Reggae from Kibera

We step in the Air Force One, as they know it. A square room, small, made of wood and metal, build on top of a big water tank that provides water to part of the Laini Saba village. A place where arts, music, social initiative and solidarity are protagonists. 

Air Force One is the office of the Guetto Youth Focus Foundation (GYFF) a group of young who give support to the community, specially children, from 2009. Their departments of sports, dance, theatre and music link with cleaning initiatives and synergies with several NGOs that work in Kibera. 

The group of singers, coming from all the villages of Kibera (it has 13) are getting to work. Improvising some lines, making a mistake and to stop, ask and consult what sounds better, and suggestions… this is what motivates the artists, and makes them think about something big. The song is dedicated to their hometown, Kibera, probably the biggest slum in Africa with almost 550,000 registered people (plus the ones that are not censed).

This song is about supporting children in their development to avoid crime and drugs; it is about a working community that in 2012 the Economist defined as the world´s most enterprising place; is about the union of their people through social movements and loan groups; about the smiles, especially of the children, that shine under the African sun.

Spanish NGO Más por Ellos and GYFF are going to produce this Reggae song to show the world the life in Kibera and their artists. Here is where Made in Kibera Project starts, where seeks to become an online platform used by more artist from Kibera to be the voice of the artist in the slum.

Silence, recording!

The artists gathered in the office that usually functions as a rehearsal room. With chai and bread talking excitedly about the day they had ahead. Music sounded through a small speaker. It is always a good moment to create something new.

Hours later, the group came out the office heading to the studio. The sticky, wet, floor after a heavy raining night led them to the matatu station. The trip passed by speaking quickly, laughing and taking pictures. After coming they held hands in a circle and dedicated a pray to the effort done and to the task they had ahead.

One by one the artists entered the cabin and the producer, Dillie, guided them, correcting mistakes and made suggestions. The artists listened concentrated while smiling to themselves. After four intense hours Dillie connected the big speakers and announced what very soon will be Made in Kibera, the song. We’re happy because they felt that a small but important stage was finally completed.