Media Breakfast meeting

Published on : 06/09/2003
Source : Kimani Wanjuru (Journaliste culturel au Kenya)

Along with this new approach the GC will be presenting to theinvited captains of industry, chief executives of corporate bodies, stakeholders in the culture and arts industry and the media, an ambitious refurbishment
plan for Kenya National Theatre, a plan for the development of an arts and culture industry, a fund-raising plan for an arts endowment and a
marketing plan incorporating a program of activities.

The vision, mission and the marketing plans have been developed after an in-depth professional assessment of
the Kenyan Cultural Center by KPMG - a professional management and marketing firm. This study by KPMG is a first of its kind for the KCC since independence. The Governing Council of the KCC felt the need for this study since the KCC has been floundering for years and has in the past been unable to fulfill its mandate as defined by the Kenya Cultural Center Act Cap 218. The study by KPMG, whose report will be presented to the gathering, looked into the organizational structure of
the KCC, its mandate, its responsibilities and roles in the provision of space for the enjoyment of arts and culture throughout the Republic of Kenya. The study looked at the financial management and
structures of the KCC as the basis of creating a means of financing the arts and culture in the country.

The KCC Governing Council after a soul-searching retreat developed a mission statement that calls for
the advocating of mainstreaming of culture in development. This arises from the appreciation of the need to mainstream culture as the cornerstone of all development efforts. The GC acknowledges that without a sound cultural basis that determines a nation's identity, the way it views itself, how it desired to be viewed by others, how it determines its modes of
production and distribution of wealth, its aesthetics, languages and ways of communication, its style of governance, its cosmology and relationship with the spiritual it cannot develop. The GC also wishes to
make the point that culture is not the preserve of the Ministry concerned but a cross cutting and foundational matter that needs be accorded attention.

The Breakfast meeting is the first effort by the GC to highlight the centrality of culture in political,
economic, and social life. It will also be an opportunity to bring to the attention of those gathered the important role in national development
culture plays. The GC is determined to address the issue of the gross underdevelopment of the culture
industry in Kenya. The breakfast will thus be an attempt at a positioning culture in a multi-sectoral platform that will create the synergy necessary to
harness the vast potential and talent that abounds in the country. The GC believes that the dream of creating 500,000 jobs in Kenya lies in the development of the visual art, film, theater, dance, music, fashion, culinary art, physical arts like sports and literary arts. To achieve these targets all players must be involved and the Kenya Cultural Center
provides the pivot for this initiative.

During the Breakfast meeting the invited guests will also have the opportunity to sample some of Kenya's
expressive culture that makes strong social commentary; Eric Wainaina of the Nchi ya Kitu Kidogo fame will make a presentation, Richard Onyango a brilliant young visual artist with strong social commentaries will have his work exhibited and there
will be comedy acts by Public Noisemakers of the Intrukalass fame.

There are a series of fund-raising shows and events planned by the GC as the precursor of a fully-fledged
season calendar that will hopefully transform the KCC and the Kenya National Theater into a beehive of
activity.

On 13th September 2003 the Governing Council will be
organizing a whole day variety show dubbed'Celebration of the Life of Wahome'Whispers' Mutahi'.
Wahome Mutahi a well-liked playwright, novelist, humorist, satirist, actor, director, and play producer, critic passed away in July. The event will culminate in the unveiling of a monument at the Kenyan National Theatre in honour of the departed thespian. The entire east African region was plunged into mourning this rate artistic talent and rightfully so.
Whispers become a household name in the entire East African region as a result of these stinging yet humorous social commentaries. Through his writing he allowed his readers a chance to laugh at themselves, a
rare feat in difficult economic and political times.
He braced the theatre scene as a colossus writing plays, directing and acting in them and even producing. He pioneered the highly successful movement of producing popular theatre in Kenyan national
languages. His plays were humorous and politically bold a rare feat to combine.

'Whispers' was in the forefront of the civic education campaigns that started in earnest in the late 1980s
and he penned many books on civic and voter education.
It is unfortunate that that he only enjoyed six months of the realization of his dream of the opening up of
the political space that he worked so hard for and even got jailed for. He facilitated numerous workshops
on civic education.

After a long hospitalization as a result of a minor surgery turned tragic Whisper's family was left with a huge unpaid bill. This event will not only serve as a tribute to his contribution to the cultural life of this nation but also as an opportunity for Kenyans, and indeed all East Africans, a chance to join his family to celebrate his life, but is also meant to raise funds to assist them defray these costs. Hence the proceeds from the diverse activities planned for that day will be donated to the family to help defray these accumulated bills.

The event will bring together artists from all walks of life that were touched by Whisper's talents.

On 20th September 2003 KCC will be holding its first stakeholders' meeting. This meeting will bring together artists, promoters, and policy makers
involved in matters of a cultural, educational, historical, scientific and philanthropic nature as defined by the Act. The GC has called this meeting as an opportunity for all concerned about culture to brainstorm on the direction the cultural development
of the nation will go.

Partners

  • Arterial network
  • Media, Sports and Entertainment Group (MSE)
  • Gens de la Caraïbe
  • Groupe 30 Afrique
  • Alliance Française VANUATU
  • PACIFIC ARTS ALLIANCE
  • FURTHER ARTS
  • Zimbabwe : Culture Fund Of Zimbabwe Trust
  • RDC : Groupe TACCEMS
  • Rwanda : Positive Production
  • Togo : Kadam Kadam
  • Niger : ONG Culture Art Humanité
  • Collectif 2004 Images
  • Africultures Burkina-Faso
  • Bénincultures / Editions Plurielles
  • Africiné
  • Afrilivres

With the support of