Mombasa is plagued with a glaring high rate of youth unemployment. There have been a number of measures in the past designed towards reducing this, or at least occupying the youth’s time so as to keep them from engaging in crime and drug use. The county government of Mombasa through the ministry of youth and gender services organised a youth day sometime back to celebrate talents and engage Mombasa youth. There have been mixed feelings regarding the show which took place at the Mama Ngina Drive.
Dan Showbiz, an artist and activist thinks the upcoming artists, for whom the event was supposed to be, did not get their due time.
“At some point, it became about the big names only. The event was meant to be a platform for untapped talent. What happened then was that these young people were sidelined and more established acts than budding artistes graced the stage. That is a shame.”
It was not all bad though. Kaa La Moto a popular Mombasa artiste who also performed, thinks the event was a great idea.
“I’d like to applaud the county government for their efforts. The Secretary for youth and gender services especially, Mr Abbas. He has shown what a capable leader he is. The youth got a platform to showcase their talent, and some friends the performers actually got paid. That is great.”
Most of the youth we talked to were of the opinion that there should be more events such as these.
Mr. Abbas, the County Executive for youth and sports says,
“The government is dedicated to promoting local talents and Youth activities. We will continue doing that.”
However, many feel that the ministry should capture the bigger picture of sustainability and youth empowerment. This is to ensure that the youth have something tangible to take home for their talents besides a stage performance. Such an event should not be an end in itself but the beginning of a talent nurturing experience.
Linking the youth with mentors such as well recognized producers, established artists would take Mombasa’s
talented youth to the national level. In addition the Ministry can arrange for top talents to be exposed further by investing in their personal development through workshops and training in matters such as personal branding, communications, entrepreneurship and intellectual property.
In all, most people feel that the event is a good first step but needs to have a long term view so that it can become a youth talent mentorship programme. The events should be also listed in the annual county calendar so that everyone knows at the beginning of the year what what to expect. The county through such a programme invests in the most deserving youth who can later on also contribute by mentoring others thus creating a sustainable system.