economy of the county and the country at large,’’ Bungale said.
The executive member noted that the county has completed setting up an audio-visual studio that will help artists record their songs.
He said the studio will help young artists to develop their singing talents and find alternative ways of earning a living.
He said that the Salim Mvurya led administration is keen on finding solutions to some of the key problems affecting the youth in Kwale.
“As a devolved unit, we are committed to improving the living standards and the wellbeing of the community. All these developments are crafted to make the community self-reliant,’’Bungale said.
In addition, the chairperson of the department of talents and sports in the county assembly, Joseph Danda, asked the participants to show perfection in their performance and make the county proud.
Danda added that the culture department received a small share in the budget allocation and he vowed to push the issue in the assembly so that the department can receive a bigger allocation in the next financial year.
“The money allocated in this department is not enough and it’s pulling us behind. This department must be well funded since it contributes to the county’s revenue. If our cultural aspects are well marketed, then our county can attract many visitors,” Danda said.
He added that the department is working on a plan to put a display of the cultural artifacts in local airstrips, restaurants along the coastline to attract tourists and cultural enthusiasts.
In 2020, the festivals were suspended following the outbreak of the Covid-19 competitions.
This year’s event shall be held under strict Ministry of Health protocols to prevent the spread of the virus.
By Raymond Zaka and Hussein Abdullahi