It started with a talent hunt, with more than 300 participants gracing the auditions to fight for the shortlist of who would perform in the final concert, to a crowd of 16,000.
From upcoming music stars, comedians, deejays to hype masters, they arrived one by one at the 3 Steers hotel in Meru.
Besides the concert and mentorship programs, there was the BLAZERS award for 18-26 year-olds and the Rising Star awards to fight for.
The first runners-up of each category walked away with cash prizes of Sh30, 000 cash from BLAZE, a BLAZE flame device and Sh10, 000 worth of airtime.
This was during the second leg of the Twaweza Live campaign by Safaricom. Bob Collymore, the telco boss, said that their new brand promise ‘Twaweza’ which was unveiled last year, puts the company on a new journey to unite with Kenyans from all walks of life to build the foundations for a resilient Kenya and connect people to opportunities.
The telco thus kept its promise by unveiling ‘TwawezaLive’ in May, a campaign that is tailored to promote interactions between various user groups through free medical camps, youth mentorship programs, talent search activities, campus takeovers and a grand concert that features some of Kenya’s most loved and admired artists.
In Meru for example, over sixteen thousand people attended the grand concert at kinoru Stadium, an event that was hosted by Kenya’s leading comedy sensation Njugush.
It was a chance for the people of Mt Kenya region to interact and be entertained by some of their favorite artists who they probably only get to see on TV or social media.
The event was easily the hottest thing in Kenya’s entertainment scene at that particular moment, bringing together artists that included Mercy Masika, Bahati and King Kaka aka Kaka Sungura.
The energy in the establishment was like no other, this was the show where Nyashinski performed a teaser for his new single ‘KEBS’. A piece that was released last week on YouTube and Songa Music.
The concert gave a chance to one Emmah Kaimuri to perform on stage alongside her long admired icon Wahu Kagwi.
“Performing alongside superstars I grew up idolizing was such a great experience,” she said, a chance like this was one that boosted her career by leaps and bounds she adds. Emmah was one among the winners of the Twaweza Live local talent search auditions held at 3 Steers hotel in Meru.
Dj & MC Paul Mwangi was also another fella who carried the crown during this auditions, the guy built his own Mixer from wood and scrap material and frankly, you could see how he got swept up in the euphoria of explaining how he built his machine.
Paul says that it’s a talent within him, considering the fact that he has no formal education on building electrical devices. “I learnt how mixers work from a DJ friend of mine and I went home determined to build my own,” he says.
He explains that he’s passionate about what he does and that he makes maximum use of any available material that he can get his hands on to enable him build the Mixer and have fun while at it because if it can’t be fun, then what’s the point? says Paul.
The Grand concert and auditions weren’t the only activities held during the ten-day Twaweza live campaign in Meru, as a matter of fact, over three thousand Kenyans mostly from Meru, Nkubu and Mikindori areas attended a free medical camp hosted at Kinoru dispensary grounds.
This goes on to show just how much ordinary Kenyans badly need this medical services, and Safaricom’s effort went a long way to address those grievances. The medical camp hosted in partnership with The Kenya Diabetes and Information management center (DMI) offered health solutions in Diabetes, dietary advice and VCT services among others.
For a myriad of reasons, poverty being number one, most Kenyans cannot afford to pay for quality health services at private or public clinics. In fact, even with public health insurance being available, only about 20% of citizens have a health insurance.
Diarietou Gaye, the World Bank country director for Kenya, once mentioned that every year, nearly one million Kenyans fall below the poverty line due to healthcare-related expenditure and that expanding health care access can reduce this burden. With the Twaweza Live medical camps, Safaricom is aligned with this goal.
The medical camp in Meru gave a chance to one Agnes Kathure (55) a resident of Mikindori. For quite some time now, Agnes has suffered from a back problem that bleeds her of close to seven thousand shillings for every checkup session she attends. At the camp, Agnes received free medical checkups and consultation services at no charge, she explains happily.
With this avalanche of well-guided activities and concerts that bring towns to a standstill, it is clear that the telco giant has mastered the art of touching hearts and transforming lives wherever it sets foot.
Focus now shifts to Mombasa from 16th July to 3rd August for the third phase of the Twaweza Live campaign that initially kicked off in Uasin Gichu County. Safaricom has yet another set of exciting activities and tailored solutions for the people of the coastal county.