Sometimes, it is events like the just-ended Nairobi International Cultural Festival that jerk us back to the reality that humanity is still the same regardless of colour, location, and race.
The festival powerfully demonstrated how dance, music, fashion, art and cuisines bring us together in spite of our backgrounds. In its 7th year since it debuted in 2012, the Nairobi International Cultural Festival has continued to provide a platform for global traditions to meet.
This year, participation was drawn from as far as Japan, Korea, Ghana, Botswana, India, Italy, Germany and even Somalia – all finding common ground at the courtyard of the Nairobi National Museum.
There was nostalgia, seeing familiar faces from a past event I had attended back in 2013, but it was equally thrilling to make new connections.
Even though fabrics, colours, ingredients, instruments and dancing styles may differ from one culture to another, the fundamentals remain the same. We dress to look good, we prepare food to be tasty, we compose music to be soothing and we draw art and make handicrafts to inspire and accessorise.
Being a regional hub for so many things, Nairobi pulls a diversity of people from across the globe to itself. It provides a great meeting point for traditions, perspectives and points of view. It is not a wonder some refer to it as Kenya’s melting point of cultures.
This year’s event was quite packed as Nairobians turned up in their numbers despite the chill in the air and the threat of a downpour – the previous day’s had been quite heavy and one might be forgiven for thinking that would have dampened people’s spirits – it did not.
With such large numbers this year, the courtyard at the museum was put to its ultimate test. Some performances even became a bit of a challenge to showcase – perhaps it is high time the organisers started to consider bigger space for future events seeing it was growing in popularity.
Either way, this still remains one of the few events in the city where you can sample some amazing foods, listen to very interesting music, watch intricate dance moves and go on a cultural shopping spree – all under one roof! See you at the next event. Entry is free by the way!