Think that our Kenyan artistes are all talk and no trousers? Think again, Kama, one third of the legendary hip hop group Kalamashaka gave a talk to students from University of San Francisco on topics from the Mau Mau to how the arts are helping improve perceptions about Africa abroad.The rapper was in the US for the Silicon Valley African Film Festival and together with Michael Wanguhu, director of hip hop documentary “Ni Wakati”, gave a presentation to the Political Science class of the University of San Francisco.The students, along with their adjunct professor, Davey D, viewed “Angalia Saa”, a video by Ukoo Flani, after which Kama, who features in the video, gave a talk.

“A lively discussion ensued with the audience getting involved, and one of the topics discussed was how the revolutionary group Mau Mau influenced the civil rights movements in the States in the early 60s.”
Now before you think he is just a busy body, if you have listened to Kama rap, you would know he is very passionate about honouring the people who fought for our freedom and those who still champion their cause like Ngugi wa Thiong’o and the late Wangari Maathai.

Kama also addressed the poor image of Africa hawked by the Western media saying that, luckily, that image is being shattered through the arts.

“Through the arts, Africa has taken ownership of its image and has shown its strength and ability to recover from the low expectations set by the Western world. The ghettos of Africa have shown remarkable resilience and despite a lack of resources and poor infrastructure, they have produced remarkable talents.”

Four Kenyan short films were awarded at the event. Ekwa Msangi-Omari won the Emerging Filmmaker Award for his film “Taharuki”, “Gatumia Gatumia” bagged the Award for Achievement in Animation Film and “Ni Wakati” received Honorable Mention for Achievement in Documentary Film. Zipporah Nyaruri also received Honorable Mention for achievement in narrative film – short length for her “Zebu and the Photo Fish”.

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