Finding art and culture in SAMOSA


September 23, 2010 – The SAMOSA (South Asian Mosaic of Society & the Arts) Festival, now in its 5th year, is the premier biennial festival for cross cultural interaction in Kenya.

The festival, which has been ongoing since Saturday the 18th of September showcases the best in African, Eastern and Western cultures in the region, and is a celebration of race, cultural and ethnic differences.

This year’s theme was “Different is Exciting”. Art, music, dance and poetry are some of the best ways for humanity to embrace diversity and that’s what has been going on at different Nairobi venues.

The Festival is a cultural tool conceptualized by Awaaz magazine (a contemporary journal of Kenyan South Asian History and culture) and was first organized at the GoDown in 2005. 

It has explored commonalities within the South Asian and African communities of East Africa, through a series of exhibitions, discussion forums, concerts and dance performances.

This year’s SAMOSA Festival has had so much to offer among them the Mentorship Program Launch – a unique program facilitated by Sunny Bindra and Tazim Elkington that went down on Wednesday.

Children from Mogra Star Academy in Mathare, Albinism Foundation of East Africa and Brookhouse Primary School gathered together at Brookhouse for the SAMOSA Kids time. Students participated in workshops including Kendama, Yoga, Rangoli and Capoeira etc.

Not to be forgotten is the Kenyan Rangoli Exhibition at RaMoMa showcasing 8 exciting local artists who draw inspiration from the Indian traditional sand painting art of Rangoli.  Drawing from their own cultural experiences, they interpret Rangoli to make their pieces.

Festival goers are also invited to add to an ever growing public Rangoli – all the materials have been provided and once you have been inspired, you can add your own touch.

There are Mathare Film Screenings that have been going on all week long too.

The good news is that there are more events lined up until the weekend. So, if some events have passed you by fret not.

Performance Poetry will be on today (Thursday 23rd) at the Alliance Francaise Auditorium. This unique event merges two mediums of cultural expression in the theme, the Word and the Craft.

For the first time on stage there will be sketch and poetic artists in ‘Speak and Sketch’ an event featuring works from a plethora of creative people ranging from primary schools to acclaimed authors in poetry and art. Poets will perform their pieces onstage as the audience watches the poems expressed to visual life by the sketch artist interpreting it in the craft.


On Friday the 24th, there will be a Concert under the Stars – an explosion of Kenyan fusion at the Nairobi Arboretum, which is a soaring and specially choreographed musical concert. It will showcase the finest of Nairobi’s artistic expression and talent.

Finally on Saturday, it will be all Sports at the Nairobi Gymkhana.

Here you will have a choice to either watch or participate in the various sports that have been lined up for people of all ages, sexes and races: Twenty-20 cricket, Kabbadi (an old Indian school game that will definitely have you giggling), Archery and Kendama (a Japanese sport that is good for the body, mind and soul).

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