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Management • Articles Ring Leader a.k.a Okwi Okoh Art Direction • Design & Layout Design Jockey a.k.a Vikki Keingati


Admin • Logistics • Accounting Iron Lady a.k.a Elsie Mwongeli Photography by CLICK

Sharp Shooter a.k.a Mwangi Kirubi Marksman a.k.a Wagema Munyori Sniper a.k.a Ciku Mugwe Web Management by SPIDERWORKS

Spider a.k.a Wanja Ngunjiri

SPECIAL THANKS Our Dad in Heaven Nalyaka Mugwe | Lavida Events Richard (Astar) Njau Amani Maranga Marcus Olang’ Moja Voyce Mavuno Church All our friends and family

on the cover Emmanuel Jal, Musician snapped by SHARP SHOOTER while visiting KWELI offices in Nairobi.

KARL MAXX HAD IT had it all wrong. It’s music - not religion - that’s “the opium of the masses.” Think about it: revolutions, romance, revivals and retrospectives are all fuelled by songs. Journalist who covered Ivory Coast’s civil conflict, tell of rebels rolling into a key town with huge speakers mounted on their tanks belting out Bob Marley’s ‘Get Up’ as they ‘liberated”  its residents. Music is a very powerful thing. Sadly, it’s often used to make us do things we will inevitably regret; whether it’s encouraging us to go home with someone whose name will be a distant memory by sunrise, or drive ourselves mad without our efforts to “get rich or die trying”. Fortunately the last few months have seen Nairobi’s entertainment billings filled by people whose mission is to use music to spark social movements.

This issue of kaKWELI – with all three cover options - is a tribute to musicians like Israel Houghton, Deitrick Haddon and Emmanuel Jal. It’s an ode to those of us who use their craft “to inspire, inform and entertain” others. These guys are by no means the only people worth mentioning, there are so many more great stories and profiles out there. So we’re also shining the spotlight on people or groups that are using the power of music to ignite change in society. Read up on how organizers of the ‘Spread the Love’ Festival and ‘One Cry’ are doing this. Then check out what some of the real issues are in ‘Justice Denied’. We hope you’ll enjoy it, we certainly loved putting it together.

God Bless The Ring Leader

More photos on

ANY QUERIES? EMAIL US: KWELI is published and distributed by Under the Baobab Productions Limited. © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. If you copy us or any of our ideas we’ll come for you.




Feature Moja Voyce begins to shape Kenya’s youth culture


Ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things

Emmanuel Jal uses the ‘Power of the Mic’ to preach peace and purpose


Facing up to the problems in our society and influencing positive change

A man who was wrongly jailed gets justice

4 kaKWELI | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10



Feature Astar is taking control of the airwaves



Israel Houghton and New Breed perform in Nairobi



Feature The star-studded line-up at the sophomore edition of STL


Amani Maranga spends a week with Deitrick & Damita Haddon and Javen



40 | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10 5




KWELI Magazine teamed up with Moja Voice and ran a competition on the KWELI Facebook page. We ran an online scavenger hunt where for three 6 kaKWELI | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10

consecutive days we asked our over 7000 fans to find specific images of Israel Houghton that were hidden in our website (www. The first fan to find the winning image

won two VIP tickets to Israel Houghton’s concert. KWELI thanks everyone who entered the competition – a big congratulations to the winners!

Israel Houghton Ticket Winners (L to R): Marcus Olang’ then Wanjiku Waithaka receive their tickets from KWELI’s MARKSMAN, Keith Obock and his wife get their tickets from KWELI’s SPIDER, ticket winner, Njeri Ngige, with MARKSMAN, Anthony Gakuru (left) receives his ticket from David Muli of Moja Voyce | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10 7




Nairobi, Kenya from the 14th to 15th of August 2010 as part of a series of events dubbed “One Cry” hosted by Moja Voyce. This was Moja Voyce’s first event and served as a launch pad for the Moja Voyce movement. The event also featured Ron Luce co-founder of Teen Mania Ministries - one of the largest 8 kaKWELI | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10

teen ministries in the world– that amongst many things runs the annual ‘Acquire the Fire’ tour as guest speaker. The choice of guests for the launch events was influenced by the synergy

... WHO AM I that you are mindful of me That you hear me, when I CALL, Is it true that you are thinking of me How you love me, it’s AMAZING... – “I Am a Friend of God” between the messages of Moja Voyce, Ron Luce and Israel Houghton. On the 14th of August, Israel and New Breed played host to an evening show at the Nairobi Baptist Church that ran from 6 – 10 p.m. The event started with opening acts from The Purpose Center Worship Team, Neema, Jemimah Thiongo, Andy Mburu and Kanji Mbugua. Ron Luce then took to the stage and delivered a captivating message wrapped around an analogy on mountain climbers. Then came the man of the moment: Isreal Houghton, accompanied by New Breed. This was a special treat for the estimated audience of 1,200 that was led through a worship experience unlike any other.

On the 15th of August, the show moved to Nairobi’s Central Park from 10 p.m. to 6 p.m. The park gave room for a more vibrant experience, with ample space for dancing. This event hosted Nairobi’s first combined teen service, which according to event organizers had an audience that was estimated to be 5,000-strong. Israel Houghton took to the stage and led all to an afternoon of praise and worship. The twin events saw Israel Houghton and New Breed take their audience on a journey of their past and present hits plus a glimpse into his future releases. Electric performances of both studio and acoustic versions of favorites such as Redemption Song, “Just Wanna Say”, “Friend of God” and “With Long Life”

ushered his audience into the Holies, making this one powerful worship experience. In addition to his staple offering, Israel taught both audiences a new song “Hosanna” recorded at Click here London’s Abbey to watch the actual recording session at Abbey Road Studios Road Studios, via video interview by Mike Rimmer which proved to be a crowd pleaser and a pleasant teaser for his new album “Love God.Love People”. The new Click here album was Click here for more details on scheduled for the new album release on the 31st of August 2010 And his name is pronounced hoh-ton and not hue-ton! ☐ | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10 9

Neema ABOVE: Atemi, Kanjii Mbugua RIGHT: Eric Wainaina and Atemi perform “Imenibamba”

BELOW, L to R: Kanjii Mbugua, Jemimah Thiong’o, DJ Mos, Rigga, Andy Mburu RIGHT: Nairobi Baptist Choir



“Israel Houghton live!” You know it’s going to be a good show when Neema, Jemimah Thiong’o, Andy Mburu and Kanjii are brought together as the build-up acts: Neema’s powerful voice instantly grabbing the entire collective attention of the audience; flowing into Ms. Thiong’o’s worship set; followed by the quieting and riveting voice of Mr. Mburu, a man whose faith in God was tested in a 10 kaKWELI | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10

manner most men might not survive; and finally Kanjii’s energy oozing off the track “Dream Again”, which he performed there for the first time ever in public. The online world begins to draw attention to the events happening at Nairobi Baptist Church, for the exclusive show, the first of two during this past weekend, of the event by Moja Voice dubbed “One Cry”.

“Woohoo! Can’t believe I’m listening to Ron speak live! I loved him in high school. Actually I still do for getting me through high school.” You know it’s going to be better when the guest speaker introduces himself to those attending with the words, “Niyaji wasaiya.” True story. This, as Israel Houghton’s band sets up behind him, his audience





battling the urge to fast-forward time. Yet Ron Luce captures their attention with his “Mountain Climbers” analogy depicting the different types of Christian- Campers, Climbers and Quitters.

“Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Israel & New Breed!” The tension that had been building up explodes into a long burst of applause as he steps onto the stage, strapping on his

guitar and almost immediately redirects all that energy into offering a moment of worship with the song “Altogether worthy”. The online world of Twitter and Facebook lights up with all manner of updates relating to the event.

“Good Lord, this man’s guitar is visceral. It’s igniting quiet storms. I can’t resist sharing.”

The background vocals are simply scintillating. This was brought out particularly brilliantly during “I’m not afraid”, a track whose energy nudged the entire hall to its feet. And that the Israel and band chose to actively involve the audience in singing the hook – “Said you’ll never leave me/ Said you’ll never leave me/ Said you’ll never leave me/ Leave me” – brought even more life into the song, and the entire experience. > | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10 11

“What! Israel’s band just killed right there. I would paid 2k just to see those solos. What!” Throughout the evening, Israel Houghton and his band did an excellent job of switching the tempo from moments of deep worship and reflection, to explosions of joy and praise, all the while ensuring that the audience is attentive to their every word.

“Oh no, they’re about to play ‘Power of One (Change the World)’. I can feel it coming. Amazing, amazing song.” The moment of the evening came when the entire hall became of one mind during the band’s performance of “The Power of One”, the clear sound emphasizing the crisp simplicity of the message: Step out and begin to change the world.

As the show draws to a close and people trickle out into the night to the comfort of their homes, the collective thought was the amazing way in which this talented lot, Israel & New Breed, allowed God into their lives and used their gifts to spread His love through one of the most powerful ways ever: Music, song and dance.

“I too… want to Change the World #Powerofone.“ ☐

...What if it all depended on me, to change THE WORLD, to change the world? What if my only RESPONSIBILITY was to change the world. To change the world? Let me be the ONE... PHOTOS: Israel Houghton and New Breed were in Nairobi, Kenya from the 14th to 15th of August 2010 as part of a series of events dubbed “One Cry” hosted by Moja Voyce. This was Moja Voyce’s first event, which also featured Ron Luce (adjacent page, top center), the co-founder of Teen Mania Ministries, as guest speaker.

12 kaKWELI | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10

– “The Power of One”

start a revolution, Let me sing my song to the PEOPLE of THE WORLD... It all begins with ...To

ONE THE POWER OF ONE. – “The Power of One”

Click here

to watch a live performance of Power of One | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10 13

THE POST-ELECTION violence that rocked Kenya in late 2007 and early 2008 was a call to action for many. Among those who took up the task of helping Kenya heal by identifying and addressing issues facing Kenyan youth, were NAYNET (Nairobi Area Youth Workers Network) and Moja, a consortium of Kenyan youth leaders. NAYNET brings together youth

pastors and Christian youth-based organizations under one umbrella body. NAYNET has up to 450 individual and corporate members. One of the ways in which NAYNET seeks to impact society is through ‘One Voice’, an initiative whose mandate is to positively influence the youth of Kenya and guide them into positive action. Moja is made up of influential youth

leaders drawn from corporate Kenya and the Church and Moja seeks to give the youth a united voice. A merger between the two groups gave birth to a trust known as ‘Moja Voyce’. The ‘Moja Voyce’ Trust will run mentorship programs, annual leadership summits and youth advocacy programs. ☐


Speaking with

Click here

to find out more about New Breed

14 kaKWELI | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10


Voice | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10 15

...Kwa hustle Na set up alarm clock ya jogoo, Na tafuta chaku bite ka apple kwa logo ya

macbook pro

nika top up SCRIPTURE kwa kichwa... – Hallo by Juliani

ABOVE: Juliani RIGHT: Rigga, Astar BELOW, L to R: Tito, Isaac, Jaya

16 kaKWELI | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10

LEFT: DJ Vic RIGHT: Gerriey Wainaina (in red) BELOW: Eko Dydda

...Niko na reason ya ku-put hands up, just clap, just snap, hands up, niko


NIMEBARIKIWA... – Niko na Reason by Ekko Dydda ft. Holy Dave | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10 17

...rapping ain’t a HOBBY I’m using it for glory HIS we taking over this biz, we influencing the kids, for the positive the broom in my hand, the MISSION too impossible for man, with God, the vision attainable we


Click here to watch the “Adios” music video

Click here to keep up with Astar on facebook

18 kaKWELI | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10

Tell us more about your recent campaign that you are so visibly passionate about. What is it all about? Passionate?? Dude that’s an understatement! Anyway, the name of the campaign is CTA which simply stands for “Cleaning The Airwaves”. Music is the main determining factor behind youth culture. The way the youth dress, talk, act, dance, walk, is a replica of what we see in the media especially in the entertainment industry. CTA “simply” aims to positively shape youth culture through cleaning the airwaves.

Why now? Now is already too late!! Morality in society is on an increasing decline and that can be mirrored with the decline in positive distribution in the media. I want the youth of today to know that God loves them. To know that they can be all they want to be in life. To live life knowing that they were created for greatness. I want my future daughter to know that she doesn’t have to take her clothes off and show some skin to be accepted in this world or to make money!!  

VES A W R AI E H T UP G N I N CLEA Light” is my testimony. It speaks of my S

What is your driving force? PURPOSE!! This is why God created me. This is what I will be remembered for. This is my mark, my legacy. This is why I exist! And, by the way, if I don’t do this, God will raise someone else... gulllpppp!!

What value does the campaign add/is adding? CTA adds a huge amount of value to this world. (Note: The WORLD not just these four walls known as Kenya!) 

1. The Message We create quality positive content and distribute is to different mediums thus countering the negative content on media. e.g. music audio and videos, websites, magazines, etc   2. The Messenger We (Kijiji Records) train the artist/messenger to be an agent of positive influence in the society. The artists through Mizizi, mentorship and training (technical, performance, artist branding, management and marketing) are able to not only receive grounding and focus, but also get a platform from which they are introduced into the industry. Through provision of financial resources and partnerships we are able to catapult the artists/ messenger into the industry. e.g. Eko Dyda’s video for his mega hit Reason.   

3. The Medium Finally we seek to create culture shaping events where the message by the messenger can be delivered directly to the consumer (mafans) without contamination. e.g. S.T.L - Spread The Love, Mabadiliko High School Tours, C.T.A Unplugged, Gospel (TV show), etc   Does this mean that your main aim is to push to have more Gospel Music to be played on the radio stations? Not necessarily “gospel music” as people know it. My definition of gospel music is MWAPI which stands for Music With A Positive Influence. So QUALITY music which directly talks and shouts the name JESUS falls under MWAPI... but also QUALITY music which prom otes the values of Jesus Christ but does not directly say the name Jesus is also part of the music I wanna see being played on radio stations. e.g. “Rauka” by Juliani which addresses climate change, or “Nchi Ya Kitu Kidogo” by Eric Wainaina which addresses corruption, or “My Forever” by Webi, a love song...     What prompted you to give out your CD for free and have it downloaded for free? I want at least 1 Million people to hear my album! My debut album “The




life before Christ, with Christ and the bright future that I have with Christ. That there is one amazing story!! Who would have thought that this nothing of a boy would turn into a man who is now trying to turn his boys toward the Light!! Feel free to download the album and burn copies for all!!   What is next for Astar the artist??? Same thing I always do... try and take over the world...hehe! For Jesus!! For real though... CTA, CTA and more CTA!! I’m currently working on my sophomore album titled “Letting It Go!!”“Songa” is actually the debut single off the album. By faith I’m gonna shoot 16 videos, record a live DVD as well as a CTA documentary. I’m also traveling to SA by road with the Kweli team stopping in different African countries with the intention to promote CTA. I wanna tour the US later this year, hopefully with Kanjii. Launch C.T.A Unplugged, which is a monthly live event showcasing different artists that have subscribed to the CTA movement.  I’m diving deeper into my purpose and God. I aim to continue impacting this generation and hopefully generations to come for God. I hope to keep pioneering this entertainment industry towards “The Light”... look and sound “cuckoo” for God. ☐ | ISSUE 7 | SEP 10 19

20 kaKWELI | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10


Our ‘Walking On Water’ series takes an in-depth look at the work and lives of people who are wholeheartedly following their God-given purpose.



KWELI speaks to Sudanese musician and activist Emmanuel Jal about his work: both on and off the mic... What are you up to these days? I’m working on setting down a little business so that when the time comes for me to retire, I’ll have income to support myself. I have a charity which is what drives me each day because I want give other kids a chance to go to school. Since I lost my childhood, I don’t want another kid to. When I see another kid losing their childhood it really bothers me inside. Editor’s Note: Check out Jal’s work with Gua Africa, the charity he founded to help people overcome the adverse effects of war.

Click here to find out more about Gua Africa

What would retirement look like for someone like you? Will you be a farmer, with ten kids running around? I’m looking at four years from now, I think that’s when I want to settle down. Now that I’m 30, a lot has changed in my mind, in the way I think. So I’ll probably settle down in three or four years, I’ll get a wife if God allow. I’ll still do things that matter the most, like activism and trying to make good music. Music gives me the means to do the things I want to do. Music is like therapy to me, it’s a painkiller for my stress, my problems and my worries. Faith is what gives me hope for tomorrow. And so I’ll still continue doing music until I retire. And when I retire, glory to God, you can’t be without music, and life after death is music. > | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10 21


believe I’ve survived

What would you say to people who are chasing the African dream - a wife, kids, cars and houses - but haven’t figured out their purpose yet? Anyone who has no purpose has no dream and so if you have no dream if you have no vision, you are going to perish. Just be real, be real to yourself and don’t fake it. Every person in this world is here for a reason. There are certain things that only that person can do, only you can do. You were born to do those things. You’ve been back in Nairobi several times this year. Has anything changed? Actually


TOP: Jal at work on his new album, Jal with budding Sudanese artists

for a

reason, to tell my story, to touch LIVES...

I’ve seen a lot of changes, there are a lot of young people who are active, the roads are getting better, the city is changing, there’s a lot of improvement in the management of the country, in the city council. A lot of times we curse the government for not doing things but sometimes if you settle down and look you’ll see that the government is actually doing things. There’s peace in Kenya now, there’s a bit of tension with tribalism right now. Maybe it’s because Kenyans haven’t learnt what wars do, but I see hope in Kenya.

the upcoming elections and Southern referendum? You see we have oil and where there’s oil in Africa, there are problems. We have other minerals but oil dominates and takes all the attention. The North will not want to let go. There’s an election next year. The president of Sudan might rig it and even if he wins it fairly, people will still think he rigged it. And there’s a lot of tension. There’s a lot of mismanagement of funds. There’s a lot of money coming in, but it’s not being used properly.

And what about Sudan? What are your thoughts on

Editor’s Note: Jal has joined other Sudanese musicians to push for participation and peace in the elections

– War Child by Emmanuel Jal

Click here

to listen to and watch songs and videos from ‘Sudan Votes Music Hopes’

How do you get outsiders to care about Sudan’s issues? Every human being has a conscious level of understanding. They may know refugees in Sudan but they’ve never gotten close enough to talk to one of them, to hear them tell their stories; because telling stories actually educates people and raises levels of consciousness and also make people aware of oppression. > | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10 23




Story with One Mission:

To build schools in South Sudan in honor of the woman who rescued him, Emma McCune Click here

to watch Emmanuel Jal give his story in this inspirational talk, courtesy TEDtalks

How’s it going with the ‘One Meal-A-Day Campaign? People think I’ve taken weed because sometimes in the day I talk slow…Day 485, before I used to do it dry but now I take water and in the evening one big meal but that used to “crash” me and I couldn’t do anything else. So I started introducing sugar to raise my levels over the course of the day because I’d get angry because of lack of sugar. And in terms of raising funds for the school you would like to build in South Sudan? I want normal people to help build it. Therefore, if they care, they’ll give a little donation or skip their breakfast. I have $200, 000, which means $30, 000 to go. Editor’s Note: Jal reached his target on October 22, 2010!

Click here Jal eats breakfast for the first time in 662 days

Have you noticed a change in your audience now that you’re in your 30s? Even in America it’s young kids that like my music. If I get a chance to perform people still come. Radio stations don’t play my music so often though.

What keeps you going? I don’t blame anyone. I just do my best, live my life and do what I can. One day when I relax I don’t want to regret anything, wishing I’d done more, so that’s why I’m always pushing. Everything I do, I was called to do. I’m always thinking about how I can continue to push myself and raise people’s consciousness. Even anger drives me, and that energy I push in my music. What do you do to have fun? I think I’ve forgotten how to have fun. Now when I get a little time to myself, I just sleep, lie in the bed. I’ve been touring in South Africa and waking up at 5 a.m. every day. And when I’m in Kenya, I’m recording an album which means I get home at four in the morning. So much has been happening.

Jal with Emma McCune, the British aid worker who smuggled him out of Sudan on an aid flight to Kenya Jal with Nelson Mandela on his 90th birthday. He performed “Emma”, a tribute to McCune, at Mandela’s birthday concert “46664” in London

Click here

to watch Jal perform“Emma” live at Mandela’s 90th birthday

Editor’s Note: Jal has also made his acting debut

Click here Find out more about Jal’s acting debut

Jal founded Gatwitch Records in 2007 and has signed headlining Kenyan acts like Juliani and Atemi Oyungu. The inaugural Gatwitch Festival will be held in December

Click here For more info on the Gatwitch Festival

24 kaKWELI | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10


Emmanuel Jal’s autobiography War Child: A Soldier’s Story

...What I like about my people, is that even in the hard times they can still afford to give you a smile that you can see from a mile... – Stronger by Emmanuel Jal

Click here

to watch Part 1 of Jal’s interview on Riz Khan’s One on One courtesy Aljazeera

Click here

to watch Part 2 Jal’s interview on Riz Khan’s One on One courtesy Aljazeera

Click here Are you happy? I’m happy with what I’m doing. What part does God play in your life? Without God in me I’m useless. That is what gives me hope. I go through issues, temptations,

but at the end of the day it’s God. I believe in God. I made a decision a long time ago that I’d rather believe in God, then find that there is no God than not believe in God, and find that He is real. God gives me joy. ☐

To go to Emmanuel Jal’s official site

Editor’s Note: Jal will be in Nairobi, Kenya on November 22nd for the Sudanese Summit

Click here For more about the Sudanese Summit | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10 25

FEST 26 kaKWELI | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10

IT’S BEEN A WHILE. Attending live concerts

on a hot Saturday afternoon are not usually high on your to-do list when “your life has taken over your life”. The human alarm clocks that live in our house don’t attend school on weekends and seem to think that cartoons can only be watched at maximum volume. And then there’s a week’s worth of grocery shopping to do and pilau to consume at weddings while the Kayamba Africa band mimes in the background. There are also cars to sacrifice to clueless mechanics and a

bunch of bills to pay, after which even a kindergartener will be able to add up my bank balance. So, yes, it’s been a while since I’ve “thrown my hands in the air, and waved them around like I really don’t care, and screamed oh yeeeahhh”... I’ve loved music all my life. My parents sang in the church choir and had a record collection that occupied >


Juliani, LEFT: Daddy Owen

many hours of my childhood and teenage years. I was involved in my high school’s band, orchestra and choir – clearly they were desperate. I’ve always dreamed of mastering an instrument (saxophone) and being involved in some aspect of the industry. But lately my relationship with music has taken a sad backseat to my pursuit of happiness, prosperity and 28 kaKWELI | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10

popularity. And that’s why Neema’s adaptation of the Kenyan national anthem and rendition of her hit ‘Jiwe’ was like a shot of adrenalin. Her highoctane performance was followed by the wizardry of Chris Adwar and The Villagers who seem to have acquired a PhD in getting you to shake something. And then there was Astar - on stage with fellow rapper Rigga and singer

Jaya. When I first came across these “hip hop ministers”, I had just realised that JayZ, 50 Cent and their ilk were not doing much to help me with my marriage, friendships, raising children, credit card bills or being a good citizen. I was about to give up on the genre altogether when their lyrical and raw rhymes jumped out of my earphones, and made what I hope will be a

...Nifuate mimi nikimfuata yesu, ONENI tu kisogo,

Nikimfuata yesu...

– System ya Kapungala by Daddy Owen ABOVE, L to R: Hosts Amani and Tina Nzuki Neema RIGHT, L to R: Eric Wainaina, Chris Adwar

lifelong impression. And it’s not about hyping themselves, they’re heavily into developing the acts of upcoming street poets like Kamlesh who they gave a chance to get up and close with fans. I love what’s happening with Kenya’s musical evolution at the moment. There are so many home grown options for live entertainment now. But I want more, especially from its leaders…

I’d like more albums, more songs, more content to enjoy: it’s selfish I know, but it is what it is. I mean, I’ve crammed the heart-warming lines, tapped into the afro-consciousness and wagged my finger at dodgy politicians with Eric Wainana numerous times, I want more. I’ve head-banged and asked “people who want to drive a BMW to start with a BMX” along with Juliani at countless

Click here

for more STL photos

gigs. I want more already. Atemi’s vocal range and passion on songs like Someday and Happy always make me want to take “madam” into my arms and swirl her around, but I need new material to work with dude, I need more. > | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10 29

Maybe I’m just greedy. If so, Bupe’s performance was really great to chew on. The guy – ably backed by the Saints troupe – had me DANCING like I owned shares for Deep Heat. Crowd-pleaser Daddy Owen was great to have on the line-up but it’s time to get a live band in on the act so we can truly soak in Kapungala. I like Kanjii’s bid to give his fans something new by engaging Saints and

then having Doris Mayoli and her Twakutukuza Trust choir back him on Dream Again and Push On. I had already had enough of a musical hit to last me for several weeks when American gospel artist Javen came on stage and kicked things up a notch with high-tempo praise and tonnes of charm as he sang I’m Keeping the Faith, You Are God and a couple of other songs. >

TOP LEFT: Kanjii Mbugua and the All Saints dance troupe Doris Mayoli, Kanjii and the Twakutukuza Trust choir LEFT: Rigga and Astar ABOVE: Exodus and DJ Vic, DJ Pinye and DJ Mos 30 kaKWELI | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10

...See I KNOW you’ve been down for quite sometime, Seems like there’s nothing that will ease your mind, But you’ve gotta be strong even though you don’t know how things will end but in TIMES things will workout for your good... – Keeping the Faith by Javen

Click here to check out Javen’s official website | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10 31

By the time Deitrick and Damita Haddon stepped on stage at dusk, the crowd of about 2000 people were ready to jam. Mr. Haddon is a giant of the gospel music genre and it’s not hard to see why. He’s got one of the most intriguing voices I have ever heard. He can growl, shriek and croon in what seems like the same breath. His energy is infectious and he apparently loves to get the crowd involved. Most people can easily identify with

the message of God’s friendship and support in his contemporary gospel songs like A Sinner’s Prayer, God is Able, I’m Alive and It’s Raining. I don’t think he would have left the gig alive if he hadn’t performed Happy and Love You Like I Do. Although she spent much of the evening backing up her

husband, Damita Haddon is an entertainer in her own right. No Looking Back and Belongs To You are all the proof you will ever need. Despite the hide-and-seek game with the audio that lasted for much of the night, I had a blast. I left feeling “refreshed”… not guilty, not frustrated, not dissatisfied - just full of energy and “psyche”. Clearly I’ve missed music. ☐

...I could HAVE BEEN dead sleeping in my grave, but GOD blessed me to see another day, even when I did wrong He was STILL THERE, I’m so glad that God still hears a sinners prayer... – Sinner’s Prayer by Deitrick Haddon | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10 33

...You want to know why I love Him LIKE I DO, cause when my enemies said I was thru He took me from the bottom, and put me on the top, He laid His hands on me, and now I CAN’T BE stopped... – Love Him Like I Do by Deitrick Haddon ft. Ruben Studdard & Mary Mary

TOP: Deitrick and Damita Haddon ABOVE, L to R: Atemi and members of the Mavuno Worship Team sing back-up BELOW, L to R: Senior Pastor Muriithi Wanjau of the Mavuno Church says a prayer, A few fans from the crowd were called up on stage impromptu to sing along with an impressed Deitrick and Damita

34 kaKWELI | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10


give up on GOD, cause He

won’t give up on you, He is able...

– He’s Able by Deitrick Haddon

Click here

to watch Deitrick Haddon’s performance at the Spread the Love Festival

Click here to watch the Blessed & Cursed trailer, a new movie by Deitrick Haddon | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10 35

7 my

days with DEITRICK

AMANI MARANGA tells KWELI about his week with Deitrick &

Damita Haddon, Javen and their crew Tuesday I was pretty naïve to begin with. I knew his music but I had no idea who the man behind the music was. So there I was waiting at JKIA arrivals when an entourage appeared. I had no idea which one of them was Deitrick or Javen. Even while riding into town and checking them into their hotel, I was still struggling to figure out who was who. My first impression of him was that he was pretty reserved and unreachable, and that he didn’t have a superstar aura around him. But a few hours later we checked into Mavuno to hook up with the band. I watched as he patiently waited as the band prepped a few of his songs. As soon as they were

ready, the guy transformed before my eyes. The consummate performer emerged, he was full of energy and he was clearly in his element as he primed the instrumentalists and background vocalists.

Damita, who’s been here before, was THROWING in Kiswahili phrases which Deitrick seemed to have PICKED UP on...

36 kaKWELI | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10

I think that’s when my excitement for the concert kicked into high gear. I was blown away by his command of music and the stage. Deitrick seems to have two personalities, the passionate entertainer/performer and conversely the “Average Joe” who easily mingled with people at the STL media cocktail. There’s probably another element; that of a pastor who speaks with authority and purpose.

ADJACENT PAGE: Amani Maranga poses with Deitrick Haddon and Javen Damita & Deitrick Haddon and Javen’s arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta Airport, Nairobi ABOVE: Deitrick and Javen mingle with Senior Pastor Muriithi Wanjau, and Spread the Love organisers

Wednesday It was part of my role to brief them on what’s expected, where we are, cultural differences etc. So I picked them up ahead of an interview with a leading Christian radio station. “Deitrick the artist” checked in again, the session was full of humor, charm and chemistry

Thursday couple of times our schedule was disregarded so they could rest or do their own thing which threw us off on several occasions. A highlight was dinner at Blanco’s. Deitrick opened up to us, telling us how he and Damita have been married

There were SPORADIC singing sessions and conversations with his team about ‘the GOOD OLD days’... between him, his wife Damita and Javen. Damita, who’s been here before, was throwing in Kiswahili phrases which Deitrick seemed to have picked up on as well. There was a bit of a clash between their way of working and the itinerary we had planned. We probably didn’t factor in the effect of jet lag and the rigors of being in a new place. So a

for 14 years, he was a preacher’s kid, Commissioned has been his favourite group since he was a kid and heavily influenced his music. There were sporadic singing sessions and conversations with his team about ‘the good old days’, I think he really enjoyed Nairobi that night despite the scheduling conflicts I mentioned earlier. It left a good taste in my mouth as well!

We were in Kawangware to paint Gladways Primary School. As a personal confession I had been to the other schools and police stations, but since this was a small school, only a few members of the team had gone before, I wasn’t there. So I got lost on the way and ended up taking them on an unintentional tour of the heart of Kawangware. For me it wasn’t a slum, I’ve seen worse, but the visitors were totally stunned by the surroundings – the shacks, the kids, the roads… “This is so unrighteous, how can you have such wealth at the backyard of such poverty. The people in the ghettos of the US have nothing to complain about” Deitrick said as he stared out the car window. We finally got to Gladways which is a mabati school with 150 orphaned or single-parents kids. I was surprised by > | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10 37

Deitrick, Damita, Javen and their crew visit Gladways Primary School in Kawangware

how seriously he took the task: painting the school. It was like it was the last thing he was ever going to do, he was clearly very moved. He hugged the kids, hung out with other people, was asking what their issues are etc. I had to stop him from trying to just start solving problems right then and there, and

about me and my life. It was really profound for me because this is a guy I’ve never met before and he didn’t know my issues and desires. I was very encourage and touched by that. That was my big high. He also talked about his church and his new album “Church on the

It was like it was the last thing he was ever going TO DO, he was CLEARLY very moved. urged him to do it in a structured way. I suspect the tour of Kawangware was probably the highlight of his trip. He says he’s going to mobilise his church back in Detroit to adopt the school. He was still visibly disturbed when we returned to the hotel. We later had lunch at Java on Mama Ngina Street just so they could have another experience of the city. He regularly ordered that hot ginger, honey and lemon drink until he left! He let it slip that the last time he had a drink like that was when “music soulchild made it for him with real ginger root at his house”! While at Java, Deitrick the pastor came to life again and prophesied

38 kaKWELI | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10

Moon” because “God created the earth and the moon, the moon gives light at night, illuminates the darkness, and that’s how the Church should be. The moon doesn’t have its own light, it reflects the light of the sun and the Church should reflect God.” I realised that he writes his song out of revelations, he speaks the words of his songs out of deep conviction, and it’s not something you feel with every artist, it’s like he was reciting poetry. After that we headed to KTN for a TV interview. We walked back to the hotel during rush hour. They wondered about the existence of emission laws because of all the exhaust fumes. Hmmm... I wondered too…

Dinner was with Mavuno’s executive pastors at one of the church elder’s homes. It was a really intimate, familylike dinner. It felt like soul food, like a meeting of old friends, he made everyone feel at ease, and was very down to earth.

Friday Another morning at another Christian radio station. The radio presenter played ‘Happy’ after the interview and I’ve never seen an artist who enjoys his own music as much as Deitrick Haddon. We got up and danced in the studio, he asked us to teach him some local moves. It’s telling of how inspired his music is. Someone called in and talked about her marital problems and the pastor in him came out again. Next was an artists’ workshop that STL organised with about 30 upcoming and established gospel artists just so Deitrick could share about music, the business of music etc. It was amazing to see how Deitrick freed our artists from “religion”. He shared about about his philosophy of the 4 levels of God-inspired music:

Vertical Music – It’s about worshipping God, God is the audience. It’s music that is directed at God. Some artists are called to just do that; talk to the “audience of one”.

Horizontal Music – This is music that encourages Christians. It edifies the Church, it’s not really directed at God but it’s directed at Christians. Evangelistic Music – its directed at everyone else. Its music to bring people back to Church and God, it talks about God but its appealing to others.

Dinner was with Mavuno’s Lead Pastor Muriithi Wanjau, Pastor Carol Wanja, Kanjii and Mwendi Mbugua. Once again it was very intimate, very cool, but the guy clearly exhausted himself because…

Sunday Things started off a bit slow because of fatigue. Javen left that morning because of bookings elsewhere but despite the exhaustion, Deitrick managed to give Mavuno’s members

life and it was an emotional parting. DJ Mr. Watkins and road manager Cee Barett and manager Ronnie and I had all bonded closely as worked behind the scenes, so it was really tough at the airport. It was amazing to feel that common bond – the love for God – form so quickly between complete strangers. I was left with a strong sense of brotherhood and lots of pictures. That was my week with Deitrick Haddon and his crew.

Forbidden Music – most Christians musicians get in trouble for this. It’s just music about life, it’s about our feelings, the things we observe, social issues, you don’t necessarily mention God or Jesus. Many people don’t understand why a gospel artist doesn’t continuously sing about Jesus, but there’s a place to talk about life and its issues and I think that by discussing this, Deitrick freed a lot of musicians, he “allowed” people to make this kind of music. The workshop was a great experience. The workshop was a great experience. Deitrick gave the other artists tips on how to say relevant, he’s been in the industry for 21 years after all! Observe and adapt, assess and move with your audience, go with the times he said…

Saturday Apparently the artist doesn’t do the sound check on their end. The road manager does it. But Deitrick later decided to come and that’s when we discovered how thorough and detailed he is. Then there was the concert, which was great. I loved how much he mingled with the fans and the other musicians backstage. He called it “soaking in the culture”.

a treat during both services. He was backed by Kanjii. Shopping for souvenirs at Maasai Market at Yaya followed after church and just for the sake of it we took them to the Giraffe Center. It’s Africa right? Dinner was at the Carnivore and they LOVED it. We had a bit of a naming ceremony where we gave them all Kenyan names. And yet again it was a wonderful time of fellowship and fun.

Monday I was up bright and early to take them to the airport. Leaving was bittersweet. I had spent a week with these guys, we had become friends. I had given them all my time, they spoke into my

Javen I was amazed by the guy’s work ethic. He was the link between Kanjii and Deitrick. Kanjii had met Javen while in the States. Javen was sold on the vision of STL so he roped in Deitrick for the Nairobi trip. He spent a lot more time practicing and networking with local artists like Astar to help distribute and sell his music. He had his own way of working, did his own sound checks, had posters for fans, CDs etc. it was interesting to watch him work to penetrate into the Kenyan scene. I was impressed by him and how hard he works. Most people have no idea that he’s a Hollywood personality – google him… ☐ | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10 39

Spread the Love is founded on the reality that together we can m lives of those around us. It’s about all of us as Kenyans working

Bowling & Foosball ROLL ‘N BOWL

Bowling fundraising event


Langata, Kilimani, Nairobi Central and Embakasi Police Stations

make our city a better place by touching the g together to make positive social change.

Click here for more on Spread the Love


Gladways School, Kawangware Mbagathi Primary School

Love Where You Live CLEAN UP

Makaro, Eastlands

Our ‘Real Issue’ series takes an in-depth look at the work and lives of people who are wholeheartedly following their God-given purpose.

issue THE REAL


DENIED IN 2007, Walter* was working as a compound guard in a middle-class estate. It was a job he knew carried risk, but his wife and children counted on him, and his meager salary enabled the family to scrape out a life in the Korogocho slum. Walter may have thought his greatest danger would be criminals attempting to rob the compound – but he was wrong. It was a false accusation – and an unresponsive justice system – that nearly destroyed Walter’s life. One morning, Walter and his colleagues discovered that several car parts had been stolen from two vehicles 42 kaKWELI | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10

parked in the compound. The police arrived – but they did not conduct an investigation. Arbitrarily assuming the guards on duty were the perpetrators, the police arrested Walter and charged

taken to Nairobi’s Industrial Remand Prison – where he had no choice but to wait for his day in court within the small confines of the damp and crowded jail. With their sole

Hope faded into a distant memory – WITHOUT a voice, he was trapped... him with the crime of stealing auto parts – a crime he did not commit. Without the means to afford an advocate, Walter faced a daunting legal system alone – as well as three years imprisonment if found guilty. He was

breadwinner unable to work, Walter’s family quickly grew desperate. Lacking other options, Walter’s wife sold many of their possessions to purchase food and necessities, but often still could not afford school fees

Photos of Walter with his handcart in the market where he sells vegetables to traders and vendors.

for their children or the bus fare to visit her husband. “With much heaviness of heart, I finally told my wife to tell my eldest son to leave school so that he could help meet my family’s needs. We had no

rescue to victims of abuse, secure appropriate aftercare services, pursue the prosecution of perpetrators and ensure that the public justice system effectively protects the poor from violence. IJM attorneys began

Providing LEGAL and SOCIAL SERVICES to victims of illegal detention is a PRACTICAL way we as individuals can seek justice, love, mercy and WALK HUMBLY with our God other options,” Walter remembers. For five months, Walter continued to wait. Hope faded into a distant memory – without a voice, he was trapped, and knew he would likely be convicted of a crime he had not committed. But everything changed for Walter when attorneys working for International Justice Mission learned of Walter’s case and intervened. International Justice Mission is a Christian human rights NGO that works in Nairobi to secure justice for victims of illegal detention, police abuse and child sexual violence. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local government officials to bring

to document Walter’s case, press for expeditious court hearings and prepare Walter for court. Finally, ten months after his arrest, Walter walked out of jail a free man. His case was thrown out. With an advocate by his side, Walter had justice. Immediately after his release, Walter and his wife took advantage of counseling services offered by IJM to clients who were victims of illegal detention and together they began to prepare for a new future. Filled with initiative and a desire to provide a sustainable income for his family, Walter worked with IJM to create a savings plan that would allow him to purchase a new handcart. IJM’s service

to clients like Walter is an outflow of the Biblical mandate to seek justice that is found throughout scripture. “Providing legal and social services to victims of illegal detention is a practical way we as individuals can seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God,” says Stephen Olang, a former illegal detention client who is now IJM Kenya’s Director of Church and Community Mobilization. His extraordinary determination to succeed paid off. Today, Walter runs a successful handcart business where he supplies groceries to small scale traders in one of Nairobi’s many bustling street markets. Walter will tell you, “It is possible to come out of detention and still make something of your life.” He is a perfect example of the renewal and rebirth than can flow out of justice, even after months or years spent in Nairobi’s remand centers. *A pseudonym has been used to protect this IJM client’s privacy. For more information about the work of International Justice Mission in Kenya or to get involved, please visit | ISSUE 7 | OCT 10 43

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