Kenyan govt pledges youth festival support
3 May 2018
The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) will from next year fund the annual National Drama Festival – a platform designed for young people to showcase their musical and theatrical projects. The Kenya Film Classification Board has earmarked between 6 and 10 million Kenyan shillings for next year's National Drama Festival.
“We are ready to go as the main sponsors beginning next year,” KFCB CEO Ezekiel Mutua said. “The government will invest between 6 million ($60 000) and 10 million Kenyan shillings ($100 000) to help boost the cultural and creative businesses across the country.”
Mutua said the funding would be used to train the youth in music and playwriting, film production and theatre performance as well as painting and sculpture.
For the past 59 years, the festival has afforded young people an opportunity to showcase their talent and innovation through music, dance and stage plays.
Kenya's creative industry has grown in recent years and is estimated to be worth about 85.1 billion Kenyan shillings. This is partly a result of an increase in Internet usage and new technologies, which Mutua said was drawing more young people to seek work in the creative industry.
Kenyan musician and film producer Ndungi Githuku, who is a product of the drama festival, told Music In Africa that the deal would boost Kenya's expanding creative industry by supporting and nurturing upcoming talent.
“This is good news. However, my biggest fear is that the KFCB will use this privilege to drive its agenda," he said. "Mutua has a reputation of forcing his ideas on music and film creators and I have no doubt that he will want to dominate and dictate the theme the festival carries.”
“We have great art pieces presented by high school and university students at the drama festival, some of which are critical of society but in a manner in which I am sure Mutua may not agree with."
Githuku said that since Mutua took office, he had faced criticism from both Kenyan artists and the public for refusing to align himself with the needs of the Kenyan creative sector.