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East African Arts and Cultural Festival kicks off in Nairobi

The 2nd Edition of the East African Community Arts and Culture Festival (Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki Utamaduni Festival - JAMAFEST) kicked off with fanfare today at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Contingents of cultural workers, artists from all the five Partner States of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda, and the Nairobi public taking part in the JAMAFEST Carnival, which entailed a procession through the streets of Nairobi City.

The carnival was flagged off by Kenya’s Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and The Arts, Mr Patrick Omutia, at the Uhuru Park Dais and snaked through Kenyatta Avenue, Moi Avenue, Haile Selassie, Harambee Avenue, Parliament road, and back to KICC.

Uganda’s Minister of State for Culture and Family Affairs, Hon. Rukia Nakadama and the EAC Deputy Secretary-General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Jesca Eriyo, were among the notable participants who took part in the colourful procession.

His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to officially open the week-long festival tomorrow Tuesday, 4th August, 2015. He will be joined by the EAC Secretary-General, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera, and the Ministers / Cabinet Secretaries responsible for EAC Affairs, and Sports and Culture from the five Partner States.

The theme of the 2015 festival is “Unleashing the economic potential of cultural and creative industries in the EAC”. The sub-themes are: Showcasing the EAC’s rich cultural heritage; Reflections and appreciation of EAC’s cultural and creative industry; Fusing the old and the current into one as we unravel the way forward; Sensitizing the youth as conveyors of our cultural heritage; and Celebrating our rich cultural heritage as a vehicle for achieving the EAC integration.

To achieve the theme and sub-themes, several live performances, exhibitions, and symposia have been lined. Live performance will include music, dance and movement, poetry, storytelling, drama, and acrobatics, among others. Popular traditional games within the region are on the list such as bao-ajua, kora and wrestling.

In light of economic empowerment, the festival has designated an area within the venue where local and participating artists are showcasing and selling their wares such as jewellery, clothing, curios, paintings, sculptures, and handcrafts. The festival website is: jamafest2015.eac.int.

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