Mambo Haikuwa Poa: Exploring Kenyan Cultural Diplomacy at the 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Abstract:

Kenya was a featured country at the 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, a cultural event with an international profile attracting one million visitors in Washington DC, USA. Literature on Kenyan cultural diplomacy draws attention to two issues; first, its potential in improving Kenya’s relations with other countries. Second, the lack of cooperation between the government and cultural practitioners as one of the shortcomings of how cultural diplomacy is currently conducted. This paper used a case study design to examine the conduct of Kenyan cultural diplomacy at the 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Through data collection from both primary and secondary data sources in Nairobi City as the site of study, the research provided two main findings. First, that though there was collaboration between for example the Ministry of Sports, Culture, and Heritage and the Festival’s organizers in curating the Kenya’s participation at the festival, the most important actor-creatives and cultural practitioners were not treated professionally for example with untimely provision of their stipends. Second, the logistical challenges displayed through for example untimely compensation of artists resulting to musicians’ performance boycott attracted negative publicity in international media about the government’s mismanagement of funds meant for the festival. Such challenges watered down Kenya’s success at the festival marked by for example large audience numbers as reported by the organizers. The study makes two main recommendations. First, improvement of the relationship between cultural practitioners and the state as the first step in securing the country’s soft power capital. Second, improvement in coordination between the Department of Culture at the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage, and the Cultural Diplomacy Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so as to better tap into the cultural diplomacy potential of both domestic and external arts and culture events. The paper also offers some reflections on decolonizing Kenyan cultural diplomacy drawn from the wider decolonization discourse.
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APA

Oloo, O (2024). Mambo Haikuwa Poa: Exploring Kenyan Cultural Diplomacy at the 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/mambo-haikuwa-poa-exploring-kenyan-cultural-diplomacy-at-the-2014-smithsonian-folklife-festival

MLA 8th

Oloo, Ongere "Mambo Haikuwa Poa: Exploring Kenyan Cultural Diplomacy at the 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival" Afribary. Afribary, 04 May. 2024, https://afribary.com/works/mambo-haikuwa-poa-exploring-kenyan-cultural-diplomacy-at-the-2014-smithsonian-folklife-festival. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

MLA7

Oloo, Ongere . "Mambo Haikuwa Poa: Exploring Kenyan Cultural Diplomacy at the 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival". Afribary, Afribary, 04 May. 2024. Web. 26 May. 2024. < https://afribary.com/works/mambo-haikuwa-poa-exploring-kenyan-cultural-diplomacy-at-the-2014-smithsonian-folklife-festival >.

Chicago

Oloo, Ongere . "Mambo Haikuwa Poa: Exploring Kenyan Cultural Diplomacy at the 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival" Afribary (2024). Accessed May 26, 2024. https://afribary.com/works/mambo-haikuwa-poa-exploring-kenyan-cultural-diplomacy-at-the-2014-smithsonian-folklife-festival