Storymoja Festival

Musician Anto Neosoul reads aloud with students at the just concluded Storymoja Festival

The Storymoja Festival came on the Wednesday of 16th September and went on Sunday the 20th September, leaving in its wake sessions, presentations, meetups, introductions, masterclasses, performances and book launches.

The program was tailored to suit school children and adults alike, and spread through six days of activity that saw the Arboretum grounds get more activity from Nairobi residents and a good number of guests from the larger African region, than it had seen in a span of days.

The morning of Wednesday – the first day of the Festival – set the stage for a six-day program that ensured that the best creatives shared the same space during this period.

The morning sessions of the week, were a major attraction for school children whose interests had been catered for by the program. The featured activities included Poetry, creative writing, storytelling, music and dance, blogging and social media sessions among others.

Being at a tender excitable age, the icing on the cake for the students was of course when they were taken through the Storymoja Read Aloud sessions by celebrities. The celebrities who took part in this were musicians Holy Dave, the four-member band of Sauti Sol, and Anto Neosoul. It was exciting to see these musicians connect with their young fans through reading.

The afternoon sessions featured Masterclasses that included our Masterclass on Online Content Creation and Monetization which was facilitated by Kennedy Kachwanya and Robert Kungu. We were to learn from this masterclass that many Kenyans are interested in turning their blogging into business ventures but that they lacked the knowledge on how to go about it. We were more than happy to step in and offer guidelines.

A distinguished guest walked into Arboretum Park on Friday midday – American Ambassador Robert F. Godec. He made an appearance to the Storymoja Festival with Auma Obama, the festival patron, in tow. The Ambassador took the time to read to the students a passage from US President Barack Obama’s book “Dreams from my father”.

Saturday saw an influx of adults as activities tailored to suit the adult audience took centre stage. There were talks on the future of men moderated by Irungu Houghton, a Writivism chain story challenge; an initiative by Ugandan-based writivism, that brought together writers and readers in a story-writing challenge, among other activities.

The Storymoja Festival would not be complete without the commemoration of the Westgate terror victims affected by the 21st September 2013 terror attack. One of those victims was celebrated Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor who lost his life during the attack. Awoonor had been the lead guest of the Storymoja Festival 2013. His son Afetsi Awoonor led the session “The Kofi Awoonor Memorial Lecture” which paid glowing tribute to the poet.

As has become the norm, the Festival ended having enriched creatives from all spheres of art. We now look forward to next year’s Storymoja Festival 2016!

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