Day Two: Jukwaani Festival – Poetry Performances & Hip Hop Battle

The ongoing Jukwaani Festival for performance Literature was in its 2nd day yesterday at Goethe Institut and Alliance Francaise auditoriums from 2pm.

Having  seen the program earlier in the week, I was looking forward to the day as it was going to feature alot of poetry performance in different forms and by some of the best Nairobi Poets.

People’s TV 101 – Switch on the Power to the People was the first at the Alliance auditorium. This is a show that was curated by Muki Garang featuring Poets; Pepe Haze, Kennet B, Moraa, Karen, Eudiah, a drummer, Pau and an upcoming musician, Lucas.

I must say the turnout was not as I had expected, maybe due to the fact that there were other events happening elsewhere that targeted the same audience (WAPI, The Nairobi Book Fair and the Sprite Basketball Playoffs). However, this did not seem to deter the poets who performed as though to a full house.

The MC, Pepe Haze started off the show by performing some of his own poetry as well as beat boxing, something that I must say he does quite well.  From the perfomances by the various poets, It was evident that they had chosen to focus on the topic of Sexuality  with an emphasis on women’s plight.

Muki’s performance was staged as a news broadcast with Muki as the news anchor bringing the People’s TV news in Kiswahili. The news being broadcast was an exploration on the strains of gender roles.

The show came to an end with a lovely song by Lucas who is also a guitarist accompanied by Pau the drummer and a female backup singer.

Soon after, we were off to Goethe Institut for Ngwatilo’s ‘Raised from the Page’.

For this performance, Ngwatilo had chosen to pick some timeless poems from the 1960’s mostly by Kenyan poets with  a few coming from Africa and the world.

Some of the poets whose poetry was brought alive through a live performance accompanied by music and choreography were; Amin Kassam, Stephen Partington, Yusuf O. Kassam, Marjorie Oludhe MCgoye(Atieno Yo), Laban Erapu, Phyllis Muthoni and Ed Pavich.

In the one and a half hour performance, Ngwatilo and her group managed to hold the crowd in a trance from one poem to another through careful choreography that ensured that no poem sounded or was performed like the other.  It was a pleasant surprise to learn that Ngwatilo was also quite talented in singing as she turned some of her own poems to song awing the audience with her voice.

By the time the performance was ending, we were still looking forward to more of it.

Next was the performance curated by Cindy Ogana at the Alliance Auditorium, ‘Our Deepest Fear’. Drawn from an excerpt in the book ‘A return to love’ by Marianne Williamson, Cindy and her group of poets based their own compositions from this quote(read it below) which most people think is a poem.

Kennet B, Dennis Inkwa, Valentine Kamau and Dan Mwangi(Number 8) gave an exemplary performance as they explored their deepest fear in a very well choreographed and rehearsed show with each drawing from their uniqueness in content and performance.

The audience was left in stitches by Kennet B’s performance of ‘Corporate Sex‘ and ‘Mchanga‘ which is on HIV and AIDS.

Bringing the 2nd day of the festival to a close was the Urban Music & Hip Hop Battle Competition at the Goethe auditorium which had since turned into a dancefloor complete with disco lights and Huge speakers at the entrance.

The Nairobi Hip Hop Mcs and slammers were slowly streaming in for the 8pm event. In the house was Doobiez (Abas Kubaff), Buddha Blaze and Kimya. As it looked like the event would continue well into the night, I decided to call it a night and leave it to the ballers.

Looking forward to the last day which will have story telling by the Zamaleo Sigana Story tellers, and a Korogra performance featuring Sitawa Namwalie known for ‘Cut off my tongue’ and Smita Smitten.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.

And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

About Kenyan Poet

Showcasing the best in Kenyan Arts;Music,writing,Poetry,fine art and art reviews as well as info on emerging art trends. “Art is not about thinking something up. It is the opposite…getting something down.”