Wafalme Ghetto Kids band performing during the Messengers of Truth Urban Arts and Youth Summit.
Some three hundred people, majority of them artists and their adoring fans gathered at the UN-HABITAT headquarters in Nairobi on Monday for a rare summit to discuss urban arts.
Among those who attended the event were hip hop and visual artists, poets, local and national governments representatives, the private sector, arts foundations, institutions from around the world, and the UN-HABITAT Messengers of Truth.
Songs, drums and poetry were the hallmark of the gay occasion, culminating in live performances by Sarah Mitaru, and Lam Tungwar the UN- HABITAT Messengers of Truth.
There were also electrifying performances by some of Kenya’s leading entertainers like Kanji Mbugua of Kijiji records, leading reggae radio disc jockey DJ Ras Luigi and the all kids group Wafalme Ghetto Kids.
The forum explored how promoting the artistic talents of urban youth could make cities more socially, economically, dynamic and desirable places to live given the fact that urban population is constantly increasing.
Opening the summit, the Senior Advisor UN-HABITAT Youth Empowerment Programme, Mr. S. Ananthakrishnan said art is a powerful tool that has been used from generations in changing the way social, economic and political decisions in the world have been made. “
Marion Van- Dijck of Sarakasi Trust, an organisation promoting artists in Kenya, said the creation of space for urban arts was very crucial because it enables artists come together, showcases their talents, inform people and mobilize resources.
Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka joins Sarah Mitaru the UN-HABITAT Messenger of Truth during the Urban Arts and Youth Summit.
Sarah Mitaru said she had been using music to fight violence because people will “always remember messages conveyed through music more than those by speech.”
In her closing speech, UN-HABITAT Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka said the overwhelming response to the Summit was a testament to the convening power of the arts.
“The many diverse artistic expressions represented here today enhance each other. Each adds to the development of human culture and it is this unique quality that gives the arts a special claim of importance to our work at the United Nations,” she said.