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Journey to Remember at Lola Kenya Screen

A Journey to Remember

By Craig Kimu, Age 15

It was on a Sunday morning, the 11th of August 2008 when we departed the Harare International Airport in Zimbabwe for Nairobi in Kenya. At first I was shocked at the thought that it was really me who was going to Kenya for the Lola Kenya Screen film festival, but as they say, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step forward. We flew with Kenya Airways.

We arrived in Kenya at around 7:10 pm. Though it was quite late and I was really tired I was still very eager to do some sight-seeing around the town and to get some feeling of what to expect the next morning. We were escorted to our hotel, which was situated in Nairobi’s city centre. The hotel was nice and comfortable. After some time I was then introduced to my new friends from Zanzibar and Uganda: Tristan Zitoni Kayonga and Othman Bakar.

Upon being ushered into my room, I fell into deep sleep though I was really nervous because I really did not know exactly what to expect the next morning; this was my first time in Kenya!

The next morning I was nervous again because I really did not know what to expect from the people and the creative journalism workshop. Funny enough, we were the only southern African country present and I was so proud and excited by that. When we arrived at the Kenya National Theatre, the venue of the six-day event for children and youth that was in its third edition, the sight was so welcoming. I hope my colleagues also felt the same. We were then shown where to go and sign up.

I then decided to do the Journalism workshop because there were other workshops like film animation, documentary film production, appreciation of creativity, and event organisation & presentation.

We were eight in my group and we were only two boys and the rest were girls. Our tutor was Ogova Ondego; what an honour to have the Festival Director himself teaching us! Mr. Ondego is a highly respected man in Kenya and is really dedicated to his work of influencing the upbringing of young filmmakers and artists. Ondego was assisted by Ken Owino, a journalism student at university.

We were taught that journalism is not all about glamour, trendy clothes and flashy cars; all that comes after so much hard work and meeting your deadlines.

For you to be a good journalist you have to understand certain things like: Culture, History, Art, Creativity and Literature. You must also understand the artistic and the way in which the elements contribute to the goals of the content, Mr. Ondego taught us. In journalism we also have to use some formulas like:

G – Goals

O – Obstacles

A – Answers

T – Time

All in all for you to be a successful journalist you have to know the 5 W’s and 1 H, namely Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.

We also watched films at the festival and that is when I really realised that as children we have the potential and the talent to change the world and lives through film.

The film that I really enjoyed was “All Girls Together” by Kenyan Cajetan Boy. This is a story about marital infidelity. When two best friends meet for a birthday party, it turns out to be a confession of a man called Bruce who was dating both of them separately and secretly. When they found out, they stripped him of everything and resolved to sue him for using a fake identity. Well I think this was a lesson to all the “players” out there.

The workshop days really cruised by and unfortunately we had to wrap up and leave. It was really a helpful week and I promise to implement all the useful things I learnt and to pass on to others what I learnt at Lola Kenya Screen in Nairobi. This is definitely a step forward towards my journalism career. It was really a special moment and an honour to represent Mai Jai Films, Zimbabwe International Film Festival and Zimbabwe at such a high level. I hope this is not my last time doing so. I want to thank Mai Jai Films, Art Moves Africa and Auntie Rumbi Katedza for they made it possible for us to go to Lola Kenya Screen in 2008.

Lastly but not least, my sincere gratitude goes to Auntie Isabel Manuel, Auntie Katedza (again); Bree Tonga and Sharon Mazvihwa. Thank you very much for making this workshop enjoyable.

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