The exchange of ideas, information, art, language and other aspects of culture among nations and their peoples in order to foster mutual understanding is critical to foster cohesion and promote cultural values. Documenting the diverse cultures through film is a strategic focused perspective to showcase our heritage.
Corporations such as Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) have launched a national campaign aimed at creating awareness on clean content through theatre and film. Dubbed Sinema Mashinani, the programme seeks to identify and nurture grass root talent in film, as well as provide critical support in content creation, distribution and exhibition of products that promote cultural values and the national aspirations of the Kenyan citizenry.
In recent times, the government has intentionally sought to pursue cultural diplomacy to enhance peace among communities and boost tourism which will in return augment revenue. This step is in line with Kenya’s Vision 2030 and the presidential Big Four Agenda, which recognizes the immense opportunities inherent in the creative industry.
KFCB has identified schools, colleges and universities as centers of excellence for various areas film. A robust and working partnership with them is therefore, focal in nurturing, growing and promoting talent among students thus enabling them to shape and sharpen their career aspirations in film and theatre arts as well as provide solutions to current societal challenges that include land degradation, malnutrition and food security, early marriages and climate change through film.
According to the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2018-2022, youth are classified as a special focus group with immense competence to tell the African story through film and theatre arts and drive cultural diplomacy agenda globally.
Ensuring compliance with the law governing film production and distribution in Kenya and stakeholder engagement is for that reason, significant in the implementation of the Sinema Mashinani project within and around learning communities in the country. The project will unearth the untapped talents, create opportunities for green jobs and subsequently grow the creative economy by commercialising student’s stage performances and films, which is in pole position with African Union’s Agenda 2063 (18) in championing engagement and empowerment of the youth as job creators in the creative economy.
The performances in film and theatre arts enable the country preserve its indigenous heritage and cultural values as espoused in AU’s Agenda 2063 (16) on African renaissance, cultural heritage, creative arts and business – cultural diplomacy. Additionally, it plays a decisive role in stimulating a national discourse on the contemporary socio-economic issues facing communities and provides leads to value-based solutions for posterity.
It is worth noting that as envisaged by UNDAF, levels of investments made, the strategic partnerships may birth the creation of national, regional and international market as access opportunities for local content from women and youth-led micro economies as well as small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) within the creative industry.
Nancy Marangu, communications specialist, Nairobi.