Beyond The Music: Kenya

‘Beyond the Music’, a much anticipated event at Columbia Global Centers - Nairobi, took place on December 5th 2017. The event was moderated by activist and writer – Mr. Kevin Mwachiro and the artists on the panel were Victoria Kimani, Kennedy Ombima (King Kaka), Antony Mwangi (Anto NeoSoul), Fena Gitu, Patricia Kihoro, and Judith Nyambura (Avril).

December 05, 2017

‘Beyond the Music’ was a much anticipated event at Columbia Global Centers - Nairobi.  The event took place on December 5th 2017 in the format of a panel discussion that focused on the panelists talking about their development/social work beyond their professional music careers.  The event was moderated by activist and writer – Mr. Kevin Mwachiro.  The artists on the panel were; Victoria Kimani, Kennedy Ombima (King Kaka), Antony Mwangi (Anto NeoSoul), Fena Gitu, Patricia Kihoro and Judith Nyambura (Avril).

The event was organized in our efforts to play a role in finding solutions that face our society - especially the Youth.  The artists engaged the audience in a lively discussion on their role as mentors to Kenyan youth and the values of hard work, skill-building and partnerships.  The panelist talked about their role in the society and their goal to inspire young people, not superficially, but by practically demonstrating the value of setting goals, finding an inspiration and working hard to achieve their dreams. The forum also covered issues surrounding mental health and mentoring.  A majority of the artists in the panel are serving as mentors to upcoming or aspiring artists.  It was also determined that forums addressing mental health were vital in order to open up avenues for discussing personal struggles by the artists.  This form of vulnerability would present a practical reality to the youth in addition to allowing them to identify with the artists.

Working with the youth and creating opportunities for them is a major thematic area for the Nairobi Center in ‘Creative and Liberal Arts’.  With this in mind, the artists explored avenues for collaboration with CGC-Nairobi in addressing specific concerns that affect the youth, such as unemployment and access to education.  Some avenues that the artists use to offer solutions are through empowerment mentorship and sponsorships.  As they entertain, they educate, thus edutainment.

The panelist suggested action points that the Nairobi Center could implement;

  • Have programs that focus on patriotism and one that capitalizes on Kenyan culture.
  • Organize empowering talks focused on building self-confidence, tolerance, perseverance and personal development.
  • Organize forums that address mental health and personal struggles for the artists.
  • Enhance a true representation of the younger population by opening avenues for young people to participate in decision making, for example by appointing them into boards or committees. 
  • Creating a forum where young people will be educated about the Information / Resources available to them for personal growth and development.
  • Establishing a fund that supports young people’s interests and dreams.

The event conclusively determined that the youth were more vibrant, innovative and flexible and therefore should be included when there is need for fresh and new ideas. 

Following this highly successful event, CGC Nairobi intends to host a series of similar/related events in the near future.

The event was held at CGC - Nairobi and was live-streamed to the larger Columbia University community.  To watch the discussion, visit;