Sarakasi at 22

Mother Nature: A celebration of Sarakasi Trust at 22 years!

The 15th of September marked 22 years since the establishment of Sarakasi Trust, celebrated by means of a colorful event dubbed “Mother Nature”.  “Mother Nature” combined elements of circus, dance and visual storytelling to shed a light on topical issues around environmental conservation, pollution, climate change, global warming as to create general awareness to the members of the audience. Guests started streaming in, both old and young, artist and civilian, short and tall, to witness what would turn out to be a magical night and a treat of a lifetime from Sarakasi All Stars. What was particularly exciting to watch was how expectant the guests were, citing that it would be a night to remember for two major reasons: that they had never known a possibility of having a circus employed to speak into such a pertinent social issue of global warming, while looking forward to a return of performances at the Sarakasi Dome, as Sarakasi had not staged a performance in a very long time due to the pandemic. While talking to me, freelance journalist Furaha Ruguru of the online news blog, La music junkie reckoned: “I am so excited to see what the show will be. I have been to so many events and I have seen a lot of performances in my lifetime, but I have never seen a merge of circus and social discourse. This promises to be down in my history books.”

Our refined and able Sarakasi dancers and acrobats were very ready and up in arms, excited for a show of a lifetime.

“I am extremely delighted to be a part of this live performance. We have been rehearsing for close to two months now, it promises to be a great show…” Sarakasi dancer Cindy Were reckoned. “…we have not had an in-house performance since the wake of the pandemic, this had a major impact on us as artists. It is good to be performing at our home after a very long time. This celebration means a lot to me, and we look forward to treating the audience members to a show like no other.” She explained.

Our creative manager Coach Edu had been conceptualizing the show, with the help of renowned choreographer Oscar Mwalo and Jose Contez. He expresses, “Despite the few challenges that the entertainment industry has faced in the wake of the global pandemic, we remained vigilant and hopeful for what the future might hold for us. CASiK has been so gracious in allowing us to create our art and to use it to tell important stories. While I was thinking about the concept of mother Nature, it occurred to me that we must create more show s like this, in order to provide value to all our stakeholders and involved parties, beyond just entrainment. We had to give people something to think about …” He explains.

For the past 22 years, Sarakasi Trust prides itself in building towards the vision of empowering the youth, majorly through creating platforms for artistic growth, through channeling social and economic opportunities for them. Our work has mainly been with performing artists, with a direct impact to various communities and regions both locally and across the country. Speaking to the media on the celebration night, Marion Op het Veld, Managing Director of Sarakasi Trust reckoned, “it is an amazing journey seeing the gains and milestones that we have been able to accomplish this far. This night is a celebration of the impact and transformation that we have effected into the lives of so many youths that we have worked with….”

” …With the collaboration of our incredible partners, clients, friends and donors, our work has spanned many projects, that have further enabled us to work towards our vision…” She expresses.

Some of the projects that Sarakasi Trust has been able to be involved with include: Training and Capacity building, international Cultural exchanges and contracts, Audience Building, Social Entrepreneurship, Smiles for Change, Talanta na Kazi, Talanta na Amani, Panga Sanaa Fellowship, Creative Arts Spaces in Kenya (CASiK) just to mention but a few.

Sarakasi has curated major successful events such as the iconic Sawa Sawa Festival that has seen multiple global artists gracing the Sarakasi stage including Don Carlos, Fally Ipupa, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and so many more.

While the 22 years of operation at Sarakasi Trust has brought more opportunities our way, it’s clear to us that the past creates a context upon which we must connect the present to the “Future of Sarakasi”. While the past was characterized with heavy engagement on donor funding and huge festivals, the present has taken a pivot into programs enhanced at building the capacity of both our artists and those on the periphery, while we adjust into a more commercial side of the art business. The future will have to merge these two elements for us to have more sustainable and long term successes in the creative industry.

We have had great success in collaborations with major partners, just as the Creative Arts Spaces in Kenya, (CASiK) in conjunction with and funded by the French Embassy in Kenya, who have been our support system in the production of “Mother Nature.” The inaugural show staged at Sarakasi Dome on the 15th of September, and later on the 17th of September at Nakuru Players Theatre. Both shows had massive success, with great reception from members of the audience. “I have never been so excited to be in a room as I was today. It was everything I imagined it would be, and more. Kudos to Sarakasi Trust for all the work that they have done with this production…” Irene, a member of the audience remarked.

While the contrast between the two venues was clear, the audience members had only good things to say. “I am so glad to have been invited to the staging of “Mother Nature”. I am excited to see more partnerships between Sarakasi and Nakuru city, being a creative city. This was an exhilarating ensemble…” Mr. James Mwachia from the creative economy of Nakuru City reckoned after the show.

We shall be travelling to Kisumu City, at Dunga Hill Camp for the third staging of Mother Nature, on the 24th of September 2022, at least for the culmination of the CASiK National tours. CASiK has brought together five major creative arts venues from different counties including Nakuru Players Theatre (Nakuru county), Swahili Pot Hub (Mombasa county), Lamu Youth Alliance (Lamu county) Dunga Hill Camp (Kisumu county) and Sarakasi Trust (Nairobi county) with the aim of creating a network of accredited and functional performance venues in Kenya, across the above mentioned selected counties, that will support artists’ hubs and communities by upgrading equipment and infrastructure, building technical capacities and developing cultural programs.

The night ended with a networking mixer, cocktails, snacks and photo sessions with what seemed as a creative sector reunion for many stakeholders, artists and players within the industry, that had been part of our journey through and through. Many thanks to all who came out to support our work, and to celebrate us for the milestones that we have made. Here’s to team Sarakasi, here’s to you, and here’s to the next 22years!!!


Here’s why we should all join “Dance Fitness with Edu the Coach” at Sarakasi Dome

Written by: Anne Wanyoike.

I got a chance to sit down with Sarakasi Trust’s Creative Manager and Lead Choreographer CoachEdu, as he informs us of the latest project that we are taking on: “Dance Fitness with Edu the coach”. You have probably heard it said before in fitness circles, “Ditch the workout, join the dance party”. Well, that is exactly what you are about to experience at Sarakasi’s latest installation, that is: “Stay fit with Coach Edu”

The fun-filled activity is set to be launched on Monday the 22nd of August 2022 and shall be taking place every Monday to Friday as from 5:30 pm to 7pm at the Sarakasi Dome. (located along Ngara Road, opposite Ngara Posta Office) For more information about Sarakasi Trust click the link below, Fitness and dance workouts have always been a fan favorite among fitness enthusiasts, but we especially witnessed a spike in this trend, when the Pandemic hit. “Most people have not quite reset from how things used to flow before the Covid-19 Pandemic hit, and specifically when it comes to getting physical activities to do. We saw an opportunity to engage our clients and dance and fitness enthusiasts in a fun-filled exercise, that would both solve the problem of boredom but also get everyone who joins in physically fit” Coach Edu expresses.

The tagline of our program is Fun, Fitness and Finesse. This was carefully crafted by our marketing department, as these are the key components that we shall be selling to our clients. We want everyone who participates in our dance and fitness sessions to experience value through making them extra special and have fun while doing it. One may then wonder, what the benefits of joining the dance fitness session are. Well, there are a couple of benefits to this practice which include:Fun: It is absolutely fun to be in a dance fitness class. Simply put, there are many ways to have fun and ours tops the list!

Fitness through body toning: It is a great way of toning your body as it employs different rhythmic devices such as music for cardio, muscle, leg and arm movements. This is an opportunity provided especially for those that find it hard to actually work out in a gym.

 It is healthy: It’s a form of exercise in itself, therefore great for the heart rate and especially mental health. Most people battling depression are usually encouraged to involve themselves in physical activities, as it helps clear out their minds.

Networking opportunities and making new friends: There are places and spaces that one is not guaranteed to ever be in, with a certain caliber of people. The fact that dance fitness classes offer a platform for social interaction, it gives one an upper hand in increasing their opportunities for social growth, expansion and networking.

Weight loss: Dance fitness has been proven as an effective method of losing weight just as working out in the gym does.

Having covered the benefits of dance fitness classes as is, one thing remains- you! We promise it is going to be business unusual, great music, great people and great vibes. See
you at Sarakasi Dome on the 22nd of August at 5:30 pm, where fun meets fitness and finesse.

Prof. Alessandro Serena takes a photo with our artists.

Experiencing election anxiety? A message of peace and things you can do to avoid the rabbit hole

Written by: Anne Wanyoike.

So, we are here once again as a nation, faced with a decision to make. We get to decide who will be responsible to take us through the next five years in the trajectory and history of our country.

In case you are probably dealing with feelings of uncertainty about the outcome of this election here is a list of five things that you can do to let off that election anxiety. P.s; this is a guide into what we shall be doing at Sarakasi Trust- it’s simply the artists’ way.

  1. Just dance;

You don’t have to move to the beat, you don’t have to know the lyrics of the song, you don’t even have to have a song to dance. All you have to do is get up and move to any rhythm around you. We are professional dancers, and one rule that we live by here at Sarakasi Trust is: No matter the situation, just dance.

  • Join a dance class;

There is something so special about being in a social circle, doing an energy driven activity such as dance sessions. It gives off a feeling of sheltering and belonging, as if anything is possible.  Well well well, we wouldn’t be fair to ourselves or to you if we didn’t plug ourselves through this piece right here. Now that we are talking about it, allow me to introduce our latest installment: Dance Fitness with Edu the Coach is coming up on the 22/8/2022 at Sarakasi Dome, with the very well renowned Coach Edu. Don’t say that there are no dance classes anywhere to join in, make plans and join us. For more information, click the link below:

  • Meditation;

You have probably heard psychologists or professionals saying that mediation helps a great deal with releasing anxiety. Try going into calmer spaces and recesses of your mind through mediation this season.

  • Reduce your screen time;

We live in a very technologically connected world, with so many noises and voices. The best advice would be shoved down your throat about how you need to be in the know and get with the times, however we ought to find some semblance. Try plugging off a little, get in touch with yourself, beyond by external environment, social media, the news and other ever noisy sources of too much information.

  • Be in nature, take a walk or engage in any physical activity;

Instead of focusing on the elections and so much about the politicking around you, go out and try to be in nature. Forest walks have proven to be great avenues for people to let out steam in most cases. I know of a group of therapists that hold “Nature Therapy”. This is the practice of merging psychological and natural interventions to bring healing to those in need of it. (which we all need I guess)

As we go into the general elections, may we fixate on the fact that peace is a state of being. That it is possible to hold peaceful elections in Kenya. May we get out of this season stronger. We are all one tribe, one race, one people and that message and ideology must prevail!  Sarakasi Trust stands for peace!


Here are five things every artist needs to know about branding

Written by: Anne Wanyoike

The Creative Arts Spaces in Kenya (CASiK) is a project launched and funded by the French Embassy in Kenya, whose main aim is to support and further promote the work of cultural and creative centers across the Counties of Nairobi, Kisumu, Nakuru, Mombasa and Lamu. CASIK identified five cultural venues across the five counties namely: Dunga Hill Camp in Kisumu, Youth Alliance in Lamu, Swahili Pot in Mombasa, Nakuru Players Theater in Nakuru and Sarakasi Trust in Nairobi. Find out more about CASiK on their website here 

The Program identifies the specific needs of these creative spaces, and thus supports them through funding already existing projects, training workshops, sound and light equipment installations, amongst others. 

One of the series of the ongoing countrywide workshops is about branding. The training was hosted across the CASiK venues. On the 4th of May 2022, the “Learn to Brand, Brand to Earn” workshop was hosted at our very own space, Sarakasi Dome, with the facilitation of brand and entertainment expert Moses Mbasu better known as Buddha Blaze. (@ItsBuddhaBlaze on Twitter @buddhablazeworld on Instagram)

While speaking to us during the training, he expressed that: “In my 20 plus years in the creative and entertainment industry, I have seen a tremendous growth within the sector, but the most outstanding challenge that I keep recognizing is that artists are not well informed when it comes to matters art and more so, art business. I therefore applaud the efforts of the French Embassy to create such a platform for artists to learn and optimize their craft through their CASiK activity”

These words were echoed by the Project Coordinator of CASiK, Miss Beth Achitsa, expressing her optimism with the project saying, ” we do hope that artists and the players in the cultural sector shall leverage on the opportunities that have been availed through the multidisciplinary project. Moreover, we hope that our partner venues will keep the spirit of the project alive, because only then can we create a sustainable and feasible future for the creative economy”

Here are some take always from Buddha Blaze: 

  1. Know your target audience and feed them what they want/need.

As an artist, it is very important to have a clear understanding of the demographic dynamics that one creates for. This ensures that you create from a place of connection and clarity, to those that consume your content. What sustains an artist is knowing that their brand is deeper than what they portray online, but also having something that they represent and stand for beyond their artistry. “We are seeing more artists getting involved in Corporate Social Responsibility or community service activities, which then creates a notion within the audience that the artist actually cares about the social wellbeing of those in community with him/ her, which translates into value addition.” 

  1. Create value.

Creating without an intended value proposition of addition, makes is harder for artists to thrive. When curating your brand as an artist, ensure that it adds value to the consumer, in a more researched and carefully crafted manner. Most artists do forget that they are in control of how the audience perceive them, and catering to perception is social capital that benefits the artist. The modes of value addition may include, consumer experience at live shows, online relationships, directly investing in audiences’ wellbeing, giveaways etc.

  1. Create a community.

Humans are social beings and so we have the inherent need to exist within a community. It is greatly advantageous for artists who gets the principle of community, and translating this vision to the movement that they are creating through their art. An example of a community is when a group of fans merge together, to support the cause of an artist, because the sense of community makes them feel that they are in ownership of the artistry.

  1. Create a presence online and offline.

Every artist needs to create an online and offline presence. This way, there is an opportunity for the fans to engage with the creator and thus further interacting with their brand story and what they are about. 

  1. Ensure brand consistency. 

Just as with anything else, brand consistency is very vital in not only creating new audiences or markets, but also maintaining the already existing ones. The more that an artist interacts directly with their brand, the more they understand it. Which in turn makes it easier for them to profit off it. 

The training was culminated with appreciation and feedback remarks from the attending artists, who were across different disciplines including dancers, acrobatics, poets, actors, musicians and artisans. 

Speaking to Mr. Oyamo Odari, the producer and creative director of Sovereign Productions had this to say about the training: “I have learnt so much about the role that branding plays when it comes to artistry. I was not aware of the key concepts that need to go into creating a personal brand, which from today I shall be sure to observe…” 

The CASiK project is in its third phase, with a couple of more to go, which include circuit tours across Kenya, sound and lighting training, installations etc. 


World Circus Day Held on 16 April 2022

Written By Chelsea Muthoka

It was a beautiful Saturday morning, the Sarakasi Dome was tastefully decorated with balloons and colorful flags from the foyer to the Main Hall and the kids excitedly noticed the change in atmosphere. The kids program that takes place every Saturday morning went on as usual from 9 am to 12 pm. These three hours were the longest as the kids could not wait for the long-awaited World Circus Day Show to begin, but before the start of the show, the kids were served different assortments of their favorite snacks during which the Sarakasi Kids Program team had a meet and greet with the parents to have a look at the progress made by their young stars.

Photo: World Circus Day Held on 16 April 2022 at Sarakasi Dome

At 1pm Sarakasi Dome opened its doors to the public so that the celebration would commence. Many cheerful and joyous children, adults, artists, friends and family and even a dog came through pouring right into the Sarakasi doors. The MCs led by our acrobats lead coach, Mr. Washika and “Mama Slippers” engaged the audience throughout the show. They introduced the opening act as a duo performance by our very own Mike and Fiestas who performed contemporary dance. Sarakasi kids were also in attendance with a hip-hop dance act and boy oh boy do these kids know how to put on a show.

The third spectacle on stage was an Acrobat performance by Sarakasi’s very own Rama, Majaliwa, Baraka, Sifa and Amadi. The smoke machine-filled stage and the upbeat music leading up to the performance grabbed the audiences’ attention as all eyes were glued to the stage waiting to see what would happen next. There were many different acts but the human pyramid and headstand done by Rama and Majaliwa took the audience by surprise and left them on the edge of their seats.  

Photo: Participants of World Circus Day Held on 16 April 2022 at Sarakasi Dome

Then this was followed by a Clown and comedy performance by Mr. Washika, Peter, assisted by Zeke, a kid from the kids’ program. The duo was so spectacular as the kids’ laughter and the dogs light bark filled the dome. One thing for sure is that our ribs were going to ache till evening!! The aerial performance by Evelyn left us all picking our jaws from the floor as her prowess in this act is unmatched. This performance elevated the act of the circus. 

The Black Blue Brothers (BBB brothers) had their meet and greet session first where they narrated their career journey from performing at Sarakasi Dome to traveling all around the world and even getting the chance to perform before Pope Francis, Queen Elizabeth, and the royal family. They explained how this opportunity was the highlight of their career. The group of five went ahead to showcase their amazing talents from the human pyramid spectacles to skipping rope stunts in push-up positions and upside down.

This World Circus Kids Show was definitely one for the books as everything turned out amazing. All the spectacular performances by the artists and the audience’s mood made it a magical experience. The audience stuck around the Dome even after the show was over wanting more. 

Thank you to everyone who made this year’s World Circus Day a magical experience. 

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Panga Sanna Fellowship seeks to organize Kenya’s creative economy.

Written by Anne Wanyoike.

The 1st of March marked the launch of the Panga Sanaa program at Sarakasi Dome. The Fellowship is designed mainly for action-oriented leaders of creative sector associations in Kenya, aimed at strengthening the structural and operational capacities of participating associations, particularly the Film, Music, Digital and Visual Arts categories.  

The program shall be carried out within 9 months, with a major focus on key areas including; Advocacy tools & tactics for policy reform, campaigning for shared goals & aspirations, business modeling & sustainability, essentials of strategic planning, branding & strategic communications, good leadership & governance, value added services for members among others.

Mr. David Muriithi takes a selfie with audience during launch.
photo credits: Jose Contez

During the launch, one of the curriculum designers Miss Alix Masson remarked “We came together with the aim of creating more room for Kenyan creatives to step up and do the work that needs to be done, within the sector, for we realized that policy alone is not enough…” “Sustainability and thought leadership are among the gaps which this Fellowship will bridge, while being aware that the artists themselves have to connect the dots, in service of the greater creative economy. “she added.

Miss Alix Masson speaks at launch.
photo credits: Jose Contez

The unique approach that Panga Sanaa hopes to execute is to take the leaders through three stages namely incubation, dialogue and consolidation. While the creative sector has long been ostracized from organized action and policy frameworks that may create guidelines within itself, designing avenues for incubating the creative associations, ensures that they are empowered to focus on matters governance, systems and structures, in-sector collaborations and member services, while challenging them to chart a cause towards individual and organizational development.

At the dialogue stage, the program will explore tools and avenues, in a bid to engage with the government directly and raise intricate issues that need to be addressed, in the promotion of the Arts. Finally, the consolidation stage will see the outcomes reconciled in attempt to gauge the success of the program, its internalization and implementation.

In attendance was Mr. Kiprop Langat, Director at the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage who hailed ‘Panga Sanaa’ as a necessary intervention remarking “The government has launched a cultural and creative industries framework that is aimed at boosting existent artists and creating more room for the participation of new players…” He exhorted the attendees.

Speaking at the launch, the fellowship’s resident policy expert, Prof. Kimani Njogu highlighted the need to look at policy as a tool for action, legal regulation and best practices, while highlighting that strong policies enable sustainable funding of the arts and culture economies, as well as optimizing creative work environments.

The associations shortlisted include, Photographers Association of Kenya (PAK), Art Society of Kenya(ASK), Kenya National Visual Artists Association (KNVAA), Alliance of Slum Media Organizations (Africa Grassroots Media Alliance), Association of Animation Artistes Kenya (AAAK), Filmmakers in Kenya Association (FIKA), Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP), Kenya Musicians and Performers Association(KEMPA), Entertainment and Arts Journalists Association of Kenya (EAJAK) and Association of Visual Artists and Collectives (AVAC).

The program is supported by GIZ (the German Development Cooperation, Kenya Office) in collaboration with Goethe Institute, Masson Associates, Sarakasi Trust and shall be hosted at the iconic Sarakasi Dome, Ngara.

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Talanta na Kazi: Impact stories.

Written/ Interview by Anne Wanyoike.

The Talanta na Kazi Project funded by the US Embassy Nairobi saw 200+ participants graduate from the Talent Management Course at the Coastal Counties of Kilifi and Mombasa. Mostly due to unsuspected challenges such as the pandemic; it was a journey full of surprises, ups and downs, but most of all, a huge breakthrough. For more information about the project visit our website

Since its conclusion in June 2021, we have been following up with some of the participants from the project, to find out how it impacted them, what they have built with the knowledge they have gained from it, and how their lives were transformed as a result. Sit back as we take you on a journey full of stories of hope, impact and transformation.

Ali Abdalla Mawazo, AKA Bella Classic says that he won’t stop at anything, until he actualizes his dreams of becoming a top artist in the continent of Africa and beyond. He recounts his experience at the Talanta na Kazi training, as he shares with us some of his highlights from the training and the impact that it has had on him, his musical career and his community.

Anne: Briefly introduce yourself to us…

Ali: My name is Ali Mawazo, AKA Bella Classic and I am a 25-year-old professional musician from Mombasa.

Anne: What is the most outstanding thing that you learnt from Talanta na Kazi?

Ali: I appreciate the fact that the curriculum was largely centered around the artist and not just the art. I was exposed to some personal work, where I had to take the time to know and understand myself as an individual and from this, I have been able to dictate how I show up to the world. This would not have happened, if I wasn’t enrolled at the program.

Anne: Is there anything else that you picked up from the training?

Ali: Oh yes. I also learned a lot about branding and social media marketing. I have to admit; I was never keen on the way that I chose to use my social media platforms prior to the training. This drastically changed when we were taken through the basics of how to leverage on digital capital, reaching potential audiences and clients in curving out a market niche for myself.

Bella Classic at a studio session.

Anne: How is business looking like so far?

Ali: I can’t complain for now. From the knowledge that I got from the training, I was able to secure a loan where I bought a boda boda, through which I have employed my brother as a rider, and I am also able to get some income from the same. Musically, I realize that I am getting more shows, all thanks to the networking and negotiating skills that I got, during my time at Talanta na Kazi.

I am optimistic that by the close of the year 2022, I shall have launched a cloth and shoe selling business. I am saving up towards that, so that I can employ others within my community and invest more in quality music production.

Anne: Are you involved in spreading the knowledge that you gathered from the training to your community?

Ali: Indeed! As an artist, I believe that the community has raised me, and so it is my job to give back to it, in whichever way possible. During my free time, I teach youth in my community music and poetry writing. As you know, the Coastal region is widely plagued by the drug abuse menace. A lot of my peers are in crime and drugs, yet they are so talented. I have found out that using the arts to educate and sensitize them from these vices is such an effective method. I have some who have pledged to turn away from the vices.

Anne: How sustainable is this initiative?

Ali: I am glad that you ask. I book some shows for the very talented youth within the community, who don’t have any means to get around the industry; and thus I am able to extend the impact to the community. Most of my work also involves sensitizing the community about emergent issues. When the Pandemic hit, I was contacted by the County Government to work with them, to create music that sensitizes the community around safety and awareness for this project, which opened up opportunities for the youth back in my community.

I hope to set up structures where I can lead them in creating more art. Thankfully, the Course also prepared me for active leadership roles, I am glad that I have somewhere to begin.

Anne: What are your future plans?

Ali: For now, I hope to keep building my businesses. I also have some exciting projects that I am working on at the studio. I am looking forward to big collaborations this year, quite frankly I am excited to see my musical horizon expanding beyond Kenya to the rest of the world.

Anne:Any final remarks…

Ali: I am so grateful to the US Embassy and Sarakasi Trust for bringing Talanta na Kazi to us. I have been exposed to so much possibility throughout the program, and hopefully me succeeding in my art business, will be proof that I understood the concepts taught to me at the program.

Thank you once again!


Impact Stories: Talanta na Kazi.

Interview / Written by Anne Wanyoike.

Talanta na Kazi: Coastal Region Edition.

The Talanta na Kazi Project funded by the US Embassy Nairobi saw 200+ participants graduate from the Talent Management Course at the Coastal Counties of Kilifi and Mombasa. Mostly due to unsuspected challenges such as the pandemic; it was a journey full of surprises, ups and downs, but most of all, a huge breakthrough. For more information about the project visit our website

Since its conclusion in June 2021, we have been following up with some of the participants from the project, to find out how it impacted them, what they have built with the knowledge they have gained from it, and how their lives were transformed as a result. Sit back as we take you on a journey full of stories of hope, impact and transformation.

Rose Muthoni, is a dancer from Mombasa County hopes to take her craft not only outside the Coastal region, but also to extend it to the rest of the world. She shares with Sarakasi’s Anne Wanyoike some of her aspirations and so much more, in an exclusive interview.

Anne: Briefly introduce yourself to us…

Rose: My name is Rose Muthoni, I am 20 years old and I am a professional dancer originally from Mombasa Kenya.

Rose Muthoni at the Talanta na Kazi graduation performing a dance.
photo credits : Jose Contez

Anne: What is the most outstanding thing that you learnt from Talanta na Kazi?

Rose: I was able to learn about branding and marketing as skills that are very important in curving out a niche for myself (and my dance crew) within the industry. I had never heard about these ideas before I was enrolled at Talanta na Kazi. I am very grateful that you developed a curriculum, modeled for artists like myself.

Anne: Is dance something that you wanted to do growing up?

Rose: Yes, I have been dancing since I was very young, however, I did not have the right avenue to channel my creativity through. Getting an opportunity to sit under the training was an eye opener to me and my colleagues of the Ragz Dance crew, it made us aware of the huge ecosystem that we are all a part of.

Anne: How did the Ragz Dance Crew come about?

Rose: We all met at a gig and we decided to form a crew from then going forward. We have been gigging for about 3 years now.

Ragz Dance crew perform live at the Talanta na Kazi graduation.
photo credits: Jose Contez.

Anne: How do you keep the group alive and motivated?

Rose: Group dynamics are a tricky subject, especially when we are not aware of the issues that are being dealt with, however because of the training that we got about communication skills amongst ourselves, we ensure that we all know where everyone is at. We try to also support each other through our journey and our professional walk, this makes it easier to work together. It is very key that we keep reminding each other the reason why we are in this, which we often try to do.

Anne: What impact has the training that you got from Talanta na Kazi had on how you do business?

Rose: Well, we attribute a lot of our success to the trainings of the curriculum that we got from the project. When we first started out, the pandemic had just hit and we were really struggling to get booked for shows. However, as we continued to learn the ropes of the industry from the Talanta na Kazi training, we started getting more bookings. We also did not know how to navigate networking and negotiating our worth with clients. We found out that we had been short selling ourselves, prior to the knowledge that was passed to us during the training, which has shifted how we conduct business, package our product and our outlook for the dance industry has completely expanded…for the better.

Ragz Dance crew perform a dance.
photo credits: Jose Contez

Anne: Are there challenges that you have faced throughout your trajectory in navigating art business?

Rose: Absolutely. The major challenge that we have had to deal with, is unhealthy competition from other dancers. Clients are finding it easier to give jobs to dancers who can provide the same services as we do, but for a cheaper price. It has been difficult to get our niche and provide that extra value. We thank Sarakasi Trust for empowering us with the information that we needed, because now, our work has shifted from only performance, we are now interested in repackaging ourselves for the various needs of the market, which is a gem that was clearly emphasized to us within our time at the training.

Anne: What’s next for you and Ragz Dance Crew?

Rose: We have a lot lined up. We have been training hard, and we cannot wait to hit the road with some exciting new projects that we’ll be sharing with you in due course. For now, be on the lookout.

Anne: Parting shot…

Rose: On behalf of myself and my dance crew, we are truly grateful to Sarakasi and the US Embassy for putting together such a remarkable project. It has been the absolute joy of my life to be in the presence of all the great minds that we were exposed to, while also being challenged to take our craft to the next level. We made connections and new networks that have been very pivotal in putting ourselves out there.  

We thank you for taking a keen interest in artists, and we hope that this kind gesture goes even beyond the coastal region.