‘Appreciate Your Own’ Popular Musician Tells Kenyans

When you are at a club partying and the Dj plays a bongo or a naija tune everyone heads to the floor to dance as he or she sings word for word, but is that the same reception we give to our very own Kenyan music?

Just the other day Tanzania’s fast rising music sensation Rayvanny bagged himself a Best International Viewers Choice Award at the 2017 BET Awards, and Kenyan took to social media to congratulate him for such a major achievement.


In 2015, Uganda’s music sensation Eddy Kenzo won the award under the same category.

The fact that Kenyans seem to prefer all things foreign has not gone down well with one local artiste. singer Eric Wanaina has penned down his opinion in a column expressing his opinion on the love for all things foreign.


On an online platform, he says he gets embarrassed  when introducing himself as ‘Eric’ while his friends from South Africans introduce themselves with their tribal names like‘Kgomotso’ and  ‘Olusegun.

He has also taken issue with our use of sheng.

“urban Kenyans get as far as Sheng, a hybrid of Kiswahili and vernacular so diverse that kids from estates separated by as little as a highway have different names for the same thing. Sheng dictionaries become obsolete by the time they go to press, owing to the rapidity in the change of vocabulary. A Sheng speaker can date you to within a year of your birth, locate your home to within a street by the word you use for ‘car’ or ‘mobile phone.’ In the rural areas, Kiswahili is as foreign as Greek, and is spoken only by those who might have picked it up in school or by those ethnicities whose ethnic language shares a common Bantu base with Kiswahili, akin to that between Italian and Spanish. We claim to have a national language. Listen again.”

I’m not sure Naija musicians even know there’s a contest running, and are a mixture of bemused and irritated by the prevalence of their music on our media observed when they visit.Urban legend recounts a Naija artist rebuking a Kenyan journalist for fawningly informing him that he was more famous than any Kenyan artist in Kenya’.

He insists that when Nigerian music played it is charged through the speakers riding on all Nigerian high life. Wainaina says when musicians take it to the streets all they want is more of everything like airplay, access to great producers and policies that will favor their growth.They want the same attention given to Nigerian and Tanzania in terms of music.


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