Posts tagged as: weapon

‘Music is Our Weapon’ Premieres in Kigali

By Moses Opobo

When I heard that Music Is Our Weapon, a music documentary was screening in Kigali Friday night I was initially unmoved.

Unmoved because I was sure I had already watched a documentary in that name. In June last year, there was a screening of Music Is The Weapon, a documentary film about the legendary Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti, who is credited with creating the Afrobeat musical genre.

What was screened at the Impact Hub in Kiyovu Friday night was as similar in title as they get; Music Is Our Weapon. The similarity also extends in theme.

The documentary chronicles the lives of one of the best Afro Fusion bands on the contemporary Kenyan music scene, the Sarabi Band.

It opens with a lively montage of the band’s members performing at different venues across the world, from Sauti za Busara in Tanzania to the Roskilde Festival in Denmark.

The band’s music and lyrical style is influenced by the everyday happenings and injustices around band members in the impoverished community. Their music blends influences of traditional Kenyan sounds, Benga, and some western influences.

In the documentary, the band’s music, though sung predominantly in Swahili, is easy to follow as it features an abundance of live performance clips with English subtitles.

It tries to delve into the hardships and stumbling blocks that group members have to wade through for their dreams to see the light of day. There are low and heart wrecking moments for the band, like the time when one band member decided to leave and fly abroad in search of greener pastures. Coming from similar impoverished backgrounds, band members are heartbroken by the development, yet still understand that, in the circumstances, a man “has to do what he has to do”.

In several interviews, band members talk about their individual journeys of heartbreak growing in poverty and trying to pursue musical dreams. They talk about eventually breaking the chains to the limelight, what influences their musical style, about the sanctity of parenthood, about giving back to the community …

The documentary also features appearances from among others social and music activists, other musicians, to diplomats and ordinary Kenyans who connect with the band’s musical and social ideology.

The group was invited to take part in the 2006 World Urban Forum in Vancouver in 2006, a year after the band’s formation.

As part of this tour, the band published a book, Image-In the MDGs. The book argued a compelling case for public discussion on development strategies and policies and understanding the global dimension within which their voices can be heard.

It’s the kind of movie screening you’d have hoped to attract a cross section of the actors in the local music scene, but just like the Fela Kuti documentary in June last year, attendance was fickle, with the crowd made up largely of the expat/backpacker crowd.

Sarabi Band is big on Kenyan soil. Just as big as the Sauti Sol band was in Kenya, even before the region could embrace them. On the European and American music festival scene, however, their sounds and rhythms have been gaining wider acceptance since 2005 when the band came together.

A 2007 feature in Drum Magazine described the band as “the next force in Kenyan music”, while earlier in August 2013, Buzz Magazine had described the band as “the new face of Afro-Fusion in Kenya”.

The word “Sarabi” is in Swahili, and could mean mirage, vision, creation, or imagination.

It is made up of eight young men and one young lady who all were born and raised from the Eastlands slums in Nairobi.

All group members embarked on their turbulent musical journeys at a tender age, with some as young as ten years of age at the time.

The members are; Nelson Mandela (lead vocalist), Isabella Were (vocals), Harun Waceke (bass and vocals), Adam Mwadama (acoustic guitar and vocals), Peter Mbau (acoustic guitar and vocals), Bernard Oduor (drums and vocals), Anthony Kimangu (percussions and vocals), and John Maluni (keyboard).

Music Is Our Weapon is basically a profile of these very talented eight young men and one young woman.

Directed and produced by Nigerian photographer and film producer Taye Balogun, the documentary offers the viewer background profiles of each member, how they ended up doing music, and how the band eventually came to be.

The band’s existence owes a lot to a youth mentorship program at the Mathare Youth Sports Association, which is some kind of theater of dreams for the local socially disadvantaged youths.

A one George Nderitu, a youth trainer at the center features prominently in the documentary, as indeed he does in Sarabi Band’s formation and the subsequent fortunes of band members.

Nderitu took the young band members under his wing, mentored them, opened them to a world of possibilities and opportunities, and eventually pulled the strings that saw the formation of Sarabi Band from two separate musical outfits, Sauti Za Kwetu, and Wembe Kali.

Their story begins in the harsh ghettos of Eastlands in Nairobi, where the Haba na Haba Center is located. Formed by Sarabi Band manager George Nderitu, the center offers hope to the slum’s youths, who are either out of school, or cannot pursue their artistic dreams from the local elementary schools they attend.

The center provides free practical performing arts classes for children and youth as well some leadership training. Kids interested in music are enrolled in the music program and organized into different bands.

"Music Is Our Weapon" Comes to Kigali

By Moses Opobo

“Music Is Our Weapon”, the award-winning youth development documentary by Nigerian filmmaker Taye Balogun, will be screened in Kigali this Friday, October 6.

The screening will take place at the Impact Hub in Kiyovu at 6pm.

“Music Is Our Weapon” is a film that attempts to portray the philosophy, history and fight for justice of the most enthralling band in Kenya and their growing influence across the world.

The film explores the fundamental questions on youth empowerment and social justice.

Present at the screening will be the film director and executive producer, Taye Balogun, who will share his journey in making the film, and also facilitate a discussion on its subject matter.

“This will be my first time in Kigali and I am delighted to meet and engage with performers, journalists, social workers, civil society leaders and members of the diplomatic cops,” said Taye in a press statement.

The Nigerian-born filmmaker/photographer, activist, Pan Africanist and campaigner, has been on the film scene for over a decade.

In this time, he had done it all – from his role as a Broadway director, to feature films, commercials, and creating provocative images for photography exhibitions.

Taye has also been involved in social/youth development issues in Africa for over six years, and today, is the Director of Media and Campaigns for African Artists Peace Initiative, using art as a medium of communication for peace building.

He has consulted, campaigned and engaged with different international bodies like; Control Arms; Water Aid; Oxfam; Save The Children; African Union; UNESCO; and AYP.

As a teacher/motivational speaker, he has been invited as a visiting lecturer at Howard University, George Town University and Harvard University (all in the United States of America), specialising in films for development.


Government Moves to Relax Anti-Abortion Law

Procuring abortion under specific circumstances is set to be easier if proposed changes to the Penal Code getting the… Read more »

Form 4 Student Arrested After He’s Found With Gun in School

By Barack Oduor

A-17-year old Form Four student is in police custody in Homa Bay County after he was found in possession of an illegal firearm.

The student at Orero Secondary School was found with a pistol on Tuesday evening after his colleagues raised the alarm.

Homa Bay OCPD Esau Ochorokodi told journalists that the student was brandishing the firearm to his colleagues before the school administration was alerted.

Mr Ochorokodi said the student first denied that he was in possession of the gun but after a two-hour interrogation by police officers, he led them to a nearby bush where he had hidden the weapon.

“The student hid the weapon outside the dormitory. He would only retrieve it when he wanted to coerce his colleagues to submit to his demands,” said Mr Ochorokodi.


Upon examination of the pistol, the officers found out that it is of a type that is rarely used in the country, prompting questions on how the student obtained it.

The investigators told Nation that the pistol is an American type, and is not licensed to be used in Kenya.

The student revealed to the investigators that he had obtained the firearm from a relative who is living in the United States.

“The student told us that a relative who is living in the US had gifted him with the pistol,” said Mr Ochorokodi.

Despite investigators finding out that the gun had no bullets, the school administration and students were thrown into panic, prompting the questioning of more students over the gun discovery.

The principal of the school, Mr Dickens Bula, said they received the hint about the gun from students who claimed that one student had been threatening to shoot them with the gun.


“We received complaints from students who said one of them was threatening to shoot whoever failed to meet his demands,” said Mr Bula.

It is said the student was using the gun to extort money and food stuffs from fellow students.

The student is waiting to be charged with illegal possession of an unlicensed firearm at the Homa Bay Law Courts.

The discovery of the gun from the student has raised concerns on the safety of students in schools across the country.

The Homa Bay Police boss said they are also investigating how the student managed to get into the school with the firearm despite checks at the gate when schools open.

He cautioned parents with firearms at home to be careful on how they keep them.

“All weapons at home should be kept under safe custody to minimize injuries especially on children,” he said.


Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale says he will be requesting MPs to approve the release of Sh11.5… Read more »

Conscript Shoots Police Officer Dead in Quarrel – Moi

CAIRO — Egypt’s interior ministry said on Tuesday that a conscript opened fire at a police officer during a quarrel, killing the officer and injuring another, in Central Cairo.

They were on duty in Garden City, a wealthy residential city in Central Cairo, where a number of embassies reside including the U.S., British and Italian embassies.

According to the ministry’s statement, the deceased police officer verbally assaulted the conscript and threatened of depriving him from his monthly vacation. The conscript, “who was in a bad psychological state”, then fired several gunshots from the weapon assigned to him.

The shooting resulted in the death of the police officer and the injury of another officer standing nearby.

The injured officer was taken to hospital for treatment, according to the statement.

The conscript has been arrested and his weapon confiscated. The prosecution will open investigation into the incident.

In February, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for introducing legal amendments to the police authority law with the aim of enhancing the security’s performance and ensuring accountability.

The president’s call came after recurrent complaints of torture in custody and allegations of police abuse.

Sisi reiterated in April that it was important to deter “irresponsible” behavior by police personnel in a meeting with the interior minister.

In August, the amendments had been approved by parliament and ratified by the president.

Human rights groups and lawyers have repeatedly warned about rampant police misconduct and the deteriorating conditions inside prisoners.

The interior ministry had insisted that the violations are “individual cases” and that the perpetrators are questioned in accordance with the law.


Africa Cup of Nations in Numbers

Ahead of the draw of the final tournament of the TOTAL Africa Cup of Nations Gabon 2017 on Wednesday, 19 October 2016 in… Read more »

Mohammed Ali Honoured in Rwanda

Photo: Moses Opobo/The New Times

Screenshots from the documentary ‘I Am Ali’ which aired in Kigali Rwanda during the ceremony.

By Moses Opobo

Among black communities and other racial minorities especially, Ali was respected for the fearlessness he displayed in asserting his black identity, and his relentless pursuit of justice and equality.

It is against this backdrop that a tribute event in his honour was staged on the night of Sunday, June 5 at the Innovation Village in Kacyiru, Kigali.

Ali’s tribute was slotted into the regular Sunday Afro Music and Film, a monthly event that takes place every first Sunday of the month, and at which the strong ties between Pan-African film and music are explored.

The event involved the screening of, I Am Ali, the 2014 Clare Lewins documentary in which the boxer’s audio journals, friends, family and fellow boxers provide insight into his extraordinary life and legendary career.

The Ali documentary preceded another “Black power” themed documentary, Music Is The Weapon, which follows the musical life and political activism of the legendary Nigerian Afro Beat godfather, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

Later after the screenings, theatre-goers exchanged views and reflected on the life of the icon.

“I find it even more interesting that they had flaws, because it makes them accessible and gives us hope as normal human beings to emulate them because we ordinary people have as much flaws if not more, but on the other hand we don’t have so many accomplishments,” shared one young man who came clad in a T-shirt with the bold inscriptions -Black Power. He later revealed that he had received the T-shirt as a gift from Europe just two days before Mohammed Ali’s death.

Both were unanimously recognized as geniuses in their respective fields – sports for Ali, and music for Kuti.

They were outspoken, admired, respected and feared for their strong political views.

“I think that to limit the inspirational and influential life of these great black icons to just sports and music would be restrictive,” explained Eric Soul, a Kigali-based DJ and Events enthusiast who was the event’s curator.

Kirenga further revealed that the monthly forum is a continuation of a concept he started a few years ago in London where he was based at the time, and that run for five consecutive years.

In December last year, the Innovation Village staged a similar event in honor of the noble ideals that Mohammed Ali espoused well before his death. It was a month-long art exhibition dubbed “Ali Bomaye”, by Rwandan visual artist Mucyo Mu.

At the world-famous heavyweight boxing fight between Ali and George Foreman in the then Zaire (now DR Congo), in 1974, the crowd was clearly pro- Ali. They famously chanted “Ali boma ye” (the ‘boma’ for ‘kill’, and the ‘ye’ for ‘him’.

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. on January 17, 1942, Ali remains the only three-time lineal world heavyweight champion, having won the title in 1964, 1974, and 1978.

He was loved as much for the skills he displayed in the boxing ring as for the values he stood for outside of the sport; a passionate crusader for racial justice and religious freedom.

Sudan: Hassabo Directs Establishment of Strategic Plan for Enhancing Agricultural Research Corporation

Khartoum — Vice-President of the Republic, Hassabo Mohamed Abdul-Rahman, has given a directive to work out a strategic plan to enhance outcome of scientific research and to support the Agricultural Research Corporation so as to carry out its support to the agricultural sector in the country.

He stressed in a meeting he chaired Monday in his office at Republican Palace with officials of the Agricultural Research Corporation the importance of support to the agricultural research and finding mechanism to fund the agricultural research, pointing to the role of corporation in boosting the agricultural sector, especially in the transfer technology and increasing the basic crops.

The Director General of the Agricultural Research Corporation Dr. Al-Saddiq Suleiman Mohamed said in statement to SUNA that the meeting agreed on coordination between concerned circles and integration of role between the Agricultural Research Corporation and the universities, besides establishing relations with the concerned regional and international institutions.


Rape As Weapon of War

Sudanese military forces and militia have used rape as a weapon of war in Darfur and other conflicts, Human Rights Watch … see more »

Subscribe To Our Mailing List

* indicates required
/ ( mm / dd )

Featured Links

    Search Archive

    Search by Date
    Search by Category
    Search with Google
    Log in | Designed by Gabfire themes