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TABLE OF CONTENTS Contributor List 6 Be Trends 8 & 9 Quickie 10 Editor’s Note 10 Discovering Afrika 12 Cover Feature 14 Afro Art 21 Art of Fashion 25 Be Story 31 The Artist 33 The Mentor 37 Creative Government 40 Creative Entrepreneur 41 Discovered 45 The Creative 49 Afro Lens 51 Tech 55 Creative Cities 57

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? a e d i n a Got t u o b a s u l l e T it

CONTRIBUTOR LIST EDITORIAL Marita Paulina Rina Maria STYLE Ojwa Styling Brian Emry BEAUTY Kanai Beauties ART & GRAPHICS Jesse Ondego PHOTOGRAPHY Ptech Photography June July Photography What’s Good Live Special Thanks to the Creative Contributors that participated in this issue. If you would like to join this long list of fabulous creatives email us on If you would like to be featured in our issues email us on If you would like to work with us on a project please email us on If you would like to advertise with us please email us on




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As we wave hello to 2018, there are some creative trends we think you should keep up with.



Outdoor festivals. With the advancement of technology, brands do not have to leave the comforts of their offices to engage with consumers. That’s what Instagram and Facebook is for in this mobile age. But there is something you can’t deny, the human touch and engagements. Companies are eager to join festivals like Blankets and Wine, African Nouveau and Diani Beach festivals as a way to engage with a unique audience they probably wouldn’t have access to. It’s also a great way for creatives to gain access to a new and wider consumer base.





Instagram Stories was likely the biggest single change in the Instagram UX, and its marketing implications are huge. A huge deal with Instagram Stories is this: accounts with over 10,000 followers can now add a link within the feature. Considering the fact that the only other place you can put a link on Instagram is just the one buried on your profile page, this is a huge deal, as it multiplies buying or inquiry opportunities by orders of

magnitude. Instagram Stories in particular will be relevant from a marketing perspective because, compared to other transitory video platforms, Instagram metrics are eminently trackable. Their foundation is social media engagement gold. Video drastically outperforms all other forms of content on every test. (Source https://




Video will continue to dominate – The phenomenal growth of video shows no signs of slowing down. By 2019, it will represent over 80% of all internet traffic. In fact, the internet will support over 3 trillion video minutes per month in 2020, which equates to 5 million years of video per month, or about 1 million videos every second (source Kuno Creative)


Live streaming isn’t about live streaming. At least not in the way we’re going to be talking about it. You’re going to see a lot more of it in 2018, and the people who do it well will be fully with the times and accelerating. Its prevalence will increase because it works. It’s actually about technology. We get better phones every

year. Does that mean that we’re running the same apps better? Sometimes. But once the technological baseline of the average user has clearly moved up a notch, it becomes about making more robust apps that do more and fully take advantage of that new technology. (Source https://

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New Year New Goals 2017 might have had more disappointing moments than gratifying ones. We make plans that don’t always become fruitful, and goals that seem more like an oasis. We have the plan, put the work in and yet fall short. This can make you feel a certain kind of way about yourself. However, this December we learned 2 sentences that Be Afrika will carry with it for a long time. You did well. You worked hard. It’s important to remind yourself that, praise yourself even when no one else is. Why? Because no one but us knows how much work we put in towards our passion, our desire to turn our dreams and goals to fruitful realities. Most New Year’s resolutions involve improving your health or happiness. One key to achieving your resolutions is picking specific, realistically achievable and measurable goals. But beyond those basics, what should you do differently? After all, just “living healthier” feels overwhelming. So this January, make a new year’s resolution to always check in on yourself. You are your greatest prize.

On that note we have a great line up for you this month. The pages kick off with African Nouveau as the cover feature, the sister festival to Blankets and Wine. Loaded with exciting experiences for the 2 Days 2 Nights, the non-stop music, culinary, art, film, fashion, renewable energy, wellness, beauty and VR. A festival like no other that Nairobi has ever seen. Our main feature, the Mwelu Foundation. A registered Trust founded in 2007, working with a group of approximately 80 ambitious, positive and talented young people to help them realize their potential through photography, film production and the building of life skills. Be Afrika looks forward to working more with the Mwelu Foundations and organizations like them. Enjoy the issue, don’t forget to recommend it to someone interested in African Creatives. Keep this in mind you are doing well. -M.O

A space for African creatives and creatives interested in Africa. Follow us on Facebook Be Afrika Instagram be__afrika Twitter be_afrika Page| 10 BeAfrika Pintrest Be Afrika Online

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he Diani Beach Festival, was Kenya’s first ever month long festival that took place from the 9th of December 2017 coming to a close in the new year of 2018. DBF was a sports and entertainment festival that ran throughout the holiday period right on one of the most famous beaches in Kenya. The festival sought to showcase Diani as a holiday destination in a bid to attract local and international tourists. The festival was home to several days and nights activities like skydiving, kite surfing, water sports, slack-lining, to name just a few. The festival also played host to huge entertainment programs incorporating international, regional and domestic talent. Boasting performers such as Sauti Sol, Vanessa Mdee, Hedkandi and DJ Kaycee. The venue was designed with bars, lounges, restaurant, Xmas shopping stalls and VIP areas sponsored by Tuborg, Moet and Hennessy. We spoke to Sandip Patel, DBF event director, to give us his thoughts on the event. 1. What’s your take away from this festival? Diani Beach Festival (DBF) was set up to showcase the very best of Diani and what Page|



Kenya Tourism has to offer. In this regards, DBF was a huge success – we managed to hold one of the worlds largest skydive boogies, hold some fantastic live concerts and offer our guests an experience that has never been felt before. DBF has proven that Kwale Tourism is alive again and gave the opportunity to prove that an array of sport was able to be carried out safely and professionally. Another aim for DBF was to give local people of Kwale the opportunity to work and learn new skills – this another huge success as the temporary work force proved that they had the ability to offer top service in such a short space of time. Finally, DBF has given people the confidence that Kenya is safe – we must thank the local security forces and police who conducted themselves incredibly well throughout the month without any incidents.

that it can attract many many more people to the coast. The next DBF could be sooner than people think so watch this space.

2. Expectation versus Reality? DBF has definitely exceeded all expectations considered the limited budgets and resources. The expectation was never anticipated that this would grow into something so large. There were definitely challenges on the way but nothing that was not able to be navigated. The reality and fact on the front end – DBF managed to put on a month long event, attract people to come and enjoy/explore the various activities and the feedback has only been positive. A lot of lessons have been learnt but this can only be expected in its Inaugural year. 3. Now that Diani Beach Festival 2017 has ended successfully, are you already planning for 2018? The plan for 2018 has already started and to build on the successes of 2017. The model and need has been proven and DBF will continue to drive hard to push on and ensure

4. Will it also be in Diani? If not, have you thought of any other possible locations? Yes. The Festival will always take place in Diani due to the close partnership it has with Skydive Diani. This forms a great platform to combine both extreme sports and entertainment on one of the worlds most beautiful beaches. However, there is no reason to say that we would not consider other locations. 5. What was the aim for this festival? Did you achieve it? The aim of the Festival was: - Showcase to domestic, regional and International tourists that Diani has plenty to offer. - Create Local Employment and give people an opportunity to learn new skills - Enhance the local economy and businesses. The restaurants and hotels were busier than ever. In those aims above – DBF has definitely been a success and we must now thrive to ensure the momentum is carried forward and that this is the perfect launch pad to revive the tourism industry.

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With more than 3000 ethnic groups and some 2000 different languages, the African continent is the very embodiment of cultural diversity. This variety is best shown during the different creative and cultural festivals that the continent holds. This month we focus on Africa Nouveau, a music and arts festival congregating creators, curators and fans from all over Africa and its diaspora. It is a 2 day/2night Music and arts festival with camping options taking place on 2nd - 4th February 2018 at The Waterfront, Ngong Race Course, Nairobi. It’s guiding principles are: Creativity, Innovation, Connections, New Pan-Africanism and Sustainability. This year’s theme is Afro-Bubblegum; Fun, Fierce, Fantastical. What makes Africa Nouveau special? • It is purposefully designed by creators of the culture for the creators and curators of the culture, and their fans. • It is deliberately focused on alternative and progressive sights and sounds from Africa with a view to expand the understanding of “African” • It is a 2 day/2 nights immersive experience of creativity and urban African culture. • All art forms represented are equal. All showcases are equal. This year, we introduce the #afrobubblegum ideology-that art from Africa/African creatives can be, and often is fun, fierce and frivolous; created for no other reason but the joy of it. The theme is derived from a growing consciousness among African creatives that their output need not be about hunger/starvation/AIDS/war and other themes often expected from African creative work. African creatives are interested in creating works free from prejudice and expectation, with the driving force being personal expression and global connection. • The festivals aspirations are: • To congregate Africa’s most progressive creators, curators and consumers of culture. • To be the Pan-African platform for the creative expression of the social-political aspirations of young people in Africa and its diaspora. • To demonstrate our underlying belief that Africa is NOW! • To manifest a creative holistic consciousness A line up of 20 plus incredible artists from Kenya, DRC, Uganda, Senegal, Sudan, Nigeria and Sao Tome Principle will be performing. The inaugural edition was held on the 5th & 6th of September 2015 at the Ngon’g Racecourse, Nairobi. Over the course of 2 days the festival was attended by over 2,400 revelers from different cultural backgrounds: #InterNationalAfriCANs. The event featured ten live music performances, fashion and design exhibitions, art installations and culinary presentations from some of the most inspiring, imaginative and progressive neo-Africans from within and outside of the continent. The festival will close with a Blankets and Wine takeover on 4th February 2018, meaning this shall be three days and two nights of non-stop fun! Page|



COVER STORY Steph Kapela

Brief introduction of who you are. My name is Steph Kapela also known as the Prodigal African, I’m a Kenyan Artist, singer/songwriter, rapper, trapper, hustler na kadhalika. Generally speaking I’m an entertainer using music as a medium

nervous as hell, wah! I forgot a few words here and there, I was probably off key and I had no idea how to move a crowd. It was one of the worst performances ever but I learned a lot from it and came back 10 times stronger. And here we are today.

Which famous musicians have you learned from? The first musicians to influence me were the likes of Blackstreet, Neyo, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, K-Rupt, Nyashinski, and many more. I’ve always been a singer and trying imitate them was how I spent my days.

What are your fondest musical memories? Jamming with friends after preps in high school with no instruments just voices and harmonies, yaani we could go mpaka 2am till the watchman chases us back to the dorms. Music was so innocent then.

What was the inspiration for the first song you wrote/ or piece of music you put together? The first song I ever wrote is probably lost somewhere at the back of my mind cuz I started writing at 12 years old. But the first song I wrote and recorded was Fungua Mlango featuring my best friend Denis aka Dubai Mamba. It was a zouk ballad about mpango za kando, I still think that song is a hit. Describe your first moment on stage, what feeling did you get, were you nervous My first time on stage, or rather the first time performing original music was back in 2009. I was

Why did you decide to perform at the African Nouveau? Yes, big shout out to What’s Good Live, Diani Beach Club and Diani Beach Festival for the massive opportunity, it will be my first time back in Coasto since I can’t even remember. DBF is the biggest and longest (a whole month) music festival we have at the moment and it’s such a grand experiment that I get to be a part of. Truly humbled. I plan on bringing the house down. I know it will do wonders for my career/ portfolio as I will no longer be just a Nairobi artist but a Kenyan Artist who can engage our people wherever they may be. BeAfrika Page| 15


Brief introduction of who you are. I am a 20 year old Singer, songwriter, composer, music director and student of architecture. I am a very experimental singer. I ventured into singing professionally in late 2015. Which famous musicians have you learned from? June Gachui, Yemi Alade, Scott Bradlee, Bruno Mars, Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill

What are your fondest musical memories? a. The first time I heard people I didn’t know scream my name. It was nearly terrifying (but in a good way) When I directed music for the first time, behind the scenes. Everytime my band gets excited about new songs while I’m teaching them their parts. They don’t know it but it’s reassuring.

What was the inspiration for the first song you wrote/ or piece of music you put together? There was really no deep, heartearminh story to my first song. I wrote it because I felt pressured to have an original song (funny, I know). I wasnt sure if I was any good at writing because I’d never tried; but it went great and somehow, even though most artists tend to let go of the songs that they wrote in their budding stages of their careers, I carry it proudly til today.

Do you have any gigs we should look out for? As per now, I will be directing music for Engage 17 on the 10th of February. Also, catch me at Slims restaurant every Tuesday. Although for more updates, you can follow my social media pages @Emma Cheruto on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Why did you decide to perform at the African Nouveau? I believe it is a great opportunity, as my career develops further, to share the stage and perform in front of such Describe your first moment on stage, what feeling great local and international acts. Plus, who wouldn’t love to go on a road trip did you get, were you nervous? It was during a jam-session gig. I was completely nervous and intimidated. In fact, It was the most awkward experience because were so many artists on stage, all trying to get a little second or two to be heard. No need to say, it was messy. Page|




Brief introduction of who you are. I am Wanja Wohoro a Singer/ songwriter and guitarist from Nairobi, Kenya and Sydney, Australia. I began performing and songwriting professionally in 2013. I love the creative arts in all forms but music is how I express myself and communicate best. I am currently writing and hope to soon record my debut album ‘MATRIARCH’, due to be released in early 2018. It is about womanhood, blackness, Kenyan heritage, love and self actualisation. What was the inspiration for the first song you wrote/ or piece of music you put together? This is a difficult question to answer as I’ve been toying with music and songwriting my whole life. One of the first songs that I wrote that I was genuinely proud of and wanted to perform for an audience, that I can recall, was inspired by our complacency as humans. How often we don’t speak out about the things we see and the injustice we witness every day. It was called Wasted Tongue, although I doubt I can remember how the full song goes now! Describe your first moment on stage, what feeling did you get, were you nervous? Again, it’s quite difficult to answer this question as I performed in a choir as a young child called the Sunflower Kids Club and also did

a lot of singing in my high school. I will say though that playing your own music in front of an audience is a completely unique and new experience for me. You are testing your craft on an audience and seeing how they interact and like your music. I find it more nerve wracking but also much more rewarding playing my own music to an audience. I used to be nervous but now I really try to stay in the moment and communicate the content of the songs to the public. There is nothing better than connecting with people through music that you’ve written. What are your fondest musical memories? My fondest musical memories have actually been the things that have been happening in the past few months since crowdfunding for my album. I only became a full-time, committed musician in July of this year. I have had a lot of gigs and a lot of interaction with new people. Some of the encouragement and

discussions I have had have changed my perception of myself, music and what it means to be a performer and an artist in the 21st century. I think I will remember this period of creativity, songwriting and performing for the rest of my life, as the springboard that began my whole future career and outlook. Do you have any gigs we should look out for? In January I will be completely focused on recording and preparing to record my debut album and so my next notable gig will be on the 3rd of February at Africa Nouveau. 7. Why did you decide to perform at the African Nouveau? It will probably be the biggest platform I have played at thus far, and therefore a great opportunity to reach a wider audience of people and have them engage with my music. Really excited to get on stage and share my songs from MATRIARCH, that audience will get to hear my new music for the first time! BeAfrika Page| 17


Brief introduction of who you are. I’m a 24 year old singer-songwriter based in Nairobi. I was born and raised in a village called Sotik, in the Rift Valley, but I moved to Nairobi to pursue my education and musical dreams. Which famous musicians have you learned from? Locally Tim Rimbui, Eric Wainaina and Atemi Oyungu are industry heavyweights I’ve personally learnt so much from. The rest of my lessons are from peer artists and watching international acts online. What are your fondest musical memories? What was the inspiration for the My recent performance in Russia first song you wrote/ or piece of at the World Youth Festival tops music you put together? everything else I think. It was The first song I remember writing an honor to represent Kenya was in primary school with a and Africa in that capacity at the friend. It was for a CU [ Christian Olympic arena. Union] presentation and my class has to sing it. Based on how people Do you have any gigs we should reacted I think we did a great job. look out for? Describe your first moment on stage, what feeling did you get, were you nervous? My grandmother (who is a Kikuyu singer with 4 albums to her name) used to sign me up for church performances when I was young. So that prepared me for my first piece on a bigger stage that was the Kenya Music Festival where I did a solo classical piece and won at national level when I was 7. I just remember being more hungry than nervous on stage. Page|



My team is working hard behind the scenes on securing a couple of epic opportunities. Dates shall be communicated on my social media.

Why did you decide to perform at the African Nouveau? AN is one of the proprietors of a solid music culture that’s urban,fresh and very much so African. I have always desired to be a part of this movement and it’s an honor to finally do this for the culture.


Brief introduction of who you are. I am a Nairobi, Kenya based DJ, Producer & Sound Engineer. I like to create contemporary electronic music that is inspired by my surroundings & that can also work on a dance-floor around the world.

the world.

Describe your first moment on stage, what feeling did you get, were you nervous My first moments on stage were eye opening. What was the inspiration I instantly realised this is for the first song you what i wanna do for the wrote/ or piece of music rest of my life. An expected you put together? blend of nervousness and The inspiration for one of my excitement helped me get first pieces of music I wrote through the my first few was a remix for a Kenyan performances but thats band named Sarabi and the when i instantly knew this is song was Koko’s Vibrations. what I wanted to pursue my I wanted to highlight the future in. authenticity of the original yet be able to play it in my DJ What are your fondest sets on dance floors around musical memories? Which famous musicians have you learned from? Im sorry, I find this question a little insignificant.

Some of my fondest musical memories are my travels with music. From my first tour in Europe this summer playing in Vienna, Austria & Budapest, Hungary to the source of The Nile in Jinja, Uganda for Nyege Nyege Festival.

Uganda on Feb 10th 2018. Keep an eye out on my social media for more information on both shows.

Why did you decide to perform at the African Nouveau? The reason i decided to perform at Africa Do you have any gigs we Nouveau festival is should look out for? because Apart from the amazing I feel i can resonate with Africa Nouveau Festival, the sound and experience My solo show “Savanna they are trying to create Sessions” IS BACK at as well as an amazing The Alchemist Bar on working relationship Feb 9th & we debut with the amazing guys at Savanna in Kampala, Goodtimes Africa too. BeAfrika Page| 19


LaJon Miller “My voice stands with her voice, and each line I create builds a step towards equality for her.”




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THE FESTIVAL LOOK African Nouveau is coming up and we’ve got a couple of looks for you to shop for at the vendors. ​Creative Director Marita Paulina Shoot Coordinator Rina Maria Stylist Brian Emry Photographer Rodger Miller of Phtech Photography MakeUp Artist Kate Waititu of Kanai Beauties​ ​Models Lilly Thamaini and Brian Onyango​ ​Clothes and Accessories sourced at Blankets and Wine Vendors​ Kahari,CO-BE,Mau Jua, Joyce Grace, Peperuka & BongoSawa




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BE STORY Tuborg, Moet and Hennessy. Brands are investing in cultural festivals as it creates a unique opportunity for them to engage with their consumers. Although brand sponsorship of music festivals has an impact on brand recall, awareness and attitude to the brand, but little evidence of impact on brand use. In today’s media environment, brands have a tough time breaking through and connecting with consumers. To do so, they must create a constant stream of content that is authentic, engaging, and entertaining. However, most brands are in the business of creating

THE EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING According to the study “The influence of culture and creative industries on tourism and urban regeneration” by Ernst & Young, the performing arts play an important role in attracting people. The arts participants are involved in civic activities at a much higher rate than those who do not participate. The attendees of performing arts will volunteer 3.8 times greater than for non-attendees, regardless of their educational attainment, gender, and other selected demographic traits’, and similar results applied to the relationship between arts participation and community meetings. Beyond culture and creative industries direct contribution to GDP, they trigger spill-over in other sectors of the economy such as tourism and fueling Page|



content for information and communications technology. Thus they become an indispensable part of the urban economy, having a direct impact on cities regeneration processes. Culture in general and culture and creative industries in particular have a direct impact on the value of urban real estate, becoming a key element of culture-led urban regeneration strategies. This impact can come as a result of both large flagship projects, like a creative cluster of an innovative hub, and smaller creative micro-businesses or small scale cultural activist activities. The Diani Beach Festival venue was designed with bars, lounges, restaurant, Xmas shopping stalls and VIP areas sponsored by What’s Good Network,

products and services, not content. Studies show that many young consumers value experiences over products, which is one factor driving the popularity of music festivals. There are three main reasons brands will turn to artists for marketing partnerships (Source 1BAND 1BRAND) 1. Compelling Content. If brands expect consumers to like, follow and engage, they need their owned channels to be more than just a sales pitch. While brands may be great at creating products and services, they are not inherently built to develop compelling content. Artists however, are the original storytellers and the perfect partners to support this need.

2. Cultural Relevance. Just like the old cliché goes, you are the sum of the people you spend the most time with. This now applies to brands, especially since they have to develop a personality and can no longer hide behind an address on their product label. Aligning with the right artists can help reinforce a brand’s values and provide the brand with an interesting story to tell alongside the artist. 3. Authentic Connection. Artists have the opportunity to leverage technology and develop direct channels to communicate with fans. When executed effectively, marketing messages sent through these channels are seen as inherently ‘native,’ which also happens to be a favorite buzzword of the marketing world. In times of economic crisis, it is

important to exploit the creation and marketization of cities as cultural centers in an attempt to create a new business climate. Cultural events are assigned new functions such as that of generating meaning. Events are used consciously as strategic, meaningful tools that make a vital contribution to the implementation of the objectives of city marketing. Bringing out the importance of the role self-expression, events are a suitable identity that can be created and supported by the culture and character of the city. What better way to market a city, or product than by including it in a climax?

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Nallah B.​Sangare is an International beauty expert and celebrity makeup artist. Her journey started over 10 years ago in Paris, France as a self-made makeup artist. She soon got hired by one of the biggest makeup brands MAC. There she has worked for 8 years. From France to the African continent, she has worked with MAC as a regional trainer in six countries across the continent. She is now in Kenya to share her knowledge on all things beauty.




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AUNTY BOSS- Get to know our favorite television characters. Shoot Coordinator Evelyne Waitherero Make-up by Mukiri Makeup_artistry Photos by Ptech Photography NICE WANJERI-WAINAINA A.K.A SHIRU Tell us something about yourself? My name is Nice Wanjeri Thuo- Thuo is my father; I am married to Titus Wainaina so sometimes I go by the name Nice Wanjeri Wainaina or Nice Wanjeri Thuo. I am a mother to a six year old daughter Natasha Nyawira and I am an actress by profession. I love swimming, dancing, singing and socializing because I am very talkative. Who are the people in your field that you admire? Well… in Kenya there are quite a few people that I admire, one of them being Jacky Vike (Awinja) not because of her character as Awinja but because of her personality as Jacky Vike; she is one person who has never changed irrespective of having more resources. I feel that she is someone I would want to be like in future. There is also Raymond Wafula who has had one of the longest spanning careers in acting; he is very disciplined as is definitely one person I would love to emulate. The other person would have to be my boss Lucy Mwangi who is a top producer in Kenya and one of the Executive Producers of Aunty Boss. Internationally I would have to go with Kerry Washington…I love her acting! If only I can be half the actress that she is and of course Taraji P. Henson a.k.a cookie Lyon… I mean who doesn’t want to be cookie? How do you stay relevant in the industry? By listening to people and asking for advice on how I can improve my craft. I do not know it all and I must admit I am not afraid of showcasing naivety at whatever level in fact, I always tell my boss not to limit my character when writing about “Shiru” because I believe that I can do whatever is required of me as a character, that’s how I manage to grow as an actress and that’s how I ensure that I stay relevant. Another way I manage to stay relevant is by always bringing my A-game, I may be sick on that day but my audience does not want to see that! They expect me to deliver. My slogan for always being on my A-game is “act as if it’s your last day on Earth” or better yet, “Act as if you are going to be winning an Oscar the next minute”. What is the biggest creative challenge you have faced in your career? Wow! There was a time when I was doing a Kikuyu show and I was given the role of a stripper for a stage play Oh my God! That has got to be my most challenging role and my director at the time kept telling me Page|



that he does not want to see me as Nice but as Tiffany the stripper character. Do you know I actually had to look for videos and practice dancing like one at home before going to work…Of course I would make sure I do this while my daughter isn’t in the house; At some point I actually thought of giving up on that role but I pushed through and delivered but for sure, that has got to be the biggest challenge I have faced in my career thus far.

What would you say to youth who want to be in your industry? For starters, acting is not easy! Young people often tend to think that you can be a star in a day, it’s not like that at all…you have to take baby steps to get to where you want. You also need to have passion for this industry, don’t get into this field just for the money. In fact, the money in most cases is not as much and what keeps us going as actors is passion for the craft. How do you respond to criticism? You should definitely be passionate about acting beI always remind myself that you don’t need to be cause this field is not for the weak, there is criticism, loved/liked by everyone for you to feel like you are there are people who will approach you with ulteridoing a good job; I personally don’t take things to or motives and there people that will approach you heart. promising to pay you a certain amount for a role and then fail to do so; It’s basically very easy to quite if you are not passionate. BeAfrika Page| 35




CREATIVE GOVERNMENT The Government’s role and the impact of the Creative Industry to Tourism


he Government’s role and the impact of the Creative Industry to Tourism African creative industries, which comprises of films, TV, literature and a mass of other activities is vast and ever growing. Even in the face of a thinning global economy, the creative industry continued to grow, especially in China and other Asian countries. Africa’s contribution to this vast industry is unfortunately insignificant. While the continent has a deep pool of talent, it lacks the infrastructure and capacity to commercialize its creative talent and reap the vast fortunes that are lying in wait. Or to say it clearly, the government neither invests in nor promotes the creative industry, but only reap where they do not sow. Recently, the potential of the creative and cultural industries to contribute to Africa’s economic growth has gained much attention. Though fortunate but unfortunate, most of the attention comes from the private sector, very little from the government; and yet, numerous studies have acknowledged that design, music, craft, film and television, fashion, publishing, heritage, cultural festivals and related components of the creative and cultural industries as key drivers of job creation, foreign exchange earnings, income generators and catalysts and supporters of other industries such as leisure, printing, tourism and transport. A good example of the cultural festivals working as an income ge

nerator and support of the tourism industry is the Mombasa Carnival in Kenya. The Mombasa Carnival is the biggest and most engaging festival in Kenya and is organized by the Ministry of Tourism. The event which usually take place in November revolves around two parades which converge on Moi Avenue with Mombasa’s multicultural communities represented by floats, costumes, music and dance. A mix of traditional and contemporary artistes join the celebration to make it a refreshing introduction to East African cultural diversity. On the streets, several stalls are set up offering food and all kinds of local delicacies, while local brews like mnazi (made from coconut sap) and madafu (fresh coconut milk are drunk freely). Vigorous and energetic traditional dances, as well as contemporary forms and belly dances are performed as local bands and sound systems pump out music into the atmosphere. Men and women are often dressed in the traditional kikoy and kanga which usually have Swahili maxims and sayings boldly printed at the hem. The events often culminate with an interesting boat regatta on the Indian Ocean as the procession march

down to Fort Jesus to the beach. Another great example of the creative industry supporting tourism is Sauti za Busara music festival in Zanzibar. The festival promotes Tanzania as a destination for cultural tourism with positive global media exposure. Yusuf Mahmoud, the chief executive officer of Busara Promotions, which organises the annual Sauti za Busara music festival in Zanzibar, observed that the enormous potential of the creative industries to provide meaningful employment, reduce poverty and improve livelihoods. The country is blessed with many great artistes and creative talent, but lack skilled or experienced managers and creative industry professionals. Busara Promotions has therefore undertaken the responsibility to develop skills in the creative sector and provide a forum for intra-African exchange by bringing together diverse artistes and audiences. “We recognise the enormous potential of the creative industries to provide meaningful employment, reduce poverty, and improve livelihoods.” With so much to give, what reasons do African governments have for not investing in this sleeping giant? BeAfrika Page| 37


CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR FEATURE What made you take the leap into creative entrepreneurship? Being from Johannesburg, South Africa we noticed a vast number of street artists trying to sell arts and crafts from the side of the road. We were really impressed by theirA work and stopped to ask a few of the artists some questions. After realizing that most of the guys did this as the only form of income for their families and were only selling a couple of pieces a week, we decided to create our platform to increase their exposure. What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them? Initially, our main challenges were getting our name out there as well as learning about the technicalities of the art industry. We manPage|



aged to overcome these challenges through intensive networking via social media and face to face meetings of course. To learn about the industry we have been reading books, doing research online and have luckily been helped by various people we have met along the way. We have come a long way but still have a fortune to learn. What was your business’ original mission? How has that mission evolved in the time since? Our mission was and still is, to provide a platform that helps under resourced and up and coming African artists to gain exposure and create sustainable profits for both the artists and the business. Another part to our mission is connecting the rest of the world to Africa by showcasing the amazing art which Africa has to offer.

Did you have major competitors when you started, how did you plan to compete with them, and how did that plan play out? There are major competitors within the online art industry worldwide but the online African art market is growing at a fast rate, giving us an opportunity to enter the market with relative ease. We had a limited selection of art when starting which was difficult to deal with because our competitors had a larger and better range of stock. Our plan was not only to showcase the art on offer but the story of each individual artist we featured. We aim to create a personal connection between the artist and the audience through bios and videos, which has worked in helping us sell. How did you build a consumer culture around your product? Our initial target market was consumers outside of Africa. Besides for our goal of providing a platform for street artists, another goal was to provide non-African art collectors with African art, with just a click of a button. Part of our focus is to provide an easy way for our consumers to buy art, without having to leave their homes. We feel that we capitalized on this gap in the market based on what consumers need and how the world of online shopping is growing. What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business’ success? As said previously we are still a new business so it’s too early for us to answer this question. What is the biggest mistake you’ve made as an entrepreneur? Our biggest mistakes were probably in the way we approached getting our online platform up and running. It took a couple of months more than expected and we could have made wiser decisions to speed up the process. But this is all easy to say in hindsight. We did not have the knowledge at that stage so do not have any regrets because we have learned from the mistakes.

“Our mission was and still is, to provide a platform that helps under resourced and up and coming African artists to gain exposure and create sustainable profits for both the artists and the business”

What has been your greatest moment of success? Our greatest moment up to date was our first international sale. To see that our vision was indeed possible was really uplifting. At first it was just a thought that African street artists would have the ability to sell their work online to international customers. When it first happened it made all the hard work worthwhile.

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The Mwelu Foundation The Mwelu Foundation is a registered Trust founded in 2007. We are working with a group of approximately 80 ambitious, positive and talented young people to help them realize their potential through photography, film production and the building of life skills. The young members are fitted in two different programs. One is for the children up to 17 years old and the other is for the young adults up to 25 years old. The Mwelu Foundation was founded by born-and-raised Mathare resident Julius Mwelu. Julius continues to run the organization as a member of the board. With help from local people who are determined to make a positive change within their own community the foundation wants to achieve the goal of a better future and building up the local youth for a bright future.




Our Vision Our vision is of a peaceful world in which all children realize their full potential in societies that provide hope, opportunity and respect.

Our Mission Our mission is to nurture the talent of children in the poorest communities of Nairobi by providing training in creative arts and essential life skills. By providing children with a voice and promoting education we hope to break the cycle of poverty and violence that exists in our communities

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The images attached show the activities running at the foundation, the school outreach program that reaches to kids in primary schools and teaching them basic Photography and Filming as they finish their primary level of education in the kenyan system. and as well some of their work that is printed and mounted and then an exhibition is done to show such Potential in the young creatives. Our Projects are;

Photography Filming and Creative




Where we can be Found;

Inspiration Centre Building, 3rd Floor,Along Juja Road,Opp Moi AirBase. +254 721 585 157 | +254 711 668 053 Regards,

Shaffi Abdi,

Head of Photography, The Mwelu Foundation, 0707292828.

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Bevern Oguk is the Co-founder of Co-Be Nairobi. Co-Be Nairobi is a #madeinkibera brand offering made to measure, ready to wear and accessories. Their main style is modern, minimal and chic, with athleisure as their specialty. Their accessory line channels their ethical brand ethos working with Kibera artisans, and using natural materials like brass, bone and wood. Why the creative industry? I have always been a creative for as long as I can remember. I am an artist first and foremost, and fashion was just an avenue to express myself. The other reason is because I believe most of the problems we are facing as humanity can be solved simply by creative design and critical thinking.




Do you keep up with the trends in the industry? Not like that. I’d say I am influenced by things around me: music, pop culture, technology, art, people... So that way, we are absent come up with fresh, timeless and exciting designs. Why the leap into entrepreneurship? I like asking questions. Most importantly, I am a problem solver. I believe we are put here to make the world a better place. With all its challenges, entrepreneurship gives great satisfaction and all round progress that cannot be found elsewhere.

How are you paying it forward/ how do you encourage youth in the industry? We have this program that we are part of. We go around high schools on their career days, just take them the understanding that fashion is actually a respectable career and the returns are equally good. We are also rolling out a mentorship program for these youths when they finish school and are keen on a career in the creative industry. Do you think there is enough government support to the industry? Not yet. But it’s our fault. We don’t speak in one voice, we aren’t united. This makes it hard for the government to notice us. It is very hard for the government to listen to 2 or 3 people. We need to show them our books, our returns, how big we are. And we can only do that if we unite and speak in one voice. Who is your mentor and is it important to have one? My mentor is Akinyi Odongo of Akinyi

Odongo Kenya (AOK). We have formed a creative initiative called Fashion Agenda Africa with Akinyi as the patron. The initiative is in Botswana, Kenya and soon to launch in other regions. It is very important to have a mentor who guides you and sees the potential sometimes you don’t see yourself. Advice to other creatives? Be authentic, the market knows and appreciates an authentic brand. Focus on building a good product, great team, and an innovative process. Find their products at

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In pre-colonial Kenya a story is told of a saloon built at the heart of an infamous town “Death City� in the Eastern Frontier District. The small town was inhabited by a group of outlaws who committed serious war crimes during the Great War of Liberty of 1871 and fled East of Mt. Kirinyaga (now Mt. Kenya). We set out to photograph a few of the remaining 5th Generation descendants who still own and control the secret saloon. Peter Pekat- Producer Beata Otieno (Ojwa Styling)- Stylist Kate Waititu (Kanai Beauties) - Makeup Artist Annerose Njoroge Makeup Assistant Peter Irungu- Guest Assistant Kelestine Amuga- Guest Assitant Kwach Godwin- Security Pro Tisa - Gun Props Isaac- Driver Location: The Curragh Irish Pub And Bistro TALENTS: Alex Kirimi- Neat Guy Njuguna Wacheke -Poker Guy 1 Stephen Ayako -Poker Guy 2 Mathangani KariukiCowboy Page|



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TECH 2017 Best Apps in Africa according to, a leading pan-African technology news portal and advisory service in Africa, recognized the Apps below as the best applications successfully launched in Africa on any platform to either consumers or businesses across the continent in the year 2017.

Carter – SA Carter is the future of new car buying and an application that saves you money and time by getting you quotes from top South African car dealers, negotiating prices and providing you with the best deals available making it way more convenient than visiting car dealerships.

AsorIiba Asoriba is a church management solution tying technology to religion. Asoriba gives seamless administration, effective data management and instant mobile communication for church administrators and congregations.




TrueCaller Truecaller is an efficient app that allows users to identify caller IDs for all your calls and messages, they currently have a database that allows you to search for over 3 billion phone numbers.

Boomplay Music Boomplay is the #1 & fastest growing music application in Africa with over 1 million daily active users, they offer unlimited access to a rich catalog of African & international music.

FeastFox Feastfox is a mobile app for eating out at the best restaurants, bars, and cafĂŠs near you. Feastfox allows you to discover the best restaurants near you using the map view, stay informed about the best deals/offers available to you and book a table at your favorite restaurants.

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CREATIVE CITY NAIROBI Nairobi, now the centre of commerce and innovation in East and Central Africa. A Land of Ideas Colloquially referred to as ‘Shamba ya Mawe’ (land of stones) by residents, Nairobi has little or no natural resources, as it was established at the heart of the African savannah. The quest to build something out of nothing kicks off the need to innovate; great cities innovate to overcome challenges! It is the concept of constraints driving creativity. The emergence of institutions that nurture and support the creative economy provide an environment rife for tinkers to prosper. Over the past three years, there has been an upsurge in the number of technology hubs and incubation spaces in the city that has led to a start-up boom. More code rock stars are emerging from the tech hubs than any other period, institution-sponsored competitions are raising the creative bar for participants as well as offering prize rewards to motivate individuals to further develop the products. (Source IHub) Music Nowhere else in Kenya is the live music scene as vibrant as it is in Nairobi, plus it draws in the largest number of consumers. Arguably the entertainment hub of East Africa, there’s a big concert almost every month, while weekly live shows are countless. There are countless events and performances that go unnoticed all over the country. A quick browse through any of the local daily newspapers will reveal someone or a band performing at an entertainment establishment somewhere. Hakuna Matata Festival, Blankets and Wine, African Nouveau, Jamuhuri and Koroga Festival are among the many events where one can experience live music.




Art Graffitti Art is popular in Nairobi as it has made its way from the walls to vehicles. Mohamed Kartarchand, popular for matatu graffiti, calls his work “moving art”. He runs Moha Grafix company and has been in the industry for over 10 years. According to him, Kenyans appreciate his work which is why most matatu owners are quick to “pimp” their rides as commuters opt for the more artistic vehicles. Bank Slave is a man from Kibera Kibera and is known as the founding father of Kenyan graffiti street art. For more than 15 years, Bankslave has been making social and political commentary on Nairobi’s street walls.

Theater Nairobi’s theatre scene is full of surprises, especially as it introduces many new talents — actors, singers, musicians, scriptwriters and even producer-directors. They are taking their place on both established and makeshift spaces, including schools, churches and social halls as well as professional theatres. The Kenya National Theater is Nairobi’s major theatre and performing-arts venue. As well as contemporary and classic plays and musicals, there are special events such as beauty pageants, which are less highbrow but still culturally interesting. As Kenya heads in the direction of filling its TV stations with local content, the theater gives a unique head start and exposure to ambitious actors and writers. BeAfrika Page| 53




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Be Africa Discovered Magazine January 2018