More than 400 participants and 33 winners later, the beat continues as Kisumu’s biggest ever talent search extravaganza enters its fifth week today.
With only two shows before the grand finale on May 11, the talent search moves to Kisumu Town East constituency. The show is being held at Dr Aloo Gumbi Secondary school.
The “I am Kisumu” talent drive, organised and funded by the Kisumu County Department of Tourism, Sports and Culture, has smoked out hundreds of youth who have had no opportunities to showcase their talents.
Judges have described the auditions as “shocking displays of raw talent”, with the youth -- including those in primary and secondary schools -- displaying their skills in singing, dancing, poetry, drama and comedy.
“Kisumu will never be the same again after May 11. Many of these youths will get sponsors to help them nurture their talents,” said Dan Oduka, a performing artists who has been attending the shows. Aluoch Oito, a freelance journalist who has been documenting the shows, says she was shocked and surprised at the talents she has witnessed since the programme began.
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Records from the county government shows that 497 youth from four-sub counties have participated in the talent search.
Nyando sub-county recorded 162 participants -- the highest so far -- followed by Kisumu Town West (158), Muhoroni (108) and Nyakach (69).
There have been 33 winners in the 10 categories, with two more sub-counties to go.
The next show will be held in Seme sub-county on April 13, followed by Kisumu Central on April 27.
Last week, the show was held at Ojola, in Kisumu Town West. Here, judges had a hard time picking the winners due to stiff competition in comedy, poetry, contemporary dance, drama, visual arts, instrumentals and innovation.
Collins Otieno, a participant who featured in the contemporary dance category, said he is happy that the county has given them an opportunity to showcase their talents.
“Many of us are wasting our talents because there is no exposure and someone to mentor us. If the county continues to tap talent every year across all the sub-counties, more youths will benefit,” he said.
Otieno, 21, started dancing while in high school. He sat for his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education in 2016 and is yet to join a college. Otieno, who trains alon, hopes to win and further his skills.
“My goal is to come out the best and reach the finals. And if I win the coveted price, I will embark on pursuing further studies. I want to go to school,” Otieno added.
County Executive Committee Member in charge of Tourism, Sports and Culture Achi Alai said the county administration is happy that the talent drive has picked up well and many youths with talents have come out to participate in the competition.
“The county is committed to identifying talent at the grassroots level,” she said.
County Director of Culture and Art, Kenneth Otieno, said the next stage for the talent drive is to help the youth earn money from their skills. “We have realised there is a lot of talent in the grassroots,” he said.