For three days, the Knowledge Art and Networking (KAN) Festival will be held at MS Training Centre for Development Cooperation (MSTCDC) in Arusha. The KAN Festival was officially opened to the public on, 23rd January 2020.This officially marks the second edition of the festival, with the first having been held in 2019.

Mr. Ezra Mbogori, the Executive director of MS TCDC, was the first to give his remarks by narrating the history of KAN, as well as background information into the decision to settle on this year’s theme “Maendeleo ni watu, si vitu” an ideology birthed by Tanzania’s founding father, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. “At KAN we can apply our curiosity without fearing that we will be judged.” Mr. Mbogori said as he encouraged participants to be free in tackling issues around geopolitics, innovation, and development as these are relevant to the continent.

The Chairperson MS TCDC Partnership Board, Dr. Servacius Likwelile, declared the festival officially open. In his words, he said, “KAN festival is an opportunity to not only experience the power of the arts…but also a great platform to explore appropriate messaging that represent the community”. Dr. Likwelile also went ahead to thank the partners, the KAN festival secretariat and the entire team and leadership at MSTCDC.

Members of the media were then invited for an exclusive press conference. On the panel were Festival Art Director Dave Ojay, Mr. Mbogori, Dr. Likwelile, as well as spoken word artist-Kanozo. Mr. Ojay stressed the importance of giving back to the community, an impact that he hopes the festival, as well as artists, will achieve. He also highlighted the importance of involving students as a way of increasing the impact of KAN Festival. This will be achieved through KAN X, a program that will be launched on 24th, Jan that will involve student’s participation in the festival and development.

The day then proceeded with knowledge sessions, the first being on Climate Change facilitated by Dr. Brian Cooksey, a political economy consultant, researcher, and environmentalist. He engaged in raising awareness about climate change, commonly referred to as global warming as he insisted “global warming is not a theory, it is here” and it should be Africa’s priority to tackle this devastating issue.

A concurrent session also happening was on China and Africa. A session tackling how to think about China’s engagement in Africa, an issue that has been raging debate all across Africa. The session was facilitated by Prof. Lauridis Sandager Laudridsen. He stressed the fact that development should come from within, echoing the words from “Development Is People”

Love Art Tanzania curated an engaging workshop on “Art for business” where various ways of using art as a platform for development were explored. During the session, various artists were encouraged to take self-branding seriously. It is important that artists have a good brand in order to earn a living from their art. The day further consisted of activities such as, the art exhibitions and activities, feature films that tell African stories and panel discussions.

The day culminated in thrilling performances by artist; Vitali Maembe of Tanzania, Sandra Nankoma of Uganda and Warriors of the East of Arusha, Tanzania. We await to see what tomorrow will have in store for us! You can’t afford to miss! Karibu!

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