Sun ‘N’ Sand Demolition; A step in the right direction?

Club Sun ‘N’ Sand Kikambala, Ever been?

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To some it is etched in their cherished memories as where they got to exchange their vows on that beautiful wedding day, others spend somewhat part of their lives providing service to numerous guests, and generally to many, this is the place associated with a well deserved and out of this world holiday vacation. Well whatever memory or experience it has offered you at any point, Club Sun ‘N’ Sand now remains but a construction site for the new Sh15 billion Ocean Seven apartments. Yes, the five-star beach resort with a capacity of 600 is to be demolished…shame.

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The new construction is said to be as a result of the rising appetite for luxurious apartments;  the proposed apartments will consist of two commercial blocks and five residential to be sold to investors. Aside from having 325 condominiums in 17, 19, and 25 storey towers, the 17-acre hotel plot shall feature an exercise park, flora and fauna, as well as a Biogas plant for recycling garbage.

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Upon completion, locals are said to be given priority in employment with the expectation of 10,000 opportunities directly and indirectly. Kilifi governor, Amason Kingi stated that the county would abide by the 70 per cent local workforce and 30 per cent outsiders employment rule. So far, about 50 percent of the units have been sold to Kenyans.

Kenya Boys Choir; Making History, one musical note at a time.

“The floor vibrated under their feet. The room filled with their smiles, their joy, their banter back and forth — noises, sounds, movements, Joyous, Powerful,  Alive.” -Burlington Free Press

Their Melodious voices will make you forget just about any concerns and worries of everyday life. Just sitting there listening to the Kenya Boy’s choir draws you into another world a musical note at a time. Consisting of 25 boys aged between 13 and 24, the group is an assortment of individuals from different Kenyan backgrounds and tribes brought together by their sole love for song and clear ambition to enhance their raw musical talent. Having started in 1998, the aim of the choir was to help raise money for school fees so as to assist boys from underprivileged backgrounds; Founder and Artistic director being Joseph Muyale Inzai – a former school choir coach, having worked with many schools including Aquinas boys with whom he started the Kenya Boy’s Choir project.

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Kenya Boys Choir initially started off with Traditional Maasai and Samburu chants and embraced contemporary African as well European classical pieces along the way. The choir has since then made numerous trips to the US where they have attracted a myriad of following. The boys’ emotive performances has seen them grace many national/international celebratory as well as corporate stages but it was 2009 that saw them accorded the highest recognition with the receipt of an invitation from the American Government to attend the inaugural celebrations of the then U.S elect president Barack Obama.

It was with this performance as well as international media coverage that saw their signage into Universal Music Group. It appears that the music company was so impressed with their work, so much so that they could not see them leave the country without signing them. The Kenya Boy’s choir signed a contract with the label at Heathrow Airport, London in the departure lounge as they awaited their connecting flight…mother luck was on a high!

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Since then Kenya Boy’s Choir has achieved great success as the first ever African Choir to appear at the famed Beijing International Music Festival with a sold out concert.They have also had the pleasure of touring the UK on a series of concerts;Britain, Wales, Ireland and Scotland where they fascinated their audience with their cultural performances.

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Take a listen to some of their most outstanding works thus far…

Kenya Boys’ Choir… Making Kenya proud as they live out their dream.

For more information on the Kenya Boy’s Choir: thekenyanboyschoir.org

 

 

Rhino Charge 2013

Having gained immense popularity overtime, and  ranking as one of Kenya’s top highlights in the social and entertainment calendar, Rhino Charge is clearly no longer solely a preserve for the motorsport fraternity. The event currently has over two decades of physical endurance testing, extreme driving skills showcasing, tough challenging experiences, as well as lots of excitement under its belt. Rhino charge is not for the faint at heart!

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The three day event, organized by The Rhino Ark Charitable Trust, is held to raise funds for a very noble cause – conservation of Kenya’s Aberdare, Mau, Mt. Eburu, and Mt. Kenya  Ecosystems. Individuals set to compete are required to raise the minimum sponsorship set by the organizing committee.

Rhino Charge competitors are required to visit 13 points scattered over approximately 100 square kms of rough terrain within a 10 hour period. The location of the event is kept secret until the start off which makes it even more challenging for the competitors as they are not accustomed to the terrain. Competitors are supplied with a 1:50,000 scale map of the venue, co-ordinates of the 13 Control Points and their Start position (at one of the Controls). Each competitor must plot the Control Points on the map and decide his/her route. Navigation is by compass/GPS and the winner is the competitor who visits all controls in the shortest distance (GPS measured).

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For those not taking part in the exciting challenge, this is the time to have fun camping in the wilderness, mingling with friends, not  forgetting cheering on the contestants as they tough it out.

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Day                       Time                    Activity

May 31 (Fri)           8.30 am             Rhino charge scrutineering

June 1 (sat)            7.30 am              Rhino charge event

June 2 (sun)         10.00am              Rhino charge prize giving

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What to carry:

  •  A digital camera, its charger and a downloading cable.
  •   While Camping… you need to carry warm clothing for the night ,Slippers, Torch, Soap, Tooth Paste, Tissue Paper,  snacks and ID card
  •   Pocket money for departure days, en-route lunch, park fees, drinks, tips.

Pikolinos Maasai Campaign 2013

Meet William Kikanae Ole Pere; the Maasai elder whom thanks to his tireless endeavor in search of a better and quality life for his tribe, saw the creation of the  “Maasai Project“.

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The project which was successfully launched in 2008 saw the coming together of Pikolinos, the Spanish footwear brand & non-profit company and Alternative Trade & Microcredits (ADCAM). William initiated the idea of collaborating the Eco-friendly and socially responsible companies to create a footwear line that earns profits to further women’s development and additional projects in the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

ESTRADA FOOTWEAR - Spring/Summer 2013 campaign

The Maasai Project seeks to supply the Maasai people with  resources and tools  needed to better both their educational and medical needs as well as help in preserving their endangered culture. All the embroidery featured in the campaign footwear is hand sewn by the Maasai women showcasing their intricate designs and natural artistic talents; this has seen about 1,600 women gain employment.

The embroidered leather pieces – brought to Kenya to be worked on by the Maasai women – are flown back to Spain where the processing of the complete product is done. Proceeds are then distributed to the Maasai tribe.

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Olivia Palermo; model, fashion consultant and this year’s Maasai Project Brand Ambassador, got to experience first hand, the life and challenges  of the Maasai people during her tour to Maasai land in pursuit of getting to know the process of embroidery work as well as shoot the Summer 2013 campaign for Pikolinos.

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In her own description of the amazing work produced by the collaboration,

“Fashion and development, cooperation and fashion, fashion and Free Trade – this combination is possible.”

“Thanks, Pikolinos, because indeed another world is possible.”

Olivia Palermo’s look book on her work and experience during her project trip to Kenya…

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olivia-palermo-william-kikanae-pikolinosWilliam Kikanae and Olivia Palermo

Brand Maasai: Why nomads might trademark their name

Imagine a Maasai warrior, or a Maasai woman adorned with beads – it’s one of the most powerful images of tribal Africa. Dozens of companies use it to sell products – but Maasai elders are now considering seeking protection for their ” brand”.

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Dressed in smart white checked shirt and grey sweater, you’d hardly know Isaac ole Tialolo is Maasai.The large round holes in his ears – where his jewellery sometimes sits – might be a clue, though.

Isaac is a Maasai leader and elder. Back home in the mountains near Naivasha, in southern Kenya, he lives a semi-nomadic life, herding sheep, goats, and – mostly importantly – cattle.

But Isaac is also chair of a new organisation, the Maasai Intellectual Property Initiative, and it’s a project that’s beginning to take him around the world – including, most recently, London.

“We all know that we have been exploited by people who just come around, take our pictures and benefit from it,” he says.

“We have been exploited by so many things you cannot imagine.”

Crunch time for Isaac came about 20 years ago, when a tourist took a photo of him, without asking permission – something the Maasai, are particularly sensitive about.

“We believed that if somebody takes your photograph, he has already taken your blood,” he explains.

Isaac was so furious that he smashed the tourist’s camera.

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Twenty years later, he is mild-mannered and impeccably turned out – but equally passionate about what he sees as the use, and abuse, of his culture.

“I think people need to understand the culture of the others and respect it,” he says.

“You should not use it to your own benefit, leaving the community – or the owner of the culture – without anything.”

“If you just take what belongs to somebody, and go and display it and have your fortune, then it is very wrong. It is very wrong,” he says.

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Olivia_Palermo_Maasai_Project_Campaign_010Olivia Palermo ambassador of the Maasai Project 2013 for Pikolinos
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According to Light Years IP – an NGO which specialises in securing intellectual property rights in developing countries – about 80 companies around the world are currently using either the Maasai image or name.

These include Land Rover, which has a range of accessories called Masai; Masai Barefoot Technology, which makes speciality trainers; and high-end fashion house Louis Vuitton which has a Masai line, including beach towels, hats, scarves and duffle bags.

Light Years IP is involved in a niche – but growing – area of development policy, known as “intellectual property value capture”.

The argument is that intellectual property rules offer the potential to provide a valuable source of income for people in developing countries, who tend to get only a small sliver of the profits made on their goods on the international market.

If the Maasai ” brand” were owned by a corporation, it would be worth more than $10m (£6.6m) a year – perhaps even “tens of millions”, according to Layton. How much of this the Maasai might be able to claim would be up to negotiation.

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MAASAI5-655x430Features of the HIGHLY ENDANGERED: THE MAASAI awareness campaign.

“It’s time the world sat up and took notice,” says Lord Boateng, a member of the UK’s House of Lords, whose grandfather was a cocoa farmer in Ghana. “It’s an idea whose time has come.”

Boateng is on the board of directors of the newly-created African IP Trust, which has taken on the Maasai as one of its first cases.

“They are not getting value. Their image is being abused,” says Boateng.

“The Maasai are an ancient and sophisticated people – they know they are being ripped off and they want this to stop.”

It is not yet certain that the Maasai will choose to pursue intellectual property protection – Maasai elders like Isaac ole Tialolo want to be sure that the whole community is on board first.

Together with Light Years IP, he has been travelling around Maasai areas holding meetings and workshops.

It’s a huge task – according to some estimates, there could be as many as three million Maasai, in 12 districts, spread across a vast swathe of Kenya and Tanzania.

So far, they have reached about 1.2 million people.

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Once the consultation is complete – and if the Maasai choose to go forward – the plan is to create a General Assembly of Maasai elders, trained in IP, who would act as a legal body specifically on this issue, negotiating with companies via a licensing agent, on a case-by-case basis.

For the moment, the Maasai are not going after any companies – though they have written to a number, in cases where they have found the use of their name or image to be particularly offensive.

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Conference Tourism; A booster for Kenya’s ranking

The Tourism sector receives some good news as Kenya gets ranked second as a Conference and meetings destination in Africa by The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). Kenya’s ranking shoots up from its previous third position and comes second after south Africa. It also falls on the 58th position globally in the ‘Country& City rankings 2012’ unfortunately slipping two positions.

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Tourism permanent secretary Ruth Solitei stated that the performance demonstrates how conference tourism in Kenya is growing and further addressed the need for more convention and conference facilities of international standards in the country.

In city rankings, Nairobi was positioned second after Cape Town having hosted 22 international meetings while the latter hosted 38. Mombasa and Naivasha tied at position 34 with Naivasha making a remarkable first time entry in the rankings. It has been regarded as an  emerging city destination. Last year, Kenya hosted 29 international association conferences and Nairobi emerged 100th best city destination, up four places from the position it held in 2011.

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USA topped the list globally after hosting 833 conferences with Germany in second position followed by Spain having hosted 649 and 550 conferences respectively.

Governor Joho in Clean up exercise

In a clean up initiative dubbed Mji Wetu Wajibu Wetu, Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho led amongst others; students, local music artists, the US navy, companies, politicians and other residents in an effort to bringing out a new image to Mombasa county. The exercise launched on the 18th of may, targeted  areas known to be a menace in terms of garbage accumulation; Kongowea Market, Mwembe Tayari, Marikiti (Mackinon), Majengo and other parts of the CBD.

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This initiative which is sponsored by the private sector is clearly a step in the right direction although eliciting  mixed reactions; some locals have applauded the efforts while others are still reserved about it stating that cleaning the town once a month will bring no clear change. Earlier on, hoteliers and some businessmen had gone to court accusing the Mombasa Council of not collecting garbage.

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The exercise is aimed at making Mombasa one of the cleanest in East Africa as well as attracting more tourists in a better, cleaner environment. It has since been declared a monthly exercise.

Borana Tribe

The Borana tribe originally hails from Southern Ethiopia with their language “borana” falling under a broader Oromo grouping; originally of an Eastern Cushite family of the Afro-Asiatic language.The Borana people shifted from Ethiopia into the South and Northern areas of Kenya in the early years of the 16th century and are currently residents of  Isiolo, Tana River, Garissa, Moyale, and Marsabit Districts.

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The Borana are nomadic people who deal with harsh weather conditions; dry and hot with irregular torrential rain, and are often forced to migrate in search of greener pasture for their animals. These people depend on milk and its products e.g yoghurt for survival and will seldom slaughter their animals for meat as livestock is extremely valuable to them. Milk supplemented by corn bread is their staple food.

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Not only do the Borana keep their herds for food, but also as major resource of wealth, and are applied to payment of bride price as well as legal fines. The animals are also believed to have strong linkage to their belief systems and are vital for sacrifices and rituals to guarantee fertility, health, and assistance from spirits. Animals  reared include; Cows,  goats, sheep and at times camels.

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Polygamy is rife among the Borana and therefore a majority of the men have at least two wives; or even more. Family relations are closely knit; and children are very important, therefore fathers are caring to their small children. The Borana strictly practice segregation of duties between the men and women. Men take care of herds whereas the women stay home taking care of the children and partaking in day-to-day chores.

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In essence, the Borana women play a major role in the community having to; build houses, usually portable traditional round grass huts called the dasse, do tea ceremonies during the opening ceremony of the new houses and they also have the responsibility of  relocating the villages from place to place by camel or sometimes donkey.

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The Borana cultural dress code is made up of a shawl or light blanket type over-wrap. Women wear scarf head coverings while men often wear a “prayer beanie” cap or a turban.

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The Borana people are very artistic and produce beautiful cultural things that can be gotten as souvenirs; from beaded leather jackets to prettily designed jewelry. 

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