Kisumu County has been endorsed as the host of the 5th edition of the World Blacks and Africans Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) to be held next year. The event will spotlight Kisumu City on the global stage as the epicentre of cultural excellence. Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o praised the historical vision of uniting the Black race through culture, music, fine art, literature, dance, and religion and highlighted the origins of FESTAC in 1966. He commended the FESTAC leadership for not letting the spirit of black consciousness die despite the political upheavals at that time. ‘Today we gather here with the courage and resoluteness of the Pan-African fathers to say that Kisumu is ready to bring the black people home as the host of FESTAC 2024,’ stated Governor Nyong’o. Prof. Nyong’o hailed the FESTAC festival saying it is an inclusive festival that brings together all global cultures to participate and celebrate the richness of Africa’s continent. ‘This is a celebration of the people of Africa and people of African descent in the diaspora through music, dance, poetry, story-telling fashion and more. It promotes the strong talent that cuts through the continent,’ Nyong’o observed. The Chairman of FESTAC, Mr. Yinka Abioye declared the opening of the highly anticipated momentous occasion to take place from 20th to 26th May 2024 at Kisumu’s Mama Grace Onyango Social Hall. ‘The effects and gains we are bringing to Kisumu County should go beyond the arts and culture. It should go into the youth, sports, diaspora initiatives, climate change initiatives, business exhibitions, food and fashion so we welcome everyone in the county to witness the event,’ said Abioye during the declaration and endorsement of Kisumu City as the festival’s next host held on Wednesday. Abioye said the event will be held in collaboration with Mama Grace Onyango Cultural and Social Centre and Misango Arts Ensemble – who participated in this year’s festival in Arusha, Tanzania. The Kenyan team under the tutelage of the Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the Centre Mr Obat Masira have been tasked to curate the events program filled with an array of local talent such as captivating exhibitions and electrifying performances. ‘Since 80 percent of the festival would promote local culture a local representative would provide a more hands-on approach to the festival’s program,’ stated Abioye. He added, ‘We are also making room for upcoming artists in the festival. A period of time will be set aside for the upcoming artist, in the open mic session. We want them to come and perform and maybe some of our international visitors can see our local hidden gems and provide opportunities.’ The Chief Executive Officer of United Bank of Africa (UBA) Kenya, Chike Isiuwe introduced the Tony Elumelu Foundation, a program started in 2015, and that has since had over 680 beneficiaries from Kenya receive training in business knowledge, succession planning, and accounting to empower the African youth. ‘The program seeks to identify, train, and support young African entrepreneurs in setting up their businesses or in enhancing their capacity to run their businesses. The applicants are trained for a period of between six to 12 weeks. The selected beneficiaries get a seed capital of Sh750,000 grant for their businesses,’ said Isiuwe. He emphasized that the most important factor when choosing an applicant was the business idea introduced and not the qualifications of the applicants since they believe that the idea is what will set up a good and sustainable business.
Source: Kenya News Agency