The guy in boots on a bicycle with earphones on. That is my introduction. The guy with earphones on is so jumbled up. His mind is festered by the events at Kisumu Beach Resort – the Madaraka Festival 2019, the first of its kind in Africa. The great city by the lakeside was honored to be the inaugural host of the event in Africa. The view could not have been better.

A few minutes to 4am, and the show came to an end.

This guy, let us call him Simon, runs up and starts a conversation. About the day, but mostly the night. He says he came from Manyatta. He took a ride to town, then a tuk-tuk to the roundabout at the Kisumu Golf Club. Seeing as it was that the time was still in his favor, he chose to walk to the Kisumu Beach Resort – the long stretch. On inquiring how he learned of the event, Simon says he heard the announcement on a local radio station.

And that he had been to the location some years back. He did not have a problem locating the place.

But to others getting to the location of the event was more constraining. Unlike Simon, say they started from their homes. Took a ride to town from where they took a tuk-tuk or a motorcycle to the roundabout at Kisumu Golf Club. Finally taking another motorcycle from the roundabout to the Kisumu Resort.

According to Simon, this was a whole level of hustle. He says the venue for the event was quite far, as a result, he pointed out that that could have been the reason for the unusually low turn-out. Simon says he enjoyed the drinks. Took a couple of cold Tusker and was knocked out during the performance of Nazizi. He asks me how she did and I say the Queen had the audience. She took the crowd down the memory lane with Chali wa Nairobi. Simon’s best time was when Khaligraph was called to the stage and the crowd, or rather he got wild.

Madaraka Festival 2019
Kaligraph Jones wowing the crowd at Madaraka Festival 2019

At four o’clock getting a means of transportation from the event became an uphill task.

The number of motorcycle guys plying the route had reduced to a handful. The ones still at the place were not willing to serve clients headed to other locations other than the town center and its environs for security reasons. The prices were also hiked and Simon decided that he tries to get to the main road and see if he could get a tuk-tuk to town. The saying two is better than one made sense that morning. I joined Simon and together we took to walking.

Madaraka Festival 2019
Eric Omondi the MC of the night at Madaraka Festival 2019

The Madaraka Festival 2019, though littered with a number of challenges provided an enabling environment for spending quality weekend time for Kisumu residents and their family members. The entertainment and cool environment that is Kisumu Beach Resort was worth the hustle to attend the event. Even more, the event offered a platform for the local upcoming artists to try and horn their talents.

Music fans at the Madaraka Festival 2019

While attendees and other guests may have different opinions on their experience during the Madaraka Festival 2019, local upcoming artists within and around Kisumu got a shot at what it is like to give yourself not only to art but also to the audience during a performance.

Madaraka Festival 2019
Kids were also not left behind at the Madaraka Festival 2019. This was a family-friendly event.
Madaraka Festival 2019
Fans at the festival

Musa Jakadala closed the performance after the invigorating performance by Khaligraph Jones.

Madaraka Festival 2019
Musa Jakadala on stage

The highlight of the day for me was when a street urchin did a Michael Jackson breakdance with a P-Square song.

Madaraka Festival 2019
Elijah making his dance moves, he kept crowds cheering for him…

He stole the entire audience with his move. Even more, he stole my heart with his consistency because it was not his first time performing at an event in Kisumu. I hope One Vibe Africa recognizes his talent and give him a platform to help him nurture it.

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