For 15 years, show promoter Kenya Don has brought dancehall’s elite artistes to Africa which is one of the genre’s vibrant markets. But on July 6, he stages what may be his most important gig to date.
He and Thomas ‘Big Ted’ Kwaka are co-promoters of Umoja Splash Festival which takes place at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.
The show’s objective is to maintain unity among the East African country’s tribes.
Promoters Thomas ‘Big Ted’ Kwaka and Kenya Don.
“I have decided to keep this show to unite the different communities living in Kenya which are over 42 tribes, so we want to promote the co-existence of all of them as we promote the message of one love, one heart, one destiny. We are all one, even though we speak different languages and are from different communities,” Kenya Don explained.
Jamaican artiste Jah Cure is the headliner for Umoja Splash Festival, which is dominated by homegrown acts. It is the first in a series of similar shows to be held across Kenya.
“The festival will be going across all counties in the country. That means 30 concerts promoting unity which is Umoja in Swahili music,” said Kwaka, who is an assistant to Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kenya has been prone to tribal unrest over the years, but there has been relative peace in recent times.
According to Kenya Don, “It’s very important to hold this type of show because Kenya being a multi-cultural country, there is always tribal wars during elections and tensions of divisions among tribes.”
Kenya Don began promoting dancehall concerts in 2004 while he hosted Stepping Razor, a television show in Nairobi. He staged events in The Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, featuring Beenie Man, TOK, Ce’Cile, Christopher Martin, Alaine, Kiprich and Turbulence.
He has also promoted a number of successful shows in the United Arab Emirates with Elephant Man and Wayne Wonder.