As Censorship Weakens,
Kenyan Youth Culture Takes Off
News Feature by Andrew Strickler,
Pacific News Service, Jul 07, 2004
Editor's Note: Young people in Kenya are
finding their voice as government censorship abates and
media proliferates and diversifies.
NAIROBI, Kenya--From her studio on the
20th floor of an office building in downtown Nairobi, 25-year-old
radio disc jockey Eve D'Souza has a good perspective on
the tastes of young Kenyans. As she spins CDs for the evening
show "Hits Not Homework" on Nairobi's Capital
FM, D'Souza juggles the phones and keeps an eye on the dozens
of instant messages on her computer screen from her young
From the requests, it is clear that young
Kenyans have wholeheartedly embraced American pop culture.
Among the hundreds of messages D'Souza receives nightly
is a call from Larry in Baru, who requests a track from
Naz. Joey in Nairobi writes, "I'd luv any tight trick
by Dead Prez going out to my cuz Willy wherever he at."
D'Souza says that until a few years ago,
her show was filled exclusively with Tupac, Dr. Dre and
other U.S. artists. But Kenya's music scene has exploded
in recent years. These days, D'Souza's Top 10 countdown
includes tracks from Nameless, Prezzo, Necessary Noize and
others from a growing list of homegrown talent.
D'Souza welcomes the change. "We're
finally becoming serious about local music, and being proud
of being Kenyan," she says. DJ Adrian, a Nairobi native
and a fixture on the city's club scene, agrees that the
last three years have seen a major shift in the tastes of
young Kenyans. "You can't do a party any more without
local music," he says. For full text click