All roads in Nairobi last Saturday led to the African Cultural Research and Education Foundation (ACREF) centre in Baba Dogo estate where a unique hip hop concert aimed at educating Kenyan youth on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was held.
Known as Street Expression, the initiative that saw several young people dance and sashay to music despite the wet weather conditions is an event that intends to use music and culture to mobilize, empower and educate Kenyan youth about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The initiative brought together local hip-hop artists, radio DJ’s and youth groups.
Spearheaded by musician Gidi Gidi of Gidi Gidi Maji Maji music group, a UN-HABITAT Messenger of Truth and hosted by Ragz to Records studios and Youth Initiatives Kenya (YIKE), the event attracted hundreds of young people from Huruma, Korogocho, Dandora, Kariobangi, Mathare and Baba Dogo slums. Representatives from Safer Cities and Best Practices and Local Leadership programmes of UN HABITAT, YIKE and ACREF among others graced the launch
In his welcoming speech Gidi Gidi said that he identifies with most of the issues affecting young people living in slums and through music, is committed to promote positive values in the society and mentor young people.
Through Music, drama and dance, youngsters’ addressed issues like HIV/AIDS, education, girl-child rights, poverty, security and environmental sustainability, in English, Swahili and ‘Sheng’ – a Kenyan urban slang. Messengers of Truth initiative empowers the youth living in slums and inner cities to create awareness on MDGs through songs, performances and lyrics in several languages.
Local music group ‘Danger’ and ACREF group took the first position, winning a recording deal for one song, video and promotion. ‘Dakahumus’ and ‘Zingaru’ took the second position, winning a recording deal for one song and promotion worth while ‘Milatos’ and ‘Hope Raisers’ took the third position, winning a deal for recording track or two hours studio.
Street Expression Events will take place every month at different slums in Nairobi. Meanwhile UN-HABITAT’s Messengers of Truth will spearhead a ‘global hip – hop mainstage’ concert in Vancouver, June this year.