The theme of this year’s fete was “Enhancing National Cohesion and Integration”, which the students aptly interpreted through various sub-themes including peace and reconciliation, national cohesion, self-employment, the Big-4 Agenda, cultural diversity, anti-graft issues and agriculture among others
The gala event brought together 27 teams drawn from across the country. The 27 winning finalists were sampled from a total of 600 categories that participated in the 11-day annual event, bringing together performances from all levels of education from the the Early Childhood Development (ECD) pupils to university students. It featured the best performances in set pieces, original compositions, folk songs, folk dances, oriental music, own choices of created pieces and elocution verses in various languages. Nairobi county emerged the overall winner of the festivals.
Kakamega High School’s play, “The Burdens” and Butere Girls’ School play, “It Is Well”, scooped the Best Costumes and Best Production awards respectively in preliminary reports announced by adjudicators. There was no doubt Karima Girls School brought a fresh edge to the fete in the play “Animal City Animosity”, by Jospeh Murungu, and deservedly made it to the gala. The play depicts an animal kingdom where a power struggle leads to assassinations. What was new was the use of masks, great acting from the main characters and a great deal of recreating the wilderness on stage.
President Uhuru was in attendance during the gala in which he made a speech to eager students and teachers alike.
“This year’s theme is not just for the Festival, but a theme of Kenya’s national life,” the Ppresident observed, commending the performers for superbly bringing out pertinent issue of national unity and reconciliation. “I will continue to push for even more African countries to join us in this programme, for, as you know, I believe in and cherish Pan-Africanism,” Uhuru said.
The Head of State added: “Once other partner states get on board, we shall be on the way to attaining cultural integration, and the quicker the better.”Some of the outstanding performers in this year’s festival will be showcased at the Uganda Music and Drama Festivals. Ugandan officials were also in attendance at the Nyeri ceremony.
In the spirit of regional cooperation, the President said he was delighted that over the last two years, the Ministries of Education in Kenya and Uganda had run an exchange programme under the East African Music, Dance and Drama Festivals. The President said music and dance have the power to bring people together, to bridge divides and to create a common identity. He urged media and the corporates to support and nurture the talent of the young people.
“As a government, we will secure and promote consumption of local content, through legislative interventions that will ensure and promote market access for our artists,” said the President. The President at the same time announced plans to allow tax-free importation of music equipment. He said this will be to ensure that institutions of learning can easily acquire them to promote music in schools.