Showing posts with label Creative Entrepreneurship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Creative Entrepreneurship. Show all posts

On The First Ongala Music Festival Heaven Shed Tears Of Joy.

Dr. Remmy Ongala was undeniably a Tanzanian music icon. He was a well-known musician in East Africa since the 80s and was deeply mourned when he passed on in 2010. It is said that when he passed on, his bongo beat music was played on Tanzanian radio stations nonstop. He was so popular that an area of his home district in Dar es Salaam was named after him.

It, therefore, came naturally for his daughter Aziza Ongala to want to do something for her Dad. In an interview, she had at an online radio show called Underground pride , Aziza said organizing the festival is something she felt she had to do.

Early this year she decided this would be the year to commemorate her father. So she set everything else aside to focus on curating the festival. And I think I speak for most when I say she did an awesome job.

The Main Stage

Ongala Music Festival was a 3-day music affair. It was held in Kigamboni, Dar es Salaam at Malaika Beach Club from the 23rd to the 25th of August. Twenty of us traveled from Nairobi to Dar es Salaam in Dar Lux, a bus company which also happened to be a sponsor of the festival. They had such impeccable customer service, super comfortable seats and an awesome movie collection to keep us entertained during the 16 hour trip.

It was a surreal experience to travel with some of the Kenyan artists that were scheduled to perform at the first Ongala Music Festival. Other than the good vibes they emitted during the conversations, we also got serenaded by some smooth guitar tunes and improvised songs.

Staying at Malaika beach club meant we had access to the beach anytime we wanted. So while the rest of us enjoyed the warmth of the morning sun while in the tents and lengthened our sleep, some of our friends went out jogging on the beach.

On the first night preceding the main event, we had DJs and a few Afro-Fusion artists play music on a mini 'Nyumbani' stage next to a bonfire. One of the DJs only played old school reggae music on vinyl and we were so thrilled that we started dancing under the stars. People took turns to rekindle the fire everytime it tried to die down. We threw dried palm tree leaves into the fire in turns like we had a schedule or something.

The Mini 'Nyumbani' Stage

Our tents were pitched a stone throw away so circumstances forced us in on the fun. But who is complaining? Unless you were a log, I don't see how you could sleep with all that feel-good music playing in the background. No wonder we stayed up till around 4 a.m most nights. It mostly depended on when the DJ would say enough is enough.

On the second night of the festival, it rained. This was something no one had expected so it threw many off balance. My theory is this: Remmy must have been moved to tears by what Aziza, his family, and friends had organized in his memory. Therefore, the Tanzanian skies joined Remmy in solidarity.

Due to those showers of blessing, the show ended early. The next day, the East African artists performed with an extra oomph. No one was taking anything for granted, neither the artists nor the audience. We were more than grateful for the clear skies and for the opportunity to be part of the first-ever Ongala Music Festival.

Papillon on stage

Goosebumps would run up and down my body when different artists went on stage. From Fadhilee to Mandela and then from Papillon to Swahili Ally just to mention a few. It was electric performance after electric performance. Occasionally, some of the audience members would get touched and jump on stage to cheer the artists on by dancing on stage. One even went up to help Fadhilee wave a flag in solidarity with Bobi Wine, a Ugandan musician, and politician who was arrested in his country.

I got to attend a couple of workshops at the festival too. The first workshop I attended was on music management facilitated by Liberian born Raphael Benza. It was eye opening and shed light on how artist management works and how people like me who are interested in helping artists boost their online platform can join the team of the many people behind artists' success.

As my first time in Dar es Salaam, Ongala Music Festival was a wholesome experience. Other than it being a chance to enjoy rich East African music, you also got a chance to be on vacation, learn about music and new cultures, make new friends, have fun and be happy. Just like Remmy Ongala would have wanted.

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How to Easily Start Your Fun New IGTV Channel

A few months ago, a local village in the awesome Kenyan movie Supa Modo created an action film to raise the spirits of a lovely young girl who was terminally ill and living her last days. Just like these very unlikely film creators, I think very soon we will all be video creators. And now with the simplicity and the intimacy that comes with watching a vertical video on your phone through IG stories and IGTV I am more encouraged to continue thinking so.

I mean if a picture is worth a thousand words then a video should be worth hundreds of thousands if not more.

I am writing this because one of my readers asked me to, after reading my previous article on some

interesting facts you should know about IGTV. 

I am slowly falling in love with the platform and have even made a few videos on my personal IG page to prove it.

Welcome to My Channel 🙂

It is ridiculously easy to create an IGTV Channel. And if you already have an Instagram account then you are just a few steps away.

Step 1: Ensure that you have updated you Instagram app and can see the IGTV icon at the top bar.

Step 2: Open the IGTV icon or app, click on the settings icon on the right hand side of the screen and select Create Channel.

Step 3: When you select Create Channel you will be welcomed with the screen below. Click next and follow the prompts.

Step 4: On the final slide after clicking next a couple of times, click on Create Channel and you are done!

Notice below that the settings icon is now replaced with your pages icon.

Once you click on the icon with your profile picture on it, you can upload a video from your camera roll using the plus button.

Like I said, it is quite easy to start your channel and become a video creator too. In the next blogpost I will be sharing some tips on great phone apps you can use to add music and text graphics to make your IGTV channel a lot more spicier. Please note this is what I have experienced and researched so far. The possibilities are endless on how IGTV is bound to evolve. Until next time let's keep exploring with IGTV.
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Experiencing The Synergy Of Sama Eden


The soothing music draws you in. The place looks really different from the last time you were here. It feels like it was just the other day, but it's not. India happened and it's 4 months later.

That's The Alchemist bar for you.  You wonder if you are the only one who asks yourself if its name was inspired by Paulo Coelho's book. Also, you think of how you really need to reread his book - it was an ocean of wisdom.
 It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon, around 1 p.m and the place is buzzing with activity. You meet Sarah at the entrance. Her warm hug welcomes you in. You are already soaking in all the awesomeness that the merging of the two brands, Sama Paints and the Eden Yard, have manifested.

The vendors are all set, some are talking to curious art enthusiasts. The rest of the crowd is just chilling, jamming to the awesome music that drew you in just a while ago. The vibe in this place is so good.
I mean, but what do you expect with such music and dope vendors like Zero By Zawadi who have yoga inspired merchandise right there for you to marvel at.

Photo credit: Zero by Zawadi

You fall in love with Zawadi's Sayaris; they are the African version of harem pants, that can also be worn as jumpsuits. And what's even doper, they are unisex! 

You try on 2 purple ones thanks to Faith a former classmate in a Creative Entrepreneurship class you attended last year. She works with Zawadi now.

Zawadi, also has some lovely yoga mat holders. You itch to ask the question, why yoga? And when you finally yield to the urge, she tells you that yoga and meditation have had a huge impact in her life. You don't wanna probe, even though that statement leaves you even more curious.  
You meet Edmond and he mentions that you look familiar. He is a vendor too and he is there with Santana Monda, the owner of House of Sahara. They have lovely furniture but you fall in love with this cutie; she's perfect for your bedroom.  You hope your pesky siblings will finally read and obey.

After a couple of minutes, you remember where you met Edmond. He was the youngest vendor at the Art In The Wild event at Kenya Wildlife Service Headquarters 2 years ago.

You catch up and find out some really interesting stuff about him. Stuff like his decision to stop watching telly and how consequently his photographic memory has improved so much that he can draw a friend from memory. You pick his contacts and promise to keep in touch. His story should one day feature here.

Artfordable Kenya

Speaking of stories you meet these really passionate guys. They strive to make beautiful art affordable, thus the name of their brand. Teddy Ngando from Artfordable Kenya is keen on explaining to you how they create their intricate prints out of wood cuttings.

What fascinates you the most out of their story, is that they get their raw material for free from local workshops. They basically upcycle waste MDF(Medium Density Fibreboard) pieces by engraving the designs they want on them, applying ink on them and finally transferring the print on to paper. Clearly, anything is possible under the sun.

Fun Games 

At around 2.30pm, people start playing board games. You join in on the fun and learn a couple of new games - only you forget to ask what the games are called. While playing, you meet this little girl who is so full of life. She joins you and your female friend and you both have a blast watching her say she won every time.

You like how free her guardian seems, she too has a playful spirit. She hula hoops a couple of times next to the person singing at the stage, and she calls your little friend to join her.


You meet Max from the rock band Rash and exchange pleasantries. You were in campus together. He too is asked to go and play the guitar for a bit. Muthoni the Drummer Queen is also in the house. She is just here to chill. Later during the day, you spot her playing with one of the vendors' kid. So sweet.

More people are encouraged to go and sing on the stage. Anyone can go and at some point Edmond answers the call. You like how comfortable  he looks on stage. Talk about being grounded.

Grounded by Bree

Other than helping, you feel grounded and one with mother nature via the plants in her beautifully designed pots. Bree also contributes to the environment by recycling those big old plastic soda bottles and using cement to come up with the creamish-white flower pots you can see above. Here's to staying ever present to our connection to mother nature.

Thank you for staying present with me this long. I hope you've felt the richness of what was The Sama Eden January edition 2018. Lots more things went down and this is only a sample of the whole experience. More opportunities are coming up for you to experience all this awesomeness in person. I sure hope to see you there next time.

Until then,

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Meet Wanja: Learn How Her Simple Artistic Idea Won 100 Grand

She and I have lived in the same neighborhood and known each other since we were kids, yet for some reason I never knew she could draw until recently. See I was scrolling through my facebook feed and that's when I saw it...

It, was a picture of Wanja receiving a 100 grand dummy cheque from a mentor at the BLAZE Summit Eldoret edition. I was as surprised as I was happy for her.
In the interview below Wanja tells us about her journey as an artist which started more than a decade ago. The reasons why she took a couple of breaks in between, how she met some influential people thanks to her craft and the icing on the cake what idea won her 100 grand.

Meet Wanja Wa Wangeci and let's dive into her artistic world for a bit, shall we? Happy swimming 🏊. 

WAI stands for Wendi Art IT.

WAI: When did you discover you have artistic talent?

Wanja: In 2004 when I was in class 4, you get these maps that you are told to draw ... Yeah, I used to draw them so well that my friends would make me draw for them. That's when I realized, I was the artist in the class. It all started from there, then I started drawing cartoons.

WAI: That was Primary school did you move on to study art?

Wanja: No no, in fact I actually stopped drawing at some point, because I thought of it as just a hobby, something you do for fun. So I started again in 2016, when I joined an art school at Kasarani. I learnt about the school via facebook and since I was still in Eldoret, I joined the art school properly early this year when I was in for my holidays. I'm in my final year studying entrepreneurship at Moi University

WAI: What type of art do you like creating?

Wanja: I like drawing cartoons and creating charcoal and pencil art pieces. I do portraits too it's a way I use to maintain myself in campus. I draw for people and sell.

WAI: How do you market your artwork?

Wanja: I use facebook a lot and when I'm in a gathering where my friends are, I introduce myself as an artist. At school I subsidize the prices and the students are my main customers. They order, then come and buy from me and life moves on.

Continue Reading

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The Incredible Events That Led To My All Expense Paid Trip To India.

It all started like a joke; I mean the idea of an all expense paid trip to incredible India. And not for a few days or a week, but 3 months. It sounded too good to be true.

"Wendi, I bet you are applying," a friend teased on our way home from the digital marketing training we were doing by Kuza Biashara. I nodded and smiled.

I had decided that if I was going to go through with this application, then the least I could do was stay positive. That meant belittling the little voice in my head that whispered doubtful thoughts to my mind.After a couple of internal debates and consultation with family and friends, I applied around May this year. 

Immediately after the digital marketing training, I got a day internship at Securex Agencies ltd. And  in the evenings, I would go for free creative entrepreneurship classes courtesy of the Go Downs Art Center.

With all these things to do, I totally forgot about the application. So it came as a pleasant surprise when I received an email towards the end of my creative entrepreneurship classes informing me that I had been shortlisted for the position.

The position was on digital marketing and the interview was scheduled on the same day as the graduation, at 1p.m.My graduation presentation ended a few minutes past 1pm, and I further delayed a bit to watch Sarah of Sama Paints make her presentation. So I ended up a little late for the interview

The graduation took place at the Crowne Plaza in Upper Hill and before it started, I had gone to talk to the guy in charge of booking rooms to ask if I could get an empty room later during the day to do a Skype call in.

The guy I met was very pleasant and although he left early for the day, he made arrangements with the person who took over after him so that I got a room. It was 1.30p.m. when finally I settled down for the interview.

There were around 5 people on the panel from Nairobi, Kenya, Chennai, India and Geneva, Switzerland. My current supervisor in India who was the main interviewer, noticed how tense I looked and asked me to breathe and relax.

I apologized about the delay and mentioned that I was just about to graduate seeing that I was yet to receive my certificate and I had left some of my classmates giving their presentations.

The interview went pretty well and weeks later when I was just about to finish my digital marketing internship at Securex Agencies, I received an email letting me know that I passed the interviews. 

Soon afterwards, I started receiving emails from International Trade Center, the sponsors of the initiative dubbed SITA (Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa) regarding my travel preparation. What seemed like a really big dream ended up to be an experience that is currently shaping my career path as I write this, in ways I never foresaw. 

A year ago I shared how my interest in digital marketing started , and I am encouraged by the comments that keep streaming in a year and some months later. 

See, a dot may seem insignificant  on its own until you add a few more next to it and voila! I am a pointillism (dotted artwork) artist and I have an intimate relationship with dots.These dots are very silent at times and thus they are used to going unnoticed; yet without them something will be incomplete. Pay attention to the dots in your life, the precious moments that turn your life around, don't let any doubtful thoughts come in the way between you and your next dot.

"You cannot connect the dots by looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future." Steve Jobs.

It has been a while since my last post, which has been a period of my life that will  remain engraved on my mind as part of my many dots. I am back though so stay tuned for some crazy experiences and beautiful artwork from India among many things. Until next time.

Wendi Mutisya
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Meet Sarah Ntiro of Sama Paints

Soni Sama

I met Sarah a while back last year and you'd never guess where. I still remember how silly I felt after answering some of her questions. A feeling I believe most of us get during or after a job interview. 

Yet strangely I still felt comfortable. It was the first interview I had gone to that I got tea offered to me. I am not much of a tea person, but I never forgot that kind gesture.

Sarah is a Visual Artist with a background in Human Resource. She worked in a digital marketing agency when we first met. We would later meet again this year at the Go Downs Art Center.

We are both enrolled for the creative entrepreneurship training I mentioned in my previous post.

With Sarah's permission I got to experience being on the other side of an interview, and I must say it was an intriguing couple of minutes, that swiftly turned into hours.

WAI: When did you start your journey as an artist?

SP: I have always been in the arts since I was a kid. In school, I used to do art projects on my own, I would also sing and tell stories. 

Sama Paints

WAI: So did you go to art school as a kid?

SP: No I did not. I went to normal schools that did not give the arts a back seat, it was important to go to science class as it was important to go to art class. We even had double lesson art class in every school that I went to.

WAI: What about campus, did you study art in campus too?

SP: No I studied Human Resource. My Dad told me I needed to have a practical degree to fall back on in case things did not work out when I venture into the arts

FUN FACT: Sarah comes from a family of artists her grandfather Sam Ntiro was a Fine Artist and an Art Professor in what used to be the University of East Africa.

Her Dad used to play the flute in a band and doubled playing the sax. Her Mum on the other hand loves re-purposing things in the house and right now she does landscaping.

WAI: What was the role of your parents?Do you think if  they were not artistic you would still be doing what your doing?

SP:  If I was still who I am. Yeah! cause my Mum would prefer it if I had a stable job with a stable income.  This is a personal choice I made and I would still have made regardless of the situation.

WAI: How did the shift come about from HR to entrepreneurship?

SP:  Okay umm...It's not as simple as that, because when I was in university I had business. Like I was working cause I was getting tired of asking people for money.

I got fed up and I like being independent. So I started making jewellery and actually initially I did not start making the jewellery because of money. I started making them cause I could not find things that I wanted to wear.

Jewellery at the time was like a Kenyan uniform, you could not be unique and you know being an artist there's this inherent need to be different somehow.

So that's how it started then I did that all through till I finished campus. It actually diversified from only jewellery. I would do jewellery and food. I used to sell pizzas and burgers  to students.

WAI: Aaah nice, was this inspired by your mother's cooking?

SP: Need... it was just need and I was good at it I used to do it for my friends and family all the time. They used to beg me to make them burgers and so my friends asked me why not use it to help me make money. It was not something I pursued a lot to be my source of income. I would only do it when I get an order.

Then when I finished school and started doing an internship I stopped doing business for a bit. On October of 2015 I was dating someone who was on the board of an Art's Organization and they needed to make a donation, as a board member. So they convinced me to paint something for them to donate and that is how Sama Paints began.

Sama Paints

I did not expect the painting to go for that much and it went for like  4 G's. From then on people would tell me they liked that painting and ask if I could do something for them.

It started like a serious joke. I was always talking about how I wanted to go back to painting. So when I was asked to do the painting for the donation, it was a very smart way of cornering me to do what I needed to do. Since then I have been painting,  I diversified into shoes last year and into the bags last month .

WAI: Oh last month! so recently and they are so good

SP:  Thank you. It was an idea for 3 months or so and I was very afraid of doing it until this class. It made me realize you will not know if it is a failure until you try.

WAI: Alright and how has your transition been from working and earning a salary to being an entrepreneur.

SP: Terrible, debt is real. Financially you need to be prepared which I was, but I was not this prepared. I wish I had done more planning and forecasted better, but I do not regret it.

When I was still working for the whole of 2016 it was possible for me to pay my rent or like a portion of my rent from my artwork. Actually even possibly all of it, from it. I just wish I had done better planning like save more than I did, cause I had saved enough for like 3 months.

I hoped in 3 months things would have turned around. I did not consider that there is currently hoarding of money, cause people are trying to prepare for a situation if anything drastic happens during this years elections.

WAI: Apart from visual arts is there another form of art you are passionate about?

SP: I don't practice any others, I used to write poetry but I have never been serious about it. I know I can but it is not a need for me.

The one that I am battling with is music. I feel like I can do it but I don't want it to be my life. I have passion for music but I feel I will make bigger change in the art community through visual arts than performing arts.

Does that make sense? basically I know where my strengths lie. I do not think that I have the drive to be consistent in the music industry because it is not my main passion.

Wendi Art IT

It was a pleasure talking to Sarah and getting a glimpse into her artistic world. There's a lot more about her that we could not possibly exhaust in one interview. For instance her interest in going back to what she learnt in school through Artist Talent Management.

She is basically going to be using her degree in an unconventional way, but that's a story for another day. If you would like to have a chat with her or even buy one of her beautiful pieces, you can do so through her social as listed below. You can also find her on Jumia Market and on Ndutahs Gifts. Until next time au revoir!

Facebook: Sama Paints

Instagram: samapaints

AA(Auspicious Art)
Wendi Mutisya.

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