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Promote local music/drama, instead of foreign soap operas and wrestling contests-Professor Magoha

Kenyan playwrights and music composers have been challenged to create local content that promotes national moral values, and peaceful co-existence.
Education Cabinet Secretary Professor George Magoha said investments made for drama and theatre festivals for schools and colleges should be fashioned to generate employment and income, for a multiplicity of budding actors, thespians, singers, orators, reciters, script writers and directors.
Speaking when he officially closed the 93rd edition of the Kenya National Music Festival that was hosted at Kabarak University’s Main Campus in Nakuru, the cabinet secretary said Kenyans cannot continue watching foreign soap operas and wrestling shows as core content on the country’s national television stations.
“Kenya is yearning for local productions, but our indifference has handed foreign soaps, some simplistic, unnecessary prominence and infiltration on our screens. It is very possible for various government agencies to partner in improving the national finals scripts and put them on the market,” suggested Magoha.
Professor Magoha observed that there were many agencies that needed the services of the creative industry, and the Ministry of Education was willing to provide leadership in formalising these partnerships and giving the budding creative structures so that drama and music performances are functional at a personal and societal level.
The Cabinet Secretary stated that music, drama and theatre are good catalysts for social transformation. The skits and productions he said were potential tools in solving societal problems, communicate ideas, teach, raise consciousness and provide a livelihood for those with talent and the technical know-how.
Professor Magoha who was accompanied by his Principal Secretary Dr Belio Kipsang said it was high time the county transformed the festivals from the annual ritual event to the creative industry it ought to be.
Kenya Music Festival National Chairman Peter Wanjohi observed that the event had attracted over 50,000 participants and 3,500 teachers from Early Childhood Centres, Special Needs Institutions, Primary Schools and Teacher Training Colleges.
A further 130,000 students and 7,000 teachers staged performances for Secondary Schools, Technical and Vocational Education Training Institutes and Universities.
State corporations threw their weight behind various themes with the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) sponsoring topics that promote responsible and safe use of the social media and online platforms.
It was also a boon for 2019’s music festivals which has attracted recognition from the United Nations through its United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), with the latter bankrolling items that denounce violence against children and minors.
National Chairman Wanjohi noted that of the over 600 items that had been showcased by Secondary Schools, Technical and Vocational Education Training Institutes and Universities at the event category, the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) had sponsored themes that address the government’s Big 4 agenda on Affordable Housing, Universal Health Care, Manufacturing and Food Security.
“We want the government’s big 4 agenda to have continuity in future well past the current administration. The best way to inculcate in the mind of young Kenyans development-oriented initiatives is through music”.
Other categories received backing from the corporate sector according to the chairman were those that will promote national unity, cohesion and integration in the country.
Wanjohi stated that Kenya’s younger generation generally did not identify themselves as communities or ethnic groupings until at a ‘later’ stage when they are negatively influenced by certain individuals pursuing sectarian and selfish interests.
“Music is a very powerful tool of communication. It transcends boundaries and has been shown to promote togetherness and peace among people of diverse backgrounds. In Kenya we must start slaying the dragon of ethnicity through performing arts,” said Wanjohi.
Wanjohi indicated that organisers of the event had partnered with the department of public health to monitor the quality and safety of food set up by 13 hotels at Kabarak University.
He thanked the Ministry of Health for setting up 10 fully equipped and manned clinics that were providing health care to participants and their teachers.
By Anne Mwale

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