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Kisima Awards makes a comeback after seven-year hiatus

By Thomas Matiko November 5th, 2020 2 min read

One of the oldest annual talent awards program in the country, Kisima Music and Film Awards has made a come-back after a seven- year break.

This year’s edition is set to be held on December 13 at the Carnivore grounds in Nairobi with Nation Media Group as its official media partner.

Announcing the comeback, Dr Fred Simiyu, who chairs the awards committee, said with its return, the Kisima Music and Film Awards will be open to the entire African continentfor the first time.

“This year’s Kisima Music and Film Awards is a Pan African event dedicated to tell the African narrative through culture, music, stories and creativity with the theme Reawakening the soul, spirit and vibrancy of Africa through Music and Film,” noted Dr Simiyu during a media launch in Nairobi.

The 2020 Kisima Music and Film Awards will use digital nomination platforms and with a focus on social good to lead from the front in the wake of the global Coronavirus pandemic.

The use of digital nomination portal allows all of Africa’s bilingual diversities; Anglophone, Francophone, Lusophone and Arabic north to nominate their champions and heroes before the team of eminent, experienced panel of industry players, music scholars, veteran musicians and film artists pick the finalists. The process of picking the winners will be participatory and transparent, they said.

The event is making a comeback after a hiatus of seven years during which the awards have been revamped to cover the continent and include the film category too.

During the Gala night on December 13, African artists will be awarded in 18 categories, nine each in music and film.

A further 18 awards have been specifically created for Kenya in both music and film. Details of the entry and awards categories can be found on their website

Named after Swahili word for a well, the award was originally known as Kisima Awards founded by Pete Odera and the legendary retired music producer Tedd Josiah in 1994.

The awards were held annually until 1997 when the program was discontinued.

They were revitalized in 2003, with organisers arranging to coincide its events with the Fête de la Musique. In 2004, the scheme was expanded to incorporate artists from all of East Africa, subsequently recognising musicians from Uganda and Tanzania.

In 2005, Tedd Josiah stepped down as CEO of the awards amid controversy surrounding his winning of the Best Producer category.

The awards have since continued to expand, attracting international entrants and personalities and have come to be an integral part of both Kenyan music and culture.

The Awards rebranded to Kisima Music and Films Awards after it was wholly acquired by its chairman Dr. Simiyu, who is also the Chairman of Ad agency IQ Marketing.