CREATIVE CITY NAIROBI

Published on: May 15, 2019

Nairobi, now the center 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.

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