Plenty of cultural carnivals in Nairobi this month

Zimbabwean actor Mike Kudakwashe staged stand- up comedy during Storymoja Festival. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU | NMG
Zimbabwean actor Mike Kudakwashe staged stand- up comedy during Storymoja Festival. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU | NMG  

There’s a flurry of cultural festivals taking place in Nairobi right now.

No sooner had the Storymoja Festival closed on Sunday than the month-long Nigerian Cultural Festival opened at the Nairobi Gallery, launched with a fabulous array of colourful activities, including live music, dancing, freshly - prepared Nigerian food and even a live demonstration of how to make West African women’s flamboyant head gear. It was all organised by the Nigerian fashionista Mrs Paulina Otieno and Nairobi Gallery curator Alan Donovan.

Simultaneously, artworks by more than 20 Nigerian artists went on display both in Nairobi Gallery and at Nairobi National Museum. And this coming Sunday, October 8th, a showcase of ‘The Vanishing Textiles of Africa’ will open at Alliance Francaise.

Then Thursday the third Somali Heritage Festival opened at the Kenya Cultural Centre, running through coming Sunday. Featuring lively discussions, films, children’s games, Somali food and even theatre on Saturday at 2pm, the theme of this year’s festival is ‘Enhancing Inclusivity’.

Finally, from this coming Monday, October 9th, the French Film Festival will screen a series of contemporary French films from 6:30pm every day of the week through Friday.

Simultaneously, the second Smartphone Film Festival will feature the winning smartphone films sent into to Alliance Francaise before October 1.

More than 100 smartphone film shorts were submitted as compared to last year when only 30 were sent in. Of those 110, the weaker films will be sorted out in-house. But then the first and second prizes will be selected by a team of film professionals, including leading Kenyan filmmakers like Judy Kibinge, Cajeton Boy, and Mwaniki Mwageria and the French Regional audio-visual attache Rene Denis.

The newest feature of the Smartphone festival is the People’s Choice award which will be won according to votes cast by those who come at 6:30 and watch the eight to 10 film shorts (on average four minutes each) screened every day before the French film. Vote counting will take place after next Thursday’s screening. The three award winners will be announced on the festival’s final day, Friday, October 15.