Kenyan student's nightclub project wins international prize

Jesse Mugambi.

A Kenyan student studying in the UK has won Sh6.9 million to establish a music studio and nightclub from decommissioned shipping containers.

 Jesse Mugambi, hailing from Kenya and currently undertaking a master’s degree in sustainable design at Brighton University, UK, emerged victorious in Jägermeister’s “Save The Night” competition, which supports global nightlife projects.

His Studio Can-V project will receive Sh6.9 million after sharing the grand prize fund of Sh15 million with another winner from Northern Ireland. 

The project aims to create a versatile space that transitions from a daytime hub for young DJs to a club during the night.

Mugambi stated his drive stems from a passion for music, leading him to create projects that assist aspiring young musicians.

 “I aspire to create those spaces where they can really explore their creativity and pursue their musical dreams without constraint,” he said. 

He plans to use the project to represent contemporary Kenyan identities and promote inclusivity by foregrounding the voices of young DJs from various communities and backgrounds.

The mobile sound studio will be constructed by local artisans in Nairobi, Kenya, using repurposed shipping containers. 

Mugambi is set to collaborate with lecturers from the University of Brighton to ensure the project’s success.

Kai Dechsling, director of global culture and experiential marketing at Jägermeister, remarked on the significance of inclusive and diverse nightlife for self-expression.

 “The two projects in Kenya and Northern Ireland address crucial socio-political issues and actively contribute to developing nightlife in a positive direction,” he said.

Mugambi’s Studio Can-V project was selected as the best among over 300 submissions from 50 countries. 

However, his win coincides with the Kenyan government’s intensified crackdown on urban bars and clubs to address the illicit brew, drug, and substance abuse menace. 

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has ordered the immediate closure of bars and clubs within residential estates and learning institutions, declaring any licenses issued contrary to the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act as null and void. 

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja also supported the crackdown, emphasising the need to protect school-going children from the disturbances caused by loud music from nightclubs.

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