Kisumu To Host 5th FESTAC Festival

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

Celebration of Irreechaa Festival Underway in Addis Ababa Colorfully

The celebration of Hora Finfinne, part of the Irreechaa festival, is underway today in Addis Ababa colorfully.

Irreechaa is a traditional Oromo thanksgiving celebrated every year at the bank of a river to mark the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the harvesting season.

Dressed in unique traditional outfits, people from various parts of the country gathered on Saturday morning in Hora Finfinnee, Addis Ababa to celebrate the occasion.

This year’s Irreechaa festival is being celebrated under the motto “Irreechaa: Symbol of Unity and Brotherhood.” in the presence of various segments of the society including Aba Gadas and Hadha Sinqes.

The celebration is a special stage in which the people display its cultural and spiritual values including beauty, aesthetics, and unity to the world where cultural singing and dancing are common.

Irreechaa is based on the traditional thanksgiving event to the Waka or Wakayo who is believed to create the heavens and the earth.

The Oromos thank the Waka (GOD) for good harvest, promotion of family human and soil fertility and livestock health and primarily for peace in their communities.

Irreechaa is celebrated in different localities across Oromia and worldwide where Oromos are living.

In particular, the Irreechaa festivity which is taking place at Hora Finfinne in Addis Ababa and Hora Arsadi in Bishoftu town, is a unique thanksgiving festival which brings together many people from all corners of Oromia and the country.

The celebration of Hora Arsadi in Bishoftu town of Oromia region will be held colorfully tomorrow.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in his best wishes message for the celebration noted that Irreechaa is a festival of justice, equality, love and unity that demonstrates fraternity and solidarity among the people urging all to work hard to do away with obstacles and make tomorrow brighter.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

Lilwin serves up anthemic new single featuring Lasmid

Ghanaian actor and musician Kwadwo Nkansah has released another soul-catching and uplifting motivational single titled ‘Y3b3 Y3 Yie.’ The song, which features reigning New Artiste of the Year Lasmid, triggers a spirit of hope for the hopeless and represents a breath of new life. The new single produced by renowned beatmaker Apya comes along with some hard-hitting kicks and is incorporated with guitars, violins, drums, and electronic keyboard sounds. The duet between Lilwin and Lasmid on the new tune sounds refreshing, with the latter dropping some astounding vocals. The lyrics of the song are uplifting, taking one’s spirits from gloomy states to a better understanding of God’s undying love for believers and how he demonstrates his prowess even in difficult times. Accompanying this song is a lyric video for easy consumption and appreciation. The song ‘Y3b3 Y3 Yie’ is available on YouTube and all streaming platforms:

Source: Ghana News Agency

KFCB, TikTok Collaborate On Content Moderation And Regulation

The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) is working with social media platform TikTok to ensure that the content posted on the platform is decent and suitable for Kenyan viewers.
KFCB Ag. CEO Joel Wamalwa said that as the State Agency mandated to regulate the creation, broadcasting, distribution, and exhibition of audiovisual content in the country, they are confident that the discussion with Tiktok and other platforms, together with other stakeholders, would bear fruit in terms of ensuring that the content conforms to Kenya’s culture, moral values, and national aspirations.
Speaking Thursday during a workshop between TikTok and government agencies, Wamalwa said that the workshop is a timely engagement as it comes following a series of meetings with regards to TikTok operations in Kenya.
‘It is very gratifying to know that this workshop is a continuation of our fruitful engagement that also includes training, and we look forward to further engagement in the future,’ said Wamalwa.
He emphasised that it is of the utmost importance that we protect our minors from exposure to inappropriate content.
He continued… ‘The Ministry of Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary (CS) Eliud Owalo said that we need to protect our cultural values through audiovisual content’.
He said that as KFCB, they welcomed TikToks’ commitment to working closely with partners to keep the platform free from unsuitable content in a push towards a safe online space, especially for children.
‘Our children are more tech savvy, and every time a parent puts down their phone, they are quick to grab it, and the most likely platform they will run to is TikTok,’ he said.
Wamalwa said that they are looking forward to working with TikTok on other initiatives like the parental digital literacy programme, which is geared towards giving parents and caregivers the requisite skills to guide children in the responsible use of digital platforms.
‘Understanding safety features and community guidelines on these platforms is key to ensuring that children remain safe online,’ said Wamalwa as he explained that recently, there have been online games and challenges with different steps, with some having the last step as committing suicide, and there have been unfortunate cases where children and teenagers have lost their lives.
TikTok Director of Government Relations and Public Policy Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda said that in Kenya, they have seen a rise in the misuse of the live feature on TikTok where people are coming in for sexual solicitation, which violates their community guidelines.
Sibanda said that they were aware of it, and in the meeting between President William Ruto and TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, TikTok admitted that they were aware of the misuse and were doubling their moderation systems to be able to eradicate it.
He explained that in the last three months, they pulled down 91 million pieces of content globally for violating their community guidelines.
Sibanda said that the challenge was that bad actors always tried new ways to circumvent processes and systems, and even if they put in policies and guidelines, there would be people who would try to violate them. They are working hard to stay ahead of these bad actors by stopping them before they post the bad videos.
‘About 95 per cent of what was pulled down was done by our machine learning system,’ said Sibanda, adding that the 91 million looks big, but it only represents 0.6 per cent of the total content uploaded on the platform in the three months period.
He said that by and large, most content on TikTok is good content, as he explained that they were not ignoring the fact there was bad content, and this is why they are having workshops with various State Agencies to see how they could improve their systems.
‘In the first quarter of 2023, about 88.8 per cent of the content we took down was actually taken down before it was viewed by anyone, and our focus is now on the remaining 12 per cent and how we can minimise that,’ said Sibanda.
Other state agencies involved in the initiative are the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Kenya Police Service, Department of Children Services, Communications Authority of Kenya, Ministry of Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy, Media Council of Kenya, Judiciary, and National Cohesion and Integration Commission, among others.

Source: Kenya News Agency

FILDA 2023: ANPG wins “Golden Lion” grand prize

The “Golden Lion 2023” grand prize of the 38th edition of the Luanda International Trade Fair (FILDA), which took place from 18 to 22 July in the province of Luanda at the Special Economic Zone (ZEE), was awarded to the National Agency for Oil, Gas and Biofuels (ANPG).

The award ceremony, which was held at the Epic Sana hotel in Luanda, also honoured BIC bank in the “Best brand activation” category, Portugal took the “Best international participation” category, the “Best banking and financial services”, was awarded the Standard Bank prize, the “Best oil and gas participation” was given to Sonangol, while “Best automotive participation” TCG car and Unitel was awared with the “Best telecommunications and information technology participation”.

The Port of Lobito awarded the category of “Best participation transport and logistics”, “Best participation machinery and equipment”, went to Hipermáquinas company, the Carrinho Group received the award on “Best participation industry”, and businesswoman Gilda Gil received the prize as the “Best participation entrepreneur woman”, “Best participation digital economy”, Interbank Service Company (EMIS), and “Best participation sustainability, environment and safety at work” went to for Angola´s oil company Sonangol.

The organisers also awarded the General Tax Administration (AGT) in the class “Best participation entity and public companies”, while “Best participation public utility services” was awarded to National Social Security Institute (INSS) and in the category “Best participation trade and services”, went to Guangde Internacional Group LDA.

The company EAL was also honoured in the category of “Best printing industry packaging, paper and cardboard”, the Filomena Farm was awarded “Best participation food and beverages”, while the “Best participation construction and public works” went to Omatapalo civil construction company.

Regarding the “Best press coverage” category, the Angola public Television (TPA) received the trophy, while in the “Best insurance participation”, insurance Sanlam company was the winner.

The Casa Nova company which is dedicated to the supply of furniture in the Angolan market, won the category “Best participation made in Angola”, STF Angola in “Best participation agriculture and fisheries”, the ProBeauty Cosmetics Industry was awarded “Best participation cosmetics and health” and the Anglobal Engineering company won the award “Best participation energy and water”.

In addition to the awards, the organisers handed out 11 honourable mentions to sponsors, namely the National Oil and Gas and Biofuels Agency (ANPG), Sonangol, Unitel, Grupo Carrinho, Etu Energias, Credit Guarantee Fund, Paratus, the oil and gas company Sonil, the information and communications technology company Huawei and Africell and the insurance company Sanlam.

At the time, the Minister of Economy and Planning, Mário Caetano João, emphasised that the event is being held due to the partnerships adding that “it means that the Government does not think it is making the journey alone, but with the private sector and the diaspora”.

The minister recalled that more than 50 companies did not participate due to lack of space in the venue, and considered it necessary to create space for “all the companies at FILDA to get to know each other”.

He said he was satisfied with the team that managed FILDA staff, taking into account the large participation of the United States of America and the companies that remained to close deals

The minister said that a survey had been distributed to exhibitors for them to submit data to show the turnover during the five days.

For FILDA 2024, Mário Caetano João said he hoped to have a bigger turnout than the 38th edition, adding that “Above all, we want to change the structures, because we have made the most of the existing structures, but we have already reached a period of exhaustion

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)

Angolan golfer improves one place in International tournament

Angolan professional golfer António Sobrinho improved this Sunday, in the Province of Luanda, one place in the league table of the International Golf Tournament, called ”Mangais senior Classic 2023”, by finishing the second round with a positive balance of -2, under 72 strokes regulated, in 18 holes.

The Angolan player completed the 18 holes of the round in 70 strokes, surpassing the exhibition of the debut where he totalled in the day with the 72 regulated strokes, in the event involving 37 professionals, 15 of which are category one, with victories from America, South Africa and Europe.

Speaking to the press, António Sobrinho said the possibility of reaching the top of the classification table was open.

He also said that, given the fact that he has not competed at the highest level for a year, he is facing difficulties, but he promised to remain focused with the aim of finishing below 66 strokes to reverse his position in the table in the final scheduled for Monday.

António Louro is another Angolan professional golfer and again shot above the recommended 10 over 72 for each 18-hole round.

The player who is in the 37th place in the competition, in his debut game on Saturday concluded with 84 points plus 12 of those established by the tournament rule which resulted in a negative balance of + 22 in two days.

Scotland’s Douglas McGuigan, who finished the second day with a minus-2 (70), totalling -7 over the two rounds, continues to lead the competition.

South Africa’s Michael Scholz moved into second place on -3 for his round of -5 after completing 36 holes over two days.

Another South African, Wallie Coetsee ended third with the sum of -5, after closing the second round with 70 strokes.

The winning team will be known on Monday during the prize-giving gala.

Meanwhile, on the same day the Skydive Angola artist made a parachute exhibition

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)

IGAD Executive Secretary Wins African Achievers Award

Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu is awarded African Achievers Award in London.

This accolade is a testament to Workneh’s exceptional leadership and unwavering commitment to the advancement of Africa, according to IGAD press release.

“His remarkable track record of achievements and relentless efforts in fostering peace, stability, and diplomacy has been duly recognized,” it noted.

The African Achievers Award has a history of honoring outstanding individuals who have made remarkable contributions to African development, serving as an inspiration to many.

It is an annual awards ceremony that celebrates African excellence through recognizing and honoring notable individuals and organizations in Africa across multiple industries that contribute immensely to the growth and development of the continent.

Workneh now joins this esteemed group of laureates, carrying on the tradition of extraordinary service to our continent, the release added.

Previous winners included the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and the former late president of Ghana Attah Mills.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

World Swahili Language Day Celebrations Ended With Fanfare

Celebrations to mark World Swahili Language Day that kicked off in Mombasa on July 7-9 concluded successfully at the weekend amid much fanfare.

The ambitious second Swahili festival ran under the auspices of ‘Swahili for Peace, Cohesion and Integration’.

The three-day festival to celebrate the Swahili language, culture, calligraphy and heritage in the coastal city organized by the National Museums of Kenya was hailed as a success by stakeholders.

In recognition of Swahili’s vital role in promoting cultural diversity and fostering dialogue, the 41st session of the General Conference of UNESCO in 2021 proclaimed July 7 of each year as World Kiswahili Day.

Swahili is among the 10 most widely spoken languages in the world, with more than 200 million speakers mostly in Africa and the Middle East.

Swahili is the first African language to be recognized in such a manner by the UN and calls were made for the people to embrace the beauty of Kiswahili and celebrate its shared heritage.

Kiswahili is a Bantu language with Arabic influences dating from the contacts of Arabian traders with the inhabitants of the East Coast of Africa over the centuries.

The festival attracted local and international tourists, celebrated Swahili arts, cuisine, handicrafts, henna paintings, poetry, music and literature.

The events held at Fort Jesus, Swahili Pot Hub and Mama Ngina Waterfront Park were officially opened by the Cabinet Secretary for Wildlife, Tourism and Cultural Heritage Peninah Malonza.

CS Malonza said the language festival is expected to help in the long run in reviving the treasured Swahili culture, cuisine, arts and crafts for posterity.

Stakeholders contend that the annual Swahili language festival dedicated to celebrating and preserving the Swahili culture would further enhance Mombasa’s holiday reputation among the domestic and international visitors who flock the coastal city during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

At the close of the festival on Sunday, Swahili Heritage Training Institute Coordinator Khalid Kitito estimated that about 50,000 domestic and foreign visitors thronged Mombasa for the festival.

‘The three-day festival that brought together Swahili speakers and enthusiasts was incident-free and safe and was enjoyed by all who attended it,’ he said during an interview with KNA.

He went on, ‘the turnout was splendid as visitors from all cultural backgrounds experienced the beauty of the Swahili language, culture, heritage, architecture and cuisine.’

Kitito says the festival provided an opportunity for Swahili speakers and enthusiasts to come together to network and celebrate their shared love for the language and culture.

He said he was happy to see people from different backgrounds participate at the festival, contending that the ceremony offered tourists the opportunity to explore the Kenyan coast and discover what makes it tick.

‘This annual Swahili event will go a long way in sustaining the unique cultural heritage of the coastal communities,’ he said, calling for accelerated use of the language.

Kitito, an expert in Swahili culture, says the annual festival is not only useful for promoting tourism but also for bringing integration among diverse communities in Kenya and beyond.

A cultural enthusiast Ms. Amira Msalem said the Swahili food on display included pilau, samosa, mandazi, mishikaki, samaki wa kupaka among other delicious dishes.

On the henna paintings, Msalem says it is very common in the Swahili culture for women especially to use henna for different ceremonies like weddings.

Chairman of the Swahili Development Initiative Alawy Abzein says the original dialects of Kiswahili are fast getting lost and the festival was a good way of reclaiming and reviving them.

He says Swahili culture is a fusion of influence from Arabia, Persia and India which came during the Indian Ocean Trade when Arabs, Persians and Indians would sail across the Indian Ocean to the East Coast of Africa for trading purposes.

Abzein says there are three important dialects of Kiunguja, spoken in Zanzibar and in the mainland areas of Tanzania; Kimvita, spoken in Mombasa and other areas of Kenya; and Kiamu, spoken on the Island of Lamu.

‘The Swahili festival created a sense of unity and brotherhood among Kenyans of different cultures as they come together to celebrate the time tested Swahili heritage and traditions,’ said Abzein.

He says the Swahili people are found along the coasts of Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia and Mozambique.

He says deliberate efforts should be made to promote Swahili language which he noted is now spoken and taught in many African countries.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Maasai Youth Encouraged To Research And Document Culture

Youths from the Maasai community have been challenged to conduct research on their culture and document it in books as a way of helping generations understand culture and advocate for the communities to get their rights.

Speaking in Loita ward, Narok South Sub County, during the process of negotiation and cleansing that began in 2017, Ministry of Interior and National Administration Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) designate Samuel Tunai, said young researchers need to go deeper and research on culture, identify stolen artifacts during the colonial period, and write in books.

Tunai thanked the team that traveled to London and identified the ornaments in the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford University that are alleged to be stolen items during the colonial period.

‘I challenged the youth to go an extra mile and conduct research and write it into books for future references,’ added Tunai.

Tuna, who was the former Narok Governor, said there are many sections in Maasai land, especially Narok and Kajiado County, that still have precious items such as artifacts and goals that can be researched and identified.

‘There are many places in Narok, like Logorian, where people took golden items during the colonial period. And it should be followed up as well,’ said Tunai.

He said there were many communities affected during the colonial period; therefore, people have a right to get their rights through the following up of all things that happened during the colonial period.

Tunai also added that the team that followed the ornaments taken by the British during the colonial period can collaborate with the county government and the national government to ensure that the truth comes out and the families affected during that time get their rights.

Through this research from the team that travelled to London, the families from Loita received 49 cows each as a way of compensation.

Oxford University gave 49 cows to two families each as a way of cleansing the sacred objects the Briton had taken during the colonial period.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Angolan artists with digital cultural platform

A digital cultural platform called “Agenda” was presented Thursday in the Province of Luanda as a technological solution for art creators.

The initiative is from the director of events Mário Rodrigues, who presented the mechanism to the press and cultural practitioners.

Speaking to the press, he said that it is a complete technological solution with the aim to join in a single space artists, event producers, night clubs and final users.

He informed that the platform is now available for use on smartphones, computers, tablets and other telecommunications equipment through the website

Mário Rodrigues said that the platform was created over four years and will give concert managers the possibility of accessing various information about the schedule of the artists that are registered on the platform, adding that it also serves to hire musicians, bands and musical groups, disc jockeys (DJs) and other available culture makers.

According to him, 45 artists are already registered on the platform, which at first is only available for access throughout the country, although it is also open to other regions of the world.

Angolans, French, Mexicans and South Africans are among the artists who have already registered on the platform, which will also include actors, models, digital influencers, theatre groups, among others.

He explained that to sign up, interested artists must fill out a form, provide their information and pay one to five per cent of the value of each contract for the use of the platform

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)