Jamafest coming to Nairobi

By Olem Edward, June, Nairobi

It is all systems go as five countries in the East African Community block prepare to converge in Nairobi, Kenya for the second edition of the regional Arts and Cultural extravaganza dubbed Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki Utamaduni Festival (JAMAFEST)

Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi and the host Kenya will showcase their troupers in music, dance, comedy, poetry, storytelling, drama, acrobatics, andcarnival march. On exhibition will be works ofPaintings, Carvings, Weaving, Beading, Pottery, Recycled art, Body art, Traditional medicine, Design, Fashion, Food and beverage, and, Literary works and publications.

The festival which takes place from 2nd-9th August this year was first mooted during the 20th Meeting of East African Community Council of Ministers held in March 2010 and subsequent 23rd Council of Ministers Meeting held in September 2011.

The council directed the EAC Secretariat to organize regular Arts and Culture Festivals as one strategy to strengthen and consolidate the long standing political, economic, social and cultural ties between the peoples of the Partner States thus widening and deepening integration for their mutual benefit.

Kenya was granted the opportunity to host the 2nd Edition of the festival by the 11th Sectoral Council on Education, Science and Technology, Culture and Sports, a decision that was endorsed by the 28th Meeting of the Council of Ministers in November 2013. The 1st Edition aimed at promoting an East African identity was held in February 2013 in Kigali Rwanda.

While chairing the Inter-ministerial organizing committee meeting at the Ministry headquarters, the Director of Administration in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts Mr. Wenslas Ong’ayo lauded the festival and explained that it will contribute immensely to the ongoing initiatives to actualize the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC.

Article 119 of the EAC Treaty commits Partner States to undertake to promote close co-operation amongst themselves in culture and sports, with respect to the promotion of cultural activities, including the fine arts, literature, music, the performing arts and other artistic creations.

In addition, the Common Market Protocol provides for Partner States to cooperate in the field of intellectual and property rights, in the promotion and protection of creativity and innovation for economic, technological, social and cultural development.