Kenya Commercial Bank has donated 20 Computers to Mwanyambo Secondary
School in Rong’e Juu Location, Mwatate District of Taita Taveta County.
The School is among 17 others selected in the whole country to benefit
from the Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility Programme.The Computers,
estimated to have cost the Kenya Commercial Bank Foundation 4 million
shillings, were sourced from Computer for Schools, a private commercial
enterprise that works closely with the Bank’s Foundation which shoulders
the Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility Programme.
In February this year, the Bank was among several other institutions,
including Mwanyambo Secondary School,which participated in the
celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of the late Fadhili William
dubbed “Malaika Festival”. This year’s event, themed “Scouting for
Talent”, was hosted at the School’s grounds and attracted a large crowd
anxious to witness the first post-humous home-coming cultural party in
memory of the late icon who had last visited his ancestral home in 1975.
The organisers of the event chose to hold this year’s event in the late
Fadhili William’s ancestral home “in the spirit of devolution to the newly
created Taita Taveta County”.
Malaika Festival was initially held in Nairobi in 2002 as an indoor
event. Among the invited guests then were the late former Minister Darius
Mbela and Mr. Ally Sykes who had flown in from Dar-es-Salaam. He and the
late Fadhili had known each other from the mid 1950s.Others were Them
Mushrooms who have re-worked some of the late Fadhili’s songs, Mzee Ingosi
and members of the late Daudi Kabaka’s family.
The following year, the nascent event had spilled over as an outdoor
event, complete with a marching Kenya Police Brass Band, escorted by
Starehe Boys and General Motors which had provided six Isuzu trucks.
Starting from the Jevanjee Gardens, the musical procession had ended up at
the Museum of Kenya where a photo exhibition of the late musician was
held.Among the pictures featured the late Fadhili William together with
the late Daudi Kabaka in the company of the late Franco Luambo Luanzo
Makiadi at the Panafric Hotel, when the latter visited the Country’s 20th
Independence celebrations in 1983.
Despite his poor health, the late Fadhili managed in late 2000, to stagger
up to Tamasha Corporation (formerly Polygram) where he signed a
distribution agreement for his old songs.During his lifetime which
comprised a 13-year odyssey in New Jersey, United States of America, he sang and shared the stage with other internationally renowned musicians like India’s Usha Uthup, Boney M and Samba Mapangala.
The late Fadhili, who hailed from Ndembonyi Village in Rong’e Juu,
attended Rong’e Primary School briefly in the 1940s before his mother, the
late Halima Wughanga Mwamburi, spirited him and his two siblings Harrison
Mwataku and Esther Mbugi out of the village to Nairobi where they were
admitted to CMS Primary School in Pumwani. Although both the late Esther
Mbugi also commonly known as “Esther John” and his elder sibling Harrison Mwataku became
ardent musicians in their own right, it is their brother Fadhili who later
broke the ranks to become the acclaimed author-composer of the world
famous song “Malaika” and numerous other international hits.The late
Esther John, who was married to veteran Kenyan Saxophonist Ben Nicholas,
was buried in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo in 1972 where she had
worked in the Ugandan Embassy.
Speaking during the computer-handing ceremony, the Education Ministry’s
Permanent Secretary Professor James Ole Kiyiapi, who was the Guest of
honor in what was billed as the School’s Education Day, exhorted the
students to excel in their academic studies and to take advantage of the
computers to equip themselves with modern technological skills. Other
dignitaries who spoke at the occasion included the Convener of the Malaika
Festival who thanked Kenya Commercial Bank for the
donation of the computers and for their participation in the County’s
inaugural Malaika Festival edition.
According to the Festival’s organisers, the forthcoming Malaika Festival,
scheduled to be held in February 2012 at the same venue, promises to be a
“who is who” in Taita Taveta County music, artistic and other cultural
circles. Interestingly, the organisers have settled for the theme of
‘Restoring our Water Catchments’ for the impending event.Although the late
Fadhili is better known locally and internationally for the hit song
‘Malaika’ and other patriotic songs, he dickered, also, with eco-tourism
issues during his lifetime, when he sung ‘Ukifika Taita’-an evergreen
Taita song in praise of the beautiful Taita Hills and their pristine
attractions that form part of the Greater Tsavo.
It is noteworthy that the Kighombo Dam, lying at the foot of Mbololo Hill,
is currently delapidated and waterless due to the felling of trees in
Mbololo and Mwambirwa Forests. Voi River, whose very existence depends on
Mbololo and Mwambirwa Forests upstream also has dried up due to the
destructive human malpractices that have led to environmental degradation.
Evidently, the “Mau Syndrome” is rampant both in our rural settings and
It is hoped that many other organisations based in Taita Taveta County,
besides Kenya Commercial Bank whose greening environmental programme is
well established, will support the forthcoming second edition of Malaika
Festival which is slated to become the County’s premier Cultural Brand
Voi City, Tuesday, Nov 8, 2011
Duncan Mwanyumba is a practicing Advocate of the High Court of Kenya currently based in Voi City, Coast Province of Kenya and a cultural enthusiast.