Building A Vibrant Community Of Rural Creatives | Celebrating A Milestone

When we began our Kibaraza program in Malindi two years ago, it was driven by a vision to transform the local creative scene. We saw a gap in the industry: a lack of unity, collaboration, skills and visibility among creatives. Unlike in other parts of world, there were hardly any events or meet-ups that brought creatives together in Malindi – everyone worked in silos. In a town with so much talent, this void was a disservice to both the artists and the community at large, reducing creatives to mere art consumers when they could be producers shaping the creative space in Kenya.

Our journey began with a simple mission, to unite creatives, build a community, and equip them with necessary skills to thrive in their craft. Through monthly meet-ups, we brought together photographers, musicians, thespians, journalists, dancers, spoken word artists and influencers. These meet-ups were meant to not only connect the creatives but to also understand their experiences, including the challenges unique to them in a rural setup.

From the insights gained from these meetings, in partnership with Baraza Media Lab, we curated workshops and mentorship sessions. We brought gurus and seasoned creatives from Nairobi to motivate the creatives and equip them with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate and succeed in the competitive industry. Over the past year, we’ve witnessed significant improvements in their skills, their attitudes towards collaboration initiatives, their conduct of business and their thinking.

We are celebrating a major milestone we achieved last weekend, where two of the creatives under the program conceived and executed a talent event dubbed Malindi Got Talent. The event drew over 30 creative groups and individuals, including dancers, musicians and spoken word artists. Icon and Baraka had one vision: to provide local talents with a platform to show Malindi and the world what they got! What was even more encouraging was the support from the community with more than 300 individuals coming out in full force to cheer local talent. One ticket was going for Ksh 100, so the organisers made enough money to take care of the event’s costs such as PA, seats and marketing material.

Also Read: The Issues Of Musicians in Malindi

This marks a significant milestone because just a year ago, such an initiative might not have been feasible. Previously, any similar events would have needed organization by the County Government—which rarely happens—or would have depended on big, well-known artists. Moreover, there was a widespread mistrust of collaborative events among creatives, fueled by concerns that local talents were being exploited by prominent figures who profited at their expense. These factors, among others, led to a decline in collaborative activities and diminished the vibrancy of the community.

Through unity and collaboration, we are rewriting the narrative of the local creative economy – one success story at a time. As we reflect on this milestone, we extend our deepest gratitude to our partners, Baraza Media Lab and most importantly, the incredibly talented individuals who continue to inspire us every day.

We are committed to supporting local creatives by empowering them to be better as individuals, create better, create more and ultimately earn livelihoods through their crafts.

We invite you to contribute to our work. Reach out to us on Email at [email protected] on DM us on our social media platforms (@thellesitrust)

Thellesi Trust
Thellesi Trust

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