Through its founding firm, MMS Advocates, Sanaa Kama Biashara (SKB) started off in February 2023 with 20 creatives from Mombasa, hoping to deliver capacity-building through a training programme that ran all through to September.
The climax of this programme was a showcase event at Swahilipot Hub attended by more than 300 people, where 15 of the cohort members performed together with 7 guest artistes. Already a second batch of trainees is continuing across the coastal region in Voi, Taita Taveta County, which will also similarly end with a showcase event in April.
Of the original twenty-strong cohort in Mombasa, 15 finished the programme while the cohort in Taita started with 24 creatives, a number that has since grown to 34. The second Mombasa cohort is set to begin in March 2024.
Next year, SKB plans to complete the ongoing cohort in Voi, initiate a second cohort of 20 in Mombasa and hopefully start another in Kilifi in the second half of 2024 – all in a journey to reach all 6 Coastal Counties.Other than the training programme, SKB has partnered with other organisations to offer legal training. These include KITFest’s (Kenya International Theatre Festival) County Theatre Fiesta where they facilitated the legal modules in all six counties that were part of the programme.
The training programme has also conducted Intellectual Property (IP) trainings for creatives during the Pwani Innovation Week, IP trainings for photographers together with Art & Soul and IP trainings for creatives. Throughout these sessions, the programme integrates encounters with experienced creatives from the region such as Rosebella Owiti of Studio BelaBela, Kaa La Moto, Immaculate Juma (Ima Music), Ndolo Yeng (Ukoo Flani), Dan Sonko, Hon. Patrick Mwavula as well as Mombasa CEC for Youth, and veteran performer, Hon. Ken Ambani.
Yet beyond all these names and numbers, it’s the impact that truly matters. SKB’s engagement has expanded to touch the work of hundreds of creatives across Mombasa and Taita Taveta. Through collaborating with KITFest, a batch of 12 finalists were taken through the incubation programme and got the chance to interact with hundreds of other KITFest finalists from Kisumu, Eldoret, Nakuru, Kiambu and Embu.
The 12 are also receiving business development support. SKB’s success stories include Levy Zia, a playwright and actor, currently formalising his business in order to start producing theatre shows. Two clowns (Dennis Mutiso and Jesse Marasimio) who formalised their partnership, begun branding themselves as a circus group and are now generating lots of content on social media, and making some money. Three young rappers fresh from school who got managers, formalised their businesses and released EPs, which they are also distributing through digital distribution platforms.
Menza Mwavuo and Kiti Mwatsuma, both poets, formalised their community based organisation, decided to focus on advocacy poetry, source for grants and funding for their activities and recently signed a grant agreement with SAFE Kenya. Another 2 poets are now in a residency programme with Kenya Cultural Centre learning how to put on their own shows.
Initially an actor, Michael Tela has transitioned into events management, actively involved in organising events like the Coast Carnival Comedy Show in Kilifi in November and is currently at the heart of planning the upcoming Luhya Laugh Festival. Another project worth pointing out is the SKB Street Halisi, a showcase platform dedicated to Swahili Hip-Hop artistes. This initiative aims to revive and establish Swahili Hip-Hop as a genre with economic potential for artistes and youth servicing the industry.
Through technical and entrepreneurship training encompassing Swahili Hip-hop, IP rights, self-awareness, branding and marketing, and personal financial management, as well as a dedicated physical and online showcase platform, SKB Street Halisi provides a collective space for Swahili Hip-Hop artistes to display their art, build fan bases, and establish sustainable businesses.
Through Sanaa Kama Biashara, MMS Advocates has secured training partnerships with Swahilipot Hub Foundation, Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO), Kenya Cultural Centre incorporating the Kenya National Theatre, Strathmore Small Business Development Centre (Mombasa), ArtLawKenya, MDF (Mombasa), Toxic Productions, Atumik Productions, Studio BelaBela among others.
For masterclasses on Arts from the best in the creative industry visit https://academy.sanaapost.com/