Kisumu Artist Transforms Passion into Prosperity Through Art

KISUMU, Kenya — Fidelis Kyalo, a 28-year-old artist from Kisumu, has turned his lifelong passion for drawing into a sustainable career, positively impacting his family’s livelihood. With the support of the Nairobi Art Gallery, which champions art as a crucial expression of life and talent, Kyalo has successfully navigated the journey from a casual hobbyist to a professional artist.

According to Kenya News Agency, his artistic journey began at the tender age of seven and evolved significantly after a friend recognized his talent in 2017, suggesting he pursue formal education in the arts. Despite his initial aspirations to join the Kenya Defense Forces post-high school, Kyalo chose to follow his passion for art, leading him to enroll at Mwangaza Art School in Kisumu. This decision marked a pivotal turn in his life, opening doors to various art forms beyond drawing, including sculpture, pottery, and canvas painting.

During his time at Mwangaza, Kyalo’s artistic abilities flourished, culminating in his first significant earnings—a Sh13,000 payment for a pencil artwork, which he and his wife wisely invested in establishing a thrift shop for men’s wear in Kisumu. This venture complemented his ongoing artistic endeavors, providing a stable income source and enabling him to engage in various contractual projects, including corporate and educational institution commissions.

Despite the rewarding aspects of his career, Kyalo faces challenges common to many artists, particularly regarding the cost and availability of art supplies and public appreciation of the art’s value. Nevertheless, his commitment to his craft and entrepreneurial spirit have paved the way for future aspirations, including potential ventures into animation and collaborations with publishers and media outlets.

Kyalo’s story serves as an inspirational testament to the potential of art as a viable career path, challenging conventional perceptions about the viability of non-corporate professions. His success not only underscores the importance of nurturing talent but also highlights the broader implications for educational policy, as exemplified by his endorsement of the Competency Based Curriculum in Kenya, which aims to foster and leverage individual talents for economic growth and personal fulfillment.

Kisii Filmmakers Boost Skills in Film and Video Production Workshop

KISII — In a significant boost to the local film industry, at least 200 filmmakers in Kisii have recently completed a film and video production training program. This initiative, a collaborative effort between the Kenya Film Commission and the Office of the Woman Representative in Kisii County, aimed to equip budding filmmakers with essential skills in the craft. The five-day capacity-building workshop took place at the Woman Representative’s offices in Kisii town, where participants engaged in learning basic filmmaking techniques and received valuable insights from seasoned film professionals.

According to Kenya News Agency, the training culminated in a film festival screening at the Kisii University Amphitheatre, located on the outskirts of Kisii town. Dorice Aburi, the Kisii Woman Representative, praised the Kenya Film Commission for its role in providing participants with the necessary skills to advance their careers in film production, emphasizing the potential for financial stability through their creative endeavors. Aburi highlighted the workshop’s networking opportunities, allowing young filmmakers to connect with peers and share artistic ideas.

Aburi committed to ongoing support for the workshop’s beneficiaries, announcing plans to incorporate them into a self-help group eligible for benefits from the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF). She also called on the national government to increase funding to the Office of the Woman Rep to facilitate further capacity-building training, aiming to enhance the livelihoods of grassroots communities.

Beneficiaries of the training, including Geoffrey Machoka and Veronica Bochere, expressed their gratitude for the workshop, noting it as a pivotal opportunity to acquire specialized skills in film and video production. Lydia Biseri, a local TV station reporter and camera person, shared her experience of learning about filmmaking and scriptwriting at no extra cost, committing to share this knowledge with peers who could not attend the training.

Biseri encouraged the youth to seize similar learning opportunities presented by both county and national governments, underlining the importance of such initiatives in fostering talent and empowering the next generation of filmmakers.

Guiaro Celebrates Ancestral Traditions with Annual Harvest Festival

GUIARO, Nahouri — The rural commune of Guiaro, located in the province of Nahouri, approximately thirty kilometers west of Pô, celebrated its annual harvest festival on February 24, 2024, honoring ancestral spirits and cultural heritage. The customary chief of Guiaro and his notables led the ceremony, expressing gratitude to ancestors for their protection and the successful past season.

According to Burkina Information Agency, a notable of the royal court, the festival is a vibrant tradition where the communities from the five districts of Guiaro come together. Under the leadership of their traditional chiefs and accompanied by dance troupes, they perform the ceremonial beating of millet, a staple activity symbolizing the community’s collective labor and unity.

Idogo emphasized the festival’s role in acknowledging the ancestors’ contributions to community well-being and seeking their continued protection. He highlighted the importance of the event as a means to combat the gradual erosion of cultural values among the youth, stressing the need for mobilization and awareness to preserve these traditions for future generations.

The celebration also served as a platform for strengthening social bonds within the Guiaro community and between its residents and friends from neighboring regions. A highlight of the festival was the participation of a significant delegation of traditional chiefs from Ghana, including the customary chief of Paga Bourou. This presence underscored the deep-rooted sense of brotherhood and good cohabitation between the peoples of Burkina Faso and Ghana, transcending national borders.

The festival’s proceedings included a “night of integration” on the eve of the main celebration, featuring performances by traditional and modern artists from both Ghana and Burkina Faso. This event, attended by traditional leaders and the public, showcased a spirit of unity and cultural exchange.

Auguste Kinda, the High Commissioner of Nahouri, along with other administrative authorities, attended the festival, affirming their support for the customary practices and the community’s efforts toward development and cohesion.

The harvest festival in Guiaro stands as a testament to the enduring strength of cultural traditions and their role in fostering community solidarity, resilience, and intercultural harmony.

FLAM Explores the Impact of Writers in African Society at Marrakech Festival

MARRAKECH — The second edition of the Festival of the African book of Marrakech (FLAM) held on Friday spotlighted the significant role of writers in African society and the profound impact of literature on societal awareness. The conference served as a platform for vibrant discussions on negritude, Africanness, and the symbolic importance of writing as a reflection of culture, values, and societal challenges.

According to Burkina Information Agency, writing represents a highly demanding yet profoundly subjective endeavor that is deeply embedded in cultural, geographical, and social contexts. Chami emphasized that literature plays a crucial role in easing tensions, uniting communities, and fostering better understanding across divides. She highlighted that literature from southern countries often reveals existing societal divisions, the impacts of neoliberalism, and the lingering effects of colonial legacy.

Ivorian writer, academic, and painter Véronique Tadjo discussed how negritude—a concept embodying the cultural characteristics specific to black people—has contributed to the promotion of pan-Africanism and a sense of belonging. Tadjo’s work reflects the shared challenges of African countries and underscores the importance of knowledge exchange despite their differences.

Angolan journalist, writer, and editor José Eduardo Agualusa shared his perspective on writing as a necessity for comprehending his country and its pivotal role. Through his works, Agualusa examines his country’s history, highlighting the significance of literature and language in the fight for liberation and emancipation.

The FLAM, supported by the ‘We Art Africans’ association, is dedicated to celebrating African literature and culture. The festival offers free access to all venues, aiming to bring culture and art closer to the public. This year’s edition features themes that mirror the scientific and editorial developments in Africa, with a special focus on rekindling and strengthening the ties that bind Africans globally. Attendees can enjoy a rich program that includes musical works and poetic readings.

Prominent figures in African literature such as José-Eduardo Agualusa, Leïla Bahsaïn, Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Ali Benmakhlouf, Sophie Bessis, Siham Bouhlal, Yasmine Chami, Touhfat Mouhtare, Fanta Dramé, Wilfried N’Sondé, Saad Khiari, and Mia Couto are participating in the festival, contributing to a diverse and enriching cultural exchange.

Alain Mabanckou Stresses Reading’s Importance for Young African Writers at Marrakech Festival

MARRAKECH—During the second edition of the African Book Festival of Marrakech (FLAM), celebrated Congolese writer Alain Mabanckou underscored the significance of reading in honing the talents of young African writers. Mabanckou, in his conversation with the Moroccan Press Agency (MAP), shared invaluable advice for aspiring writers and novelists, emphasizing the foundational role of reading in developing a writer’s craft before advancing to imitation and eventually achieving creative independence.

According to Burkina Information Agency, exploring a variety of literary works beyond African literature is crucial for young writers aiming to leave a mark on the global stage. He advocates for viewing literature as an “open house” rather than a confinement, encouraging writers to perceive the world in its vastness and aim to become global writers, not solely African ones. Mabanckou, who also serves as a professor at the University of Los Angeles, highlighted the importance of childhood experiences in shaping a writer’s journey, noting that the most thrilling moments often stem from youth and that secondary characters in a novel often carry more weight than the protagonists.

Mabanckou’s book, “Letters to a young Senegalese novelist,” is designed as a guide and a fraternal dialogue for those aspiring to become writers, offering a roadmap to navigate the challenges and joys of the literary world. FLAM, supported by the ‘We Art Africans’ association, aims to celebrate African literature and culture, facilitating public engagement with arts and literature through free access to all festival venues. The event features an array of activities, including concerts, readings, poetry, and opportunities for authors to interact with the audience.

The festival’s second edition focuses on themes that reflect the scientific and editorial developments in Africa, emphasizing the reactivation and consolidation of memories and connections among Africans worldwide. This initiative reflects FLAM’s commitment to enriching the cultural landscape and fostering a deeper understanding of African literary contributions.