St. Elizabeth Primary School from Nairobi gave their rivals a thorough cleaning to emerge the winners of the hotly contested hand-washing category.
Their song ‘Ziba Ufa’ was not only entertaining but also educative on the benefits to be derived from washing hands properly.
They urged Kenyans not to take hand-washing for granted, emphasising that it is the best way to avoid contracting life-threatening diseases such as diarrhoea, amoeba, eye infections, among others.
“Kuziba kuzuri kuliko kujenga ukuta (A stitch in time saves nine),” they sung.
The category, which was sponsored by Unilever’s Lifebuoy, included Vohovole Primary School, Chilulu Primary, St Lwanga Njoro, Crossroads Primary Mombasa, St Peter’s Boys and Saba Saba Primary from Murang’a.
In another category where teams composed songs aimed at promoting local tourism, Lugala Primary School from Western showed they had what it takes to save the elephants from the dreaded ivory trade in their piece ‘Fahari Yetu’ (our pride) composed by Basil Muyonga.
They beat their arch-rivals Itumbu Primary, Mavavani Primary and Shimo La Tewa Schools.
Lugala’s song opened beautifully with fast-paced beats of the African drum, symbolising Kenya’s identity and natural heritage.
The song enumerated the many benefits that Kenya and the world accrue from conservation of wildlife. This category was sponsored by the Kenya Tourist Board.
Lugala also went ahead to beat St Elizabeth and win the ‘Wings to Fly’ music category, which was sponsored by Equity Bank.
On a day that looked bright for this Western Kenya school, they sang in support of bright Kenyan students who are in dire straits and cannot pay their school fess.
In the song, they explore the plight of a girl who is orphaned but very talented in school. Although she does not have funds to proceed to high school, a good Samaritan comes along and pays her fees, changing her life for the better.
Earlier, the audience was entertained by beautiful renditions of African folk songs from Maasai, Samburu, Njemps, Rendile and Taveta.
Ole Sankale Primary form Nakuru was graceful with their Moran song in praise of wildlife.
Their song employed a unique technique where they blended female and male voices in an overlapping fashion.
Ilkeekonyokie Primary from Narok came in with a song to celebrate a successful cultural ceremony. A horn was used to give the effect of an elephant trumpeting against the backdrop of lions roaring in the open Savannah grasslands.
Musicologist Nicholas Ole Moipei observed that standards had improved greatly among schools from the Maa region.
St Benedicts Primary School from Kisumu and Sacred Heart Primary from Mombasa were also in a class of their own – that of participating in a culture foreign to their own and aptly fitting the theme of enhancing unity and diversity through this festival, now in its 87th year.
Maasai elder Jackson Koisada, was pleased by the fact that the young ones had been given an opportunity to showcase what they know about their cultures.
But Susan Ntiaput, 55, was not amused by what she called “dilution of what I used to do when I was younger.”
The day also saw teams perform verses sponsored by the anti-drugs agency Nacada, among them Esibale Primary from Bungoma, St Sinai Academy and Peleleza Primary from Mombasa, Bishop Njuguna from the Aberdares and Winners Spring Boarding Academy from Busia.
Akiba Primary School from Kangemi, Nairobi gave a paradoxical presentation on the new laptop project in schools. In their verse, ‘Tarakilishi’, Class One beneficiaries had a hard time as their envious older schoolmates were unhappy for not getting the computers.
“Watoto wadogo wanataka, ilhali watoto wakubwa wanataka,” (The older ones want (the computers) as much as the younger ones).
By GEORGE ORIDO, The Standard