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The year gone by was special in many ways for you and me. Where there were celebrations, there were sad moments, but what remains is the determination to make another year memorable. So let’s begin the journey for the year gone by for the Asian Scene.
January kicked off with the harvest festival for the Sikh community at the Ramgarhia Sikh Temple Nairobi (13th January) and ushered in a sign of prosperity ahead. February quickly moved into the romantic mood of Valentine’s Day and some party time. First the team of UK Bhangra’s Biggest Artist Jassi Sidhu and Bups Sagoo had a successful concert on 12th February and to close off the month, one of Radio Africa Group’s very own got engaged. Kamal Vekaria, Producer and Business Development Manager of SBT Africa got engaged to a wonderful lady Dr Dibeshree on 26th February.
East FM announced and conducted a power packed Season 2 of the Sun Gold Sunrice Superchef Competition in March. The stakes were higher as contestants came in from Mombasa and it came down to which gender is a better cook. Eventually it was Charandeep Singh Kalsi who shocked the ladies and took the title. To close off the month was an unforgettable concert by Rani’s Productions on 31st March. Sure the numbers could have been higher as far as attendance was concerned but arrangement and performance by India’s favorite singer Kailash Kher and his band was well worth it.
The month of May brought in two big firsts. One was the announcement of Kenya’s first Asian Lady, Sonia Birdi as the aspirant for Makadara, Nairobi. This “Iron Lady” gave an exclusive interview and has been rallying support for her bid. On the travel side, Kenya Airways opened its 57th destination, New Delhi and the inaugural trip and hospitality extended to the media was overwhelming.
June opened up with news of East FM’s top Radio Jockey, Gupz Saund who is a successful DJ and Singer moving on to a bigger record label and venturing into opportunities on the musical scene. And like they say, the show must go on, there was an extravagant fashion show held by the label Bawree which showcased the delicate Indian designs in the new style of heavy prints and fabric on 16th June.
While there was a poignant evening with the Indian Poet Surjit Patar organized by the iSikh on 15th July, East FM once again had a stupendous competition. It was bigger and bolder because it brought together the professional chefs from various establishments. This Sun Gold Sunrice SuperChef Pro competition came to a nail biting finish and believe it or not it was actually the desert dish that separated the chef from the super chef, Chef Joseph Macharia on 3rd July. But this month was not over with one of the biggest fashion house’s in Nairobi conducting an amazing and professional fashion show. Just Like That hosted top designers from around the world including Kenya for the Trendz Fashion Festival on 14th July.
A team of young professionals put together a musical drama “Nakshatra” on 12th August while a larger team brought in the SAMOSA Festival on 29th September. The SAMOSA Festival represents the cultural and art side of the South Asians in Kenya but it has a long way to go in gathering a larger fan following for its events.
The Hindu festival of Navratri was held with pomp and flare especially as East FM followed the crowd at various venues sponsored by Bidco Oil Refineries Ltd and Capwell Industries Ltd. My judging experience came to a test at the Thika Temple when we had to select the best dressed person and it was a tough task because the traditional outfits there were plenty on 19th October. But another loud and fun competition where you mix cooking, friends and a prize were at stake with the Pearl Rice Karoga Competition, where the East FM presenter Aleem Manji and his team were crowned winners on 5th October.
As the year-end approached it was only fair to complete it with a bang through another amazing concert. UK’s biggest rap artist Yo Yo Honey Singh proved that he has loyal teenage fans in Nairobi at the Carnivore on 24th November. However as he goes on collecting fans, there has been a team that has been consistent in collecting points with nature throughout the year. The Hindu Religious & Service Centre in collaboration with the Hindu Council of Kenya has been dedicating almost all its weekends to major tree planting exercises all over the country. They have had a consistent group of volunteers who have been relentless and will continue in the coming year to make our country greener.
So in conclusion, was it the parties, charities, plays, festivals that made headlines? Yes but none would have been possible without your support for this column and especially the paper. I look forward to another exciting year with you, Happy New Year.