The SAMOSA festival was established in 2005 as the cultural arm of AwaaZ Magazine (www.awaazmagazine.com). The Festival is the only cross cultural festival of its kind in East Africa. SAMOSA is a very popular Asian/African food that is much loved for its delicious taste. We chose the three pointed SAMOSA as a symbol of Asian/African/Fusion of cultures to enhance race and ethnic relations and to foster nationhood. The Festival uses the various elements of culture i.e. music, art, performance, theatre and discussion to generate and promote discussions among Kenyans towards cohesion and Integration. The Festival thus provides a unique platform to address national issues in an interesting and entertaining manner.
SAMOSA stands for ‘South Asian Mosaic of Society and the Arts’; the ‘South Asian’ component in the brand originates from the festival being used initially as a mechanism to channel the Kenyan South Asian population’s contribution to civil society in regard to cohesion and integration initiatives.
Today, the brand is by no means an exclusive reference to the South Asian population – it has evolved to feature cross cultural productions and events that showcase the best of Kenyan culture, with the South Asian influence as an integral part of Kenya’s unique triple heritage (African, Eastern and Western).
SAMOSA Festival is a non profit entity which falls under the IKSAH Trust - a registered charitable trust. One of the mandates of the Trust is to create cross cultural awareness and interaction with a view to develop a national identity irrespective of the ethnic backgrounds of the citizens and residents of Kenya. SAMOSA is also the ‘cultural arm’ of AwaaZ magazine, which falls under the IKSAH Trust. AwaaZ is a contemporary journal which provides a broad platform for debate and reflection on issues of both contemporary and historical interest. It initially focused on the role of the South Asian community in the political and socio-economic spheres of Kenya, but has since broadened its scope to cover wider debates on diversity, democracy, human rights and social justice.
Goals and Objectives of SAMOSA and What We Use to Achieve Them
SAMOSA has a rapidly evolving target audience which crosses racial, cultural, religious and ethnic boundaries. The festival’s primary objective is to promote the message of cohesion, integration and pluralism by facilitating ‘cultural encounters’.
Performing and visual arts, discussion forums, fashion, food and music are used as powerful to depict and create cultural ‘encounters’ by showcasing and exposing the nuances within each culture in a non-offensive, creative and vibrant manner.
It is the goal of SAMOSA to reach out to as wide an audience as possible, irrespective of gender, race or class.