Theme: Arts and Social Change in Kenya: Past and Present

Research by Beth Kawira

Art lives in the hearts of people. It's in music videos, it's in photos, it's everywhere. — Boniface Mwangi, an activist.

Art gives voice to the voiceless. It helps in communicating and expressing what people are afraid of expressing under normal circumstances. In Kenya, individuals, civil society and the government have increasingly embraced artistic forms in the process of peace building and social change. This has worked quite well in social transformation, including socio-economic development, fostering peace and reconciliation of conflicting parties.

With the just concluded 2017 General Elections, so much was done using the arts in promoting peace in Kenya. Elections have always come with tension in the country. The citizens have always been apprehensive about the outcome, which at times lead to conflicts based mostly on tribal lines, ignorance and politicians "using" young people to cause destructions in the name of campaigns. With the 2017 elections, all were hopeful that they would be peaceful, free and fair. We see now that there is still much work to do.