Kenya: Youth for Peace28 December 2012
In preparation for the presidential election in March 2013, Gen Rosso is inspiring young people to be builders of peace in their country by means of music.
‘Still burning in the Kenyan soul is the pain of the blood-soaked battles of the election in 2007 when more than 1000 people died.
“Never again!” is now the cry of everyone’s heart, while the country prepares for the presidential election in March 2013.
‘Many young people are engaged in initiatives for a year of peace.
‘Sr Bernadette Sangma (principal of Tangaza College) and a group from the Focolare Movement working in the Catholic University of Nairobi, have welcomed this and promoted the idea of the “peace caravan”, which would unify the voices of the university students in Nairobi and make an impression on public opinion. As a symbol of this “earthquake of peace” the idea was to have a song that would be heard loud and clear throughout the nation!
‘This was the request made to Gen Rosso. After the 2007 tour there was already a profound friendship with Tangaza College and after some of us in 2009 went back to Kenya to give lessons and run workshops to teach “music with values”. We had a tradition of working together. How could we refuse this new request?
‘And so the song was written:
Jivunie nchi yako, kabila si silaha
Nyuma twasema, kamwe haturudi
wito wetu ni umoja
Be proud of your country! Tribe is not a weapon. The past never comes back. Our call is to be one.
‘Tangaza College and the Catholic University began to “recruit” young men and women from the various universities in the capital. Other young people from elsewhere became involved. Enthusiasm grew.
‘Magdalene Kasuku, a young journalist, presented “Jivunie” at official State Functions and at the huge celebrations on the 49th anniversary of Kenyan independence, on 12 December, in Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium.
‘The song was heard with enthusiasm and it had been the government to propose that it should be sung at this major event in the presence of President Emilio Mwai Kibaki.
‘We recorded “Jivunie” with a choir to make it more “Kenyan” and to make it suitable to be left as an audio support for all the initiatives that will take place until next March.
‘Ponsiano Pascal Changa created a choreography for the performance on the 12th. We wanted a choir that danced with energy and joy and the kind of moves young people make.
‘We recorded everything, mixed it and prepared the choreography in just three days!
‘A group of 120 young people, called Kenya Youth for Peace, were brought together up for the occasion. The choreography captured people’s imagination because of its energy and freshness. The young people sang and danced in a stadium full of people: “Jivunie”: “Be proud! We are brothers and sisters of one nation!”
‘We are really happy to have given a platform to Kenyan youth so that they can proclaim to all who they are, expressing their infinite desire for a world at peace. We have become a single family with them. Family: the experience that Africa can give to the whole of humanity.’