Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Get Ready For Nai’s Inaugural 12-Week Festival

Nairobi is set to host the first-ever city-wide festival in Kenya scheduled to kick-off on Saturday May 11, 2013 and run on for the next 12 weeks. An initiative of The GoDown Arts Centre, the festival dubbed Nai Ni Who? will showcase Nairobi as a metropolis of many diverse cultures, and transform its various neighborhoods into platforms for history journeys and celebration of the people and their culture.

Speaking during the press launch, Executive Director of The GoDown Arts Centre Joy Mboya said Nai Ni Who? (Who is Nairobi?) came about as a result of a prevailing curiosity around the identity of Nairobi and Nairobians.

 “The identity of Nairobi and its residents has for a long time been expressed through ethnic or racial markers and for many the question of whether they belong here or their ethnic bases elicits varied answers. Nai Ni Who seeks to provide a platform to appreciate and celebrate these diverse answers,” says Joy Mboya.

 Mboya also said that this inaugural festival will highlight Nairobi’s history and opportunities, repositioning it on the map as a great destination, adding that there was need to let Nairobi define itself rather than assume a suggested identity.

The city has been mapped out into 12 neighborhood zones and running for 12 weeks, the festival will move from neighborhood to neighborhood giving residents a chance to celebrate through pride parades, neighborhood fairs and tours as well as showcasing of their unique offers.

The first zone to host the festival will be the South B - South C - Nairobi West zone, whose highlights will include a neighborhood parade down Dunga road, an Open Day at the GoDown Arts Centre where life-size puppets from the XYZ TV show will be displayed, beer and music evenings at the famous Birongo square in Nairobi West and inter-neighborhood soccer matches between Mukuru youth and Mathare North teams.

The GoDown Arts Centre has been involved in pre-festival engagements with communities in the various neighborhoods, training and preparing them for the celebrations.

“The level of enthusiasm particularly in the grassroots is overwhelming. The residents have amazing lessons in history and we want to promise Nairobi residents and visitors to the city that this will be a celebration to remember,” said Joy Mboya.

The Centre, which has been operational for the past 10 years has contributed immensely to the advancement of a robust arts and culture sector in Kenya and the region. With increasing reception in the audiences, the Centre has plans to expand into locally and in the region.