The 8th Samosa Festival opened on June 10 at The Alchemist in Westlands, Nairobi.
There was a tasty preview that day of several events that will transpire during the Festival, that will take place between June 10 and July 17. One was a performance by Aleya Kassam of her sweet yet sardonic poem, “The 44th Tribe”. The other was another live performance by members of the Kenya Institute of Puppet Theatre, featuring the life-size puppet Mzee Msafari, who sang along with the Caribbean crooner, Harry Belafonte.
This year’s Samosa Festival will be filled with films, public forums, puppetry and an original Kenyan play by Walter Sitati and Hearts of Art entitled What Can’t Kill You.
There will also be an open mic where local poets will perform.
Karen Rothmyer, who was one of Kenya’s media ombudsmen for many years, will fly in from the US for the launch of her new book about Kenya’s first Foreign Minister and second Vice President, Joseph Murumbi. The book launch will be accompanied by stimulating discussions.
There will also be a house tour of the African Heritage House, which is situated right on the edge of Nairobi National Park. The House, in addition to being “the most photographed house in all of Africa” is a site filled with heaps of Pan African art, artefacts, musical instruments, textiles and architecture from all over Africa.
Apart from the art, there are public forums that nobody would want to miss. On June 21, there will be a ‘for women only’ event about gender-based violence and the persistence of female genital mutilation.
But the rest are bound to rouse lively discussions as they will address topics such as the ‘Handshake and its After Effects’ (June 14) at the Mathare Social Justice Centre, and ‘Constitutional and Governance Principles’ on July 7 at the University of Nairobi from 6.30pm.
The films should also attract crowds. The first film, Newton, will be screened at The Alchemist on June 12 at 7pm. Pearl of Africa, a documentary about a Ugandan transgender person, will be screened on June 20, while Nairobi Half Life will be shown on June 27.
Joy Mboya, the managing director of The GoDown Art Centre, was the guest speaker at the Festival’s launch. The MC was Larry Asego. He invited the Festival organiser Zahid Rajan to give an overview and to welcome attendants to eat free samosas and bhajia.