The government will increase funding for the performing arts to harness and transform talent into productive activities, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.
The President made the revelations at State House, Nakuru, Wednesday when he hosted the finalists’ gala of the 93rd Kenya Music Festival.
“My government will continue supporting national music festivals as they develop talent, promote the preservation and appreciation of the diverse Kenyan cultures, foster unity, cohesion and integration in the country and beyond,” President Kenyatta said.
He added that the fete brought together people from different cultures and people from across the East African region, thereby enhancing regional unity and cohesion.
The annual event, whose theme was ‘Enhancing National Unity, Cohesion and Integration through Kenya Music Festival’ brought together participants from Kenya and other East African Community (EAC) members, including Uganda.
The festival, he said, showed that society is made stronger by the diversity of cultures. “Over the past week while on my visit to Jamaica, I witnessed that music was used to break ground and promote diversity,” the President said.
He emphasised the need to promote the annual drama festival as a stepping stone to marketing the talents on show internationally.
“Music and the arts are no longer secondary to education … performing arts are now part of our education system and part of the curriculum like mathematics and English,” he said.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said: “The event provided a platform for learners to identify and nurture talent, in line with the competence-based curriculum reform initiative. The performing arts also develop character and intellect, while at the same time reinforcing self-confidence in learners.”
During the event, the best teams from the 10-day National Music Festival thrilled guests.
Some 30 finalists had a chance to entertain the President at State House, Nakuru, and they did not disappoint.
They presented impressive items in various categories including elocution, folk dances, choral music, set pieces and public speaking.
A mass choir with participants from Thika School for the Visually Impaired, Embu TTC, Eldoret National Polytechnic, University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University and backed by Ghetto Classics Orchestra presented ‘Tushangilie Kenya’, a patriotic song by top music composer Thomas Wesonga.
Kitui Teachers Training College emerged the overall winner in the college category and received a trophy from the Head of State yesterday.
President Kenyatta also presented trophies to other winners including St Paul Erusui Girls (Western), Starehe Boys Centre (Nairobi), Mtomondoni Primary School (Coast), University of Nairobi (Nairobi), Carmel View (Western), St Catherine Girls (Rift Valley), Naburerreya Secondary School (Eastern), Technical University of Kenya (Nairobi), Ololulunga Boys (Rift Valley) and Mbale Boys (Western).
Others were Kakamega Primary (Western), Makini Junior Academy (Nairobi), Tengecha Girls (Rift Valley) and Santa Maria Girls (Rift Valley).
Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui thanked the organisers for choosing to have the annual music event hosted by the county.
Also present present were Mr Peter Wanjohi, the chairman of the Kenya National Music Festivals, and the event’s executive secretary Ruth Agesa.
Reporting by Stella Cherono, Eric Matara and Anthony Njagi