The 94th edition of the annual National Kenya Music and Cultural Festival kicked off to a high note in Mombasa at the weekend.
The weeklong event running under the theme, Celebrating the Resilience of Kenyans in Safeguarding the Health of our Nation is taking place at the scenic Mama Ngina Waterfront Park in the coastal city.
The festival activities began two weeks ago at ward levels and progressed to the county level before finalizing at the national level in Mombasa.
Stephen Keah, the national treasurer of the National Kenya Music and Cultural Festival said participants from 30 counties will face off at the cultural fete.
Keah said the participants will showcase their unique cultural heritage and practices depicted in the form of traditional dances, narratives, plays, solo verses, coral verses, foods, arts and oral tradition.
“The overriding objective of the annual festival is to be a tool that can promote peace, national reconciliation and cohesion among the diverse Kenyan communities,” he said.
He said the cultural extravaganza started on a very high note with the patrons and cultural and heritage enthusiasts already bewildered by what is on offer.
Dr Emmanuel Shikuku, the Vice Chairperson of the Kenya National Cultural Festival said the fete is geared towards empowering the youths for job opportunities and wealth creation.
Dr Shikuku said the annual festivals have been part and parcel of Kenyan community celebrations over the years and safeguards age-old traditions and practices.
He said the grand cultural extravaganza aims to increase awareness about various Kenyan art forms and the country’s rich heritage.
“The festivals promote intercultural understanding and showcase various communities’ rich and diverse cultural expressions that need to be preserved for posterity,” he said.
Michael Bundo, the Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Cultural Centre domiciled in the state department of culture and heritage said the cultural activities seek to cultivate the national spirit.
“The colourful cultural activities will no doubt promote unity among all ethnic groups and make a concerted effort to achieve prosperity and development for all,” he said.
He said festivals provide an opportunity to highlight the positive elements of the diverse Kenyan community cultures and traditions.
The Mombasa County Directorate of Cultural Affairs Chief Officer, Aisha Abubakar, said they are delighted to host the splendid cultural event and hope to attract local and international tourists.
By Hussein Abdullahi