Sports and arts are not only sources of entertainment and leisure, but also avenues for young Kenyans to express themselves, develop their talents, and earn a living. In a country where unemployment and poverty are prevalent, many youths have turned to sports and arts as alternative careers that offer them opportunities, recognition, and income.
One of the most popular sports in Kenya is football, which has a large fan base and attracts many aspiring players. Some of the successful footballers who have made a name for themselves locally and internationally include Victor Wanyama, who plays for Montreal Impact in Canada, Michael Olunga, who plays for Al-Duhail in Qatar, and Harambee Starlets, the national women’s team that qualified for the 2016 Africa Women Cup of Nations. These players have inspired many young Kenyans to pursue their dreams of becoming professional footballers.
Another sport that has gained popularity in Kenya is rugby, which has seen the rise of several talented teams and players. The Kenya Sevens team, also known as Shujaa, is one of the best in the world, having won several tournaments and medals in the World Rugby Sevens Series. The team has also qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which will be held in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the notable players in the team include Collins Injera, who is the second-highest try scorer in the history of the series, Andrew Amonde, who is the captain and longest-serving player in the team, and Willy Ambaka, who is known for his speed and power. Rugby has become a source of pride and joy for many Kenyans, especially the young ones who aspire to follow in the footsteps of their heroes.
Athletics is another sport that Kenya is famous for, especially in long-distance running. Kenya has produced some of the world’s best athletes, such as Eliud Kipchoge, who holds the world record for the marathon and was the first person to run under two hours in the INEOS 1:59 Challenge, David Rudisha, who holds the world record for the 800 meters and is a two-time Olympic champion, and Brigid Kosgei, who holds the world record for the women’s marathon. These athletes have inspired many young Kenyans to take up running as a sport and a career, as well as to promote health and fitness.
Besides sports, arts are also a form of expression and livelihood for many young Kenyans. Music, dance, and comedy are some of the most popular forms of art that have attracted many youths. Some of the successful musicians who have made an impact in Kenya and beyond include Sauti Sol, a boy band that has won several awards and collaborated with international artists such as Burna Boy and Tiwa Savage, Nadia Mukami, a female singer who has risen to fame with her hit songs such as Maombi and Radio Love, and Khaligraph Jones, a rapper who has won several accolades and represented Kenya in international platforms such as BET Awards. These musicians have shown that music is not only a passion but also a profession that can earn them fame and fortune.
Dance is another form of art that has gained popularity among young Kenyans, especially with the emergence of various dance groups and styles. Some of the notable dance groups include Ghetto Classics, a group of young dancers from Korogocho slums who use dance as a tool for social change and empowerment, Sarakasi Dancers, a group of acrobatic dancers who have performed in local and international events such as Cirque du Soleil, and Wapi Wapi Crew, a group of hip hop dancers who have won several competitions and awards such as Breakdance Project Uganda. These dancers have demonstrated that dance is not only a talent but also a skill that can open doors for them.
Comedy is another form of art that has become popular among young Kenyans, especially with the advent of social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. Some of the famous comedians who have made millions laugh with their jokes and skits include Eric Omondi, who is known for his parody videos of celebrities and politicians, Elsa Majimbo, who is known for her hilarious monologues on various topics such as quarantine life and relationships, and Flaqo Raz, who is known for his impersonations of different characters such as Mama Otis and Baba Otis. These comedians have proven that comedy is not only a hobby but also a business that can earn them income and recognition.
Sports and arts are not only forms of entertainment and leisure, but also avenues for young Kenyans to express themselves, develop their talents, and earn a living. As one of the speakers at the Kenya Youth Summit 2021 said, “Sports and arts are not only for fun, but also for the future. They are the keys to unlocking the potential of our youth and transforming our country.”