Popular Kamba Benga singer Alphonse Kioko alias Maima and Gengetone star Jeremiah Chege alias Zzero Sufuri; known for the hit song Zimenishika are among artistes who will be performing during this year’s Mashujaa Day to be held at Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi.
The two secular artistes who appeal to different demographics join a big list of gospel entertainers in what will be President William Ruto’s first public day address since he took an oath of office in Kasarani Stadium, Nairobi, a month ago.
It will be the first ceremony to be held at the newly refurbished Uhuru Gardens Memorial Park.
One of the key national holidays of the country, Mashujaa Day is celebrated by Kenyans on October 20 and translates into Heroes Day. As per its name, it honours men and women of courage who fought for independence from colonial rule.
Every Mashujaa Day, the country looks up to those who have made the country what it is, be they modern-day heroes or older-day ones found deep in national history.
Typically, there is a formal celebration, held at a stadium in the presence of special guests, dignitaries and multitudes of Kenyans. The president gives a speech, and this will be President Ruto’s first on the national holiday.
The Permanent Presidential Music Commission (PPMC) has released hints of the musical line-up on their official Twitter handle ahead of the celebration.
PPMC presents PHIL Kimemia for the Mashujaa Day Celebrations. Subscribe to our YouTube channel here https://t.co/7b9R2sRfns and get to watch his live performance on 20th October, 2022 ??#MashujaaDay2022#PPMCKenya #AlwaysAtYourService pic.twitter.com/FNMxnD13oa— Permanent Presidential Music Commission (@PPMC_KENYA) October 17, 2022
There will be performances by popular gospel acts Phil Kimemia, Rufftone, Evelyn Wanjiru, and DMG Kenyan, a gospel artiste, with the track Kigongona.
PPMC has also noted that students from Mararal High School also have a special act prepared for the day.
Gospel singer Evelyn Wanjiru confirmed the upcoming performance by reposting the banner by PPMC on her social media pages. Yesterday, singer Phil Kimemia posted a picture out in a field in the middle of a dance recital, captioning it “Mashujaa Day rehearsals.”
“Glory be To Jesus. Goodmorning Y’all,” Rufftone wrote on Instagram early Tuesday as he announced that he will perform.
There are over 20 artistes who will grace the entertainment of the special day.
Over 20,000 members of the public are expected to attend, according to a statement by outgoing Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho.
"The gates will be open from 4 am and invitees are advised to be seated by 7 am," Kibicho said.
Uhuru Gardens Memorial Park is a historical landmark located along Nairobi’s Lang’ata Road.
“The gardens were officially declared a national monument in 1966 because of their historical importance,” the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage notes on its website.
It adds; “Of importance to note is that it is Kenya’s birthplace. This is where the first Kenyan flag was raised, thus marking the very first year of independence on December 12, 1963.”
Last year, the celebrations were marked colourfully in Kirinyaga County’s Wanguru Stadium. Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera was in attendance as the chief guest, in the company of the first lady Monica Chakwera.
It was a day described as an opportunity for the Agikuyu Community to showcase their traditions through art and music.
Mugithi and Kigooco were the prominent music choices of the day. One of the performances featured was that by Kikuyu secular artiste Kamoko and gospel singer Charles King’ori alongside DJ Fatxo. They presented the vocals for the popular Kikuyu dance song, Mwomboko.
The song prominently features sounds from the accordion (kinanda kia mugeto) and karing’aring’a (the metal ring). It has been performed at multiple national holidays since independence in 1963.
“Mwomboko, in which the dancers also move in a file, count two steps, bend down and then move majestically back and forth, was an instant hit which has lasted to date,” The Standard reported in 2017.
There were also performances by Kareh B, Samidoh, Sarafina Salim, Loise Kim, Ben Githae and other popular Benga acts.
One of the major entertainment line-ups at a national event earlier this year was that at the President’s inauguration on September 13.
There was gospel music to boot, with artistes spanning from legendary acts to new hit-making sensations.
Gospel artistes Annastacia Mukabwa, Florence Mureithi, Shiru Wa GP, Solomon Mkubwa, Betty Bayo, Douglas Otiso and Muigai Wa Njoroge all performed.
Arrow Bwoy, Guardian Angel, Sanaipei Tande, Nadia Mukami and gospel singer Pitson, who is known for his hit song Lingala Ya Yesu performed on the inauguration day, where patriotic songs and gospel ruled the day.