Kenya Photography Awards 2016 launch

KPA Call for entries Poster (2)Photographers Association of Kenya (PAK) jointly with PAWA 254 have today launched the 2016 Kenya Photography Awards.

Now in its third year, the awards will see photographers submit their photos on the Kenya Photography Awards website between March 24th, 2016 to April 30th, 2016 under 8 different categories.

The categories are: News, Sports, Nature, Daily Life, Creative, Portraiture, Most Promising Young Photographer and People’s Choice.

The awards seek to recognize skill, talent and hard work among professionals and rising photographers in the country.

“We are glad indeed to be launching this edition of the awards this year. So far, we have seen significant growth in the photography industry in the country through collaborative efforts from various partners. There is a lot we need to do to bolster the sector. The awards will go a long way to ensure that we not only appreciate photography as an art but also support and motivate young and upcoming photographers to pursue excellence in this trade,” noted Stephen Nderitu, Chairperson, Photographer’s Association of Kenya.

He added: “I would like to encourage all photographers to come all out and share their best photos under the various categories and together let us celebrate talent.”

On his part, chief judge, Gary Knight, noted: “Last year, we got some really impressive shots and so this year, we will be looking for much more. We encourage all photographers – young and old to participate in this contest and let us see more and more amazing photos this year.”

Below are the timelines for this year’s awards:

Submissions: March 24th, 2016 – April 30th, 2016

Judging: May 2016

Announcement of Nominees: May 30th, 2016

Winner’s announcement: June 2016

In 2015, the awards attracted over 1200 entries. Past winners of the Kenya Photography Awards include: Thomas Mukoya (News and Sports), Alice Oldenburg (Daily Life and Nature), John Wambugu (Special Category “Climate Change”), Peter Ndung’u (Portraiture and People’s Choice), Siegmund Kamau (Creative and Most Promising Young Photographer). The overall winner for 2015 was Alice Oldenburg.

The Kenyan Blog Awards 2016 enters voting phase

kenyablogawardsThe Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) has announced the nominees in this years’ Kenyan Blog Awards. The unveiling will also see the opening of the third and most active part of the awards; the online voting phase.

This follows a grueling exercise, by judges, who sifted through a hopping 4,899 blog submissions that were received. The judges who were tasked with selecting the best 5blogs in each category are:

  1. Mikul Shah, Director at EatOut
    2. Ahmed Salim, GM at Qube Ltd
    3. Terryanne Chebet, Senior Anchor & Associate Editor at Citizen TV
    4. Muthoni Maingi, Digital Manager at Safaricom

The nominees for this year’s awards include,,  and Voting in the awards begin today and will close on 1st May 2016.

To vote for their favourite blog in the Kenyan Blog Awards, Kenyans should visit Votes will be limited to one vote per person.

The Kenyan Blog Awards were launched on 8th January, which also coincided with the launch of the submission phase. Blogs were submitted in the competition until 10th February 2016. The judges then took over and selected their best 5 in all the categories.  Winners of the competition will be announced at a gala event on 7th May 2016.

And the nominees are…

  1. Best Technology Blog
  1. Best Photography Blog
  1. Best Creative Writing Blog
  1. Best Business Blog
  1. Best Food Blog
  1. Best Environmental/Agricultural Blog
  1. Best Fashion/Beauty/Hair/Style Blog
  1. Best Political Blog
  1. Best New Blog
  1. Best Corporate Blog
  1. Best Topical Blog
  1. Best Sports Blog
  1. Best Entertainment/Lifestyle Blog
  1. Best Education Blog


  1. Best Travel Blog
  1. Best Health Blog
  1. Best County Blog
  1. Best Religious/Spiritual Blog
  1. Kenyan Blog of the year


Kenyan entertainers invade morning TV and radio

Sauti Sol with Ghost and Gidi

Sauti Sol with Ghost and Gidi

If you want to see some of the most happening acts in Kenya, one of the best spaces to enjoy them are morning radio and TV shows.

I only recently returned to Instagram and discovered that it had become a huge ecosystem with fans in Kenya in the hundreds of thousands. In some instances this social media channel has become even bigger than Twitter.

The biggest users of this social media are mass media and the entertainment community. A very good example was shown this very morning when some of Kenya’s more well known acts were featured on popular media.

Sauti Sol, the biggest band in the country where pop music is concerned, for instance were the guests on Radio Jambo. This breakfast show hosted by Ghost and Gidi is arguably the country’s biggest show at the moment. Also featuring on the station were legendary act the Kassangas of Anne and Japheth who owned the gospel music scene in the 1990s.

Not far from Radio Jambo, Kiss 100’s breakfast show which nowadays goes by the moniker The New Kiss aka #TNK with Kalekye Mumo and Shaffie Weru were hosting a different kind of entertainer. They hosted @Miss_bokland and @serahmolly who are stars of the new viral sensation that is “Nairobi Diaries.” The show that screens every Monday evening on K24 TV features some of Kenya’s most well known socialites; this is a term we use to refer to attractive young women who are seen around media circles but aren’t known for actual jobs.

Nelson Mandela of Sarabi on K24 TV

Nelson Mandela of Sarabi on K24 TV

Talking about K24 TV they were hosting one of the hottest acts to come out of the country Sarabi. These kids are going places with their music and their new documentary.

Across town, Radio Maisha with their morning show Alex and Jalas were hosting Dela Maranga who has become something of an international sensation after her Swahili cover of Hello the mega hit by Brit Adelle. She was promoting the upcoming Sportspesa Festival which she was a performer. Sing it with me… Sportspesa inanyonyaa….

Also featuring in the morning entertainer stakes was Makadem, the singer that has quietly become the King of the new Benga of Kenya. He was featured playing his trusty Nyatiti.

So there you have it. If you want to get your finger on the pulse of what is happening in Kenyan entertainment, you want to get an Instagram account and following all these acts. Its hella fun.

On this post you will see some of the posts the media houses or acts made on their accounts. My Instagram account is @muruajames

Alex and Jalas with Dela Maranga

Alex and Jalas with Dela Maranga

Makadem at Citizen TV

Makadem at Citizen TV


Gidi and Ghost with Anne and Japheth Kassanga

Gidi and Ghost with Anne and Japheth Kassanga

Shaffie and Kalekye with the ladies from Nairobi Diaries

Shaffie and Kalekye with the ladies from Nairobi Diaries


Kenyan Blog Awards 2016: make your submissions

BAKE2016Its that time of the year. The Kenyan Blog Awards 2016, an initiative of the Bloggers association of Kenya (Bake), is now open for your submissions.

The awards which were born in 2012 are in 19 categories. They include;

1. Best Technology Blog

Blogs that cover technology matters like social media, internet usage, consumer electronics, mobile phones, tech startups etc.

2. Best Photography Blog

Blogs that showcase original photos or have photography related content.

3. Best Creative Writing Blog

Blogs that feature original creative writing in the form of poetry, book reviews, fiction and essays.

4. Best Business Blog

Blogs that feature business content like business development, entrepreneurship, startups, stocks, investments, banking etc.

5. Best Food Blog

Blogs that focus on food, cooking tips, restaurants, wines and recipes.

6. Best Environmental/Agricultural Blog

Blogs that focus on the environment and agriculture.

7. Best Fashion/Beauty/Hair/Style Blog

Blogs that highlight current trends in fashion, beauty and style.

8. Best Political Blog

Blogs that cover political issues in Kenya.

9. Best New Blog

Outstanding Blogs that were set up from January 2015 onwards.

10. Best Corporate Blog

Blogs that are run by brands/companies.

11. Best Topical Blog

Blogs with a clear niche that is not represented in any of the other categories.

12. Best Sports Blog

Blogs that feature sports content.

13. Best Entertainment/Lifestyle Blog

Blogs about the Kenyan entertainment industry and Kenyan lifestyle.

14. Best Education Blog

Blogs about education matters and those run by educational institutions.

15. Best Travel Blog

Blogs about travel.

16. Best Health Blog

Blogs about healthcare and healthy living in Kenya.

17. Best County Blog

Blogs that are based in a County and that feature content from a specific County.

18. Best Religious or Spirituality Blog

Blogs that feature content on religion and/or spirituality.

19. Kenyan Blog of the Year

Best overall Kenyan blog.

You have until February 10th, 2016 to submit your favourite blogs as we are now in the awards submission phase. You can submit here. This will be followed by a judging phase from 11th to 28th February, 2016. The judges will select the nominees and the public voting will open on March 2nd– April 30th followed by the Awards gala on May 7th 2015.

Adventures on a budget airline to Kisumu

20151001_143424So I’ve done this whole budget airline thing when I lived in London many moons ago. I remember a good pal of mine calling me about this flight on that was going for 40 pounds return. He was calling around with friends to see who could join him on a weekend to Berlin. I quickly instructed him to pay for it and had a very memorable weekend; including being arrested at the border post for being black and Kenyan. Good times.

Then there was this other time I went on to go visit the same friends family in Milan. That ticket cost me 52 quid. Thats UK pounds. That weekend was also quite memorable as I got to see Italia crush Romania in a world cup qualifier 3-0 where I got to see Alessandro Del Piero play in the flesh at the San Siro.

So you can imagine that for me getting the budget airline experience always seems to have a special thing going for it that I rarely get when I pay for the usual full price airlines.

I’ve only done the “budget airline” thing at home with Fly540 to destinations like Malindi which have also been very memorable. It was in Malindi that I joined a bunch of Nairobi journos for one of those media jaunts. At that gig I remember going to a hotel which gave us a huge seafood platter. People were confused with all the claws and tails on their plates and eventually our host had to get some nyama choma before her charges died of hunger. If you want some Nairobians to eat don’t give them weird lobsters and shrimp et al. Nyama choma will do.

So recently I try a new experience with the folks from, an airline which is pretty young having been found on 13 September 2013. I was riding along with a promotion where they “hijacked” a bus and took the passengers to JKIA and flew them to Kisumu International Airport.

Checking into the Kisumu International Airport

Checking into the Kisumu International Airport

The Kisumu International Airport was one of the main reasons why I had come on this joint. I have been seeing it whenever I am en route to Kampala and wondered what it looked like. I was impressed. I know, why shouldn’t I expect any less but still. Its not the biggest one I’ve been but it was really well done. I will be coming back. At least to hear that man who allegedly plays the nyatiti in the evening has to be investigated.

From there we were of through a Kisumu that has been with a friendly driver with the Senate proceedings on his radio as he guided is through a very well developed city. He would point interesting sights as we headed out of town. There is Kidero’s house. There is Jakoyo Midiwo’s house. Jaramogi’s house is back there. There is the complex that Kosewe (the Ranalo Foods guy). That multiple storey building seems to have stalled from what I could see.

Eventually we made it to our destination; The Kiboko Bay Resourt. Here We spent the next few hours downing some cold one until we left for the hotel; The Vic Hotel at the Nakumatt Mega. Here we had a meal and we were off to Signature for drinking. And dancing.

It was a Kisumu trip to remember as we flew back to Nairobi in the morning.

I’ll be back.

P.S. Looks like Eldoret is now one of the destinations that our friends from Jambojet opened. Very good.

Thoughts on the recently ended Soma Awards 2015

Special Award winner Zawadi Nyong'o

Special Award winner Zawadi Nyong’o

The Social Media Awards of Kenya of 2015 popularly known as the OLX Soma Awards happened at the indoor arena of the Safaricom Stadium in Kasarani this Saturday evening.

People came in droves to see who would be going home with the title of best in social media in Kenya. It didn’t disappoint with large number of people at that indoor arena hanging out on that red carpet taking photos for the paparazzi. Truth be told it wasn’t filled to the brim, this wasn’t President Barack Obama who would be addressing them, but the floor was filled. Those there were mainly nominees who would be expected to win the offered categories.

The evening was filled with humourous comedians, yelling winning folks and meeting friends old and new. The biggest winners on the night were Sauti Sol, Daniel Ndambuki aka Churchill and Babu Owino. You can see the list of winners here.

A few things bothered me though. The sound was not on. The emcee, Mwaniki Mwageria one of the best in town, sounded like he was yelling the winners names which made us a bit irritable by the end of the evening. Perhaps the organisers could source that dude that does the sound during the Thursday Nite Live gig that happens at Choices every Thursday?

The corporations that had been slotted to give prizes failed to show up. Actually corporations seemed to given this event a wide berth generally whether handing out or receiving prizes. I know that people were busy but how difficult was it to send a manager to represent you at an award ceremony where you can gain mileage? We were forced to watch a comedian in what seemed to be pajamas handing out a very big award which was not on.

The most glaring thing for me was when a special award for crowd funding for social good was handed out to Zawadi Nyong’o for the #amilliforjadudi campaign. This campaign was started to help raise a million shillings to help fund the health care for Emmanuel Otieno who is known as Jadudi. As Zawadi went to receive her speech she was accompanied by Jadudi himself who declined to go on stage. I assume it may not have worked for him going up the stairs as he seemed to be limping a bit.

Zawadi Nyong’o then went on to give her experience in crowd funding from a few years ago with her 100 twitters followers to date when she was involved with this current successful campaign. She explained how crowd funding could be used to save lives and she thanked all those who tweeted to ensure that the message Jadudi was kept at the top of social media charts for a number of days. She then took her chance to take photos and left the stage. Job done.

The thing is this Jadudi campaign didn’t come to be known to us via Twitter. We all knew about it because of a blog that was written at Bikozulu blog titled That Thing In Jadudi’s Head. The blog told us of this young man struggling with cancer over the last few years and it touched many to contribute to the campaign. So for a person to acknowledge the people who were tweeting and failed to mention whoever was the biggest influencer in this can only be seen as shocking at the very least. That speech disappointed on so many levels.

So there you have it. A few thoughts from what is turning out to be a big awards ceremonies in town.

The sad sad day I got a Selfie Stick

The first day I got the Selfie Stick at the Tecno gig

The first day I got the Selfie Stick at the Tecno gig

I got me a Selfie Stick. Be afraid, be very afraid.

So I attended the launch of the Tecno Phantom 5 the other day at the Sankara Hotel. It was one of those affairs that are getting all the vogue with the acts like Kansoul members Kid Kora and Madtraxx who are famous for songs like Nyongwa and Drum. Their song Double Tap about their adventures in social media work very well for a phone launch and they were well received.
As the action was going around me with people bidding for phones and people rushing to get drinks after waiting for all the long speeches I got myself a Selfie Stick. Turns out that there was a promotion where you gave away money of any denomination you got one. So I got one.
Its been a crazy few days since that day. I have been walking our with that Selfie Stick taking photos like my life depends on it. In a Sarabi concert with friends. In my bedroom. In Kisumu at a JamboJet gig. Wherever I could unleash my Selfie Stick it would be unleashed.
I have officially joined the vanity classes. Be afraid folks, be very afraid.
P.S. I’ve been hearing very good things about that Tecno Phantom 5. You want to give it a try.

Victims 1 at Saraba concert.

Victims get the Selfie experience at the Saraba concert.

Geroge Orido and Gitura kamau get Selfied.

Geroge Orido and Gitura kamau get Selfied.

My bedroom makes its world debut.

My bedroom makes its world debut.


Tony Adams aka Mr Arsenal is coming to Kenya. Poor Imperial Bank.

Tony Adams, Arsenal

Tony Adams, Mr Arsenal

So what are you doing on 4th to 5th December? Whatever it is, if you are a gooner then I suggest that you cancel. Mr Arsenal aka Tony Adams is coming to town.

The idea here is that our friends at Barclays have been doing this promotion to where they are trying to convince you to route your salary using their bank. I suspect that they figured out that once your salary goes through a bank most of your financial transactions will be done at the same place. It took you long enough Barclays so I salute your catching up on that one.

Anyway back to Mr Arsenal. Tony Adams spent his entire playing career of 22 years in the colours of Arsenal and is considered one of the greatest Arsenal players of all times.
With Arsenal, Adams won four top flight division titles, uniquely captaining a title-winning team in three different decades, three FA Cups, two Football League Cups, a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, and three FA Community Shields. He is one of only three people with a statue outside of the Emirates stadium alongside legendary striker Thierry Henry and former club manager Herbert Chapman. Thats some mad recognition by the team he led for so many years.

He’ll be in town on 4th – 5th December to joining a select group of lucky Barclays’ customers for an exclusive Barclays Premier League VIP viewing experience. In addition, he will visit the home of one lucky family and kit them out in the full regalia of their favourite Barclays Premier League side.

Speaking to the press Tony Adams said, “The Barclays Premier League is without a doubt the biggest and the best league in world football. I am still an avid supporter and I cannot wait to join Barclays in Kenya to share these unique experiences with them.”

If you want to one of the lucky few to meet Mr Arsenal then you want to open a Barclays account between now and 31 December 2015 and transfer their salary into this account each month. Furthermore, customers who register for online banking with Barclays will stand a chance of winning two tickets to a VIP Barclays Premier League Fan Zone with Tony Adams. More information can be found at

WHen things were good for Imperial: Arsenal FC's Head of Partnership and Development together with Arsenal fan, Frank Munene and Imperial Bank's Group Managing Director

WHen things were good for Imperial: Arsenal FC’s Head of Partnership and Development together with Arsenal fan, Frank Munene and Imperial Bank’s Group Managing Director

The people who won’t be celebrating are the bank that has been associated with Arsenal in Kenya in recent times. The Imperial Bank which was the local Arsenal partner has done events with the legendary UK sports brand. Unfortunately, even the sheen of the Arsenal can’t help them as they have been put under the administration of the Central bank of Kenya.

The bank which only the other we were lauding as they unleashed new Arsenal cards has seen the Central bank flex its muscles. Its not every day that the CBK says “that it has become unaware of unsafe or unsound business conditions” at your bank and they are hiring someone to be in charge, pole sana.

So if you moved to Imperial Bank because of your love of the Arsenal this is a very trying time. This individual customer’s plight might be very familiar,

“When you are told your bank has been put under receivership and you run there to withdraw your money only to find the doors closed. My only reaction was to laugh. I don’t think anyone who has millions held there will be laughing when they find out they can’t withdraw their money.”

Fear not though, just move to Barclays and you could get to meet Mr Arsenal. Hopefully.

Makadem’s appearance at Choices’ Thursday Nite Live event

Makadem is killing it. Photo: Quaint Photography

Makadem is killing it. Photo: Quaint Photography

Makadem was the featured artist at the Thursday Nite Live an event that happens every Thursday at the Choices in Nairobi.

If you are ever in Nairobi and live music is your thing, Thursday Nite Live hosted every Thursday at Choices has come to define the best in our live music scene. This event run by Rashid Jibril involves a musician who knows how to play live music playing for patrons of the famous venue. Some of the best artists in the country and some from out of the region have performed at the event. The beauty about it? The punters at Choices pay nothing. This makes it probably the best free live event in town; it has also been described in some quarters as one of the best regularly running events on the continent.

On Thursday a good friend of mine had asked to join him for Thursday Nite Live at Choices and I was happy to accompany him. I hadn’t even bothered to find out who would be performing on the day as it is always hard to keep up with which act that would be performing on the day. Also all the bands on the stage were usually kick butt so it didn’t matter. So you can imagine my joy when I strolled into the place and who had just ended their set: Makadem.

Makadem is a very special fellow. He was initially a pop artist of the R&B and hip hop genre when he was in Mombasa before moving to Nairobi and changing his music genre. He fused older tradition instruments like the nyatiti the lyre of the Luo and the traditional drum with the modern guitar, keyboard and drums. This new music took a while to develop so there were many wondering why was once of the best rapper/singer changing his name and becoming Ohanglaman Makadem. It eventually worked and Makadem is one of the most sought out live acts on the European scene and on the continent where folks are looking for amazing music.

This was the act that I was to watch this evening and when I checked in he was taking a break after doing his first set. Eventually he jumped back on stage and started his second set with his anthem to Gor Mahia and the crowd started responding. As he went through his two hour set, which was increased by almost half an hour by crowd demand, the crowd would jump up and down and dance. It didn’t matter that many didn’t understand the words in his songs as they were in the Luo language as well were all getting into a frenzy as the many belted out his tunes. As he went through his set he would play a variety of instruments, the guitar, the nyatiti, the kayamba skillfully. It was his voice that most shone that Thursday evening; a powerful instrument that caressed and cajoled as well and inspired one to dance.

He was accompanied by a Uganda performer Giovanni who was also very good but this night belonged to the Ohanglaman and his band.

The beauty about Makadem is that his success has seen him at the forefront of live music in the country. He is the ultimate musician’s musician so in the audience you could see Iddi Aziz, Winyo Shipton, James Jozee of Gogosimo Band and other acts jamming to their friend’s music. It’s such a wonderful sight to see truth be told.

MakademIf you were ever lucky enough to hear that Makadem is on your neck of the woods to perform I recommend that you check him out. He is totally worth every cent.

P.S. Makadem is one of several Kenyans up for awards at the All Africa Music Awards (Afrima) this year with a nomination for Best African Contemporary. Please vote for him. You can also check him out here.

P.P.S. Check out images from the concert here.

Oliver Mtukudzi rocks the Koroga Festival

Oliver Mtukudzi

Oliver Mtukudzi

The Koroga Festival is fast becoming the event to go and watch some of the best live music in Nairobi. The event is hosted on the first Sunday of the month every two months at the Arboretum Grounds and has hosted some really cool African artists. Some of these include Baba Maal, Simphiwe Dana and Salif Keita.

This Sunday, yesterday, it was the turn of Oliver Mtukudzi to give a live to his many Nairobi fans one of who I count myself. When the Sunday broke there was a concern that there would be some of the dreaded rain that we have been experiencing in recent times that have been wrecking havoc. It had rained on Saturday night but fortunately the day was better and by the afternoon we were enjoying a sunny day in our nation’s capital.

The Arboretum was filled to the brim with folks out to meet and greet and enjoy what was on offer. I enjoyed meeting folks like Blinky Bill of Just A Band, Chris Adwar of The Villagers fame, Diana Opoti of 100 days of African Fashion fame, Rayhab Gachango of Potentash fame, Paul Munene of Quaint Photography… I can go on all day.

There were many performances there at the muddy grounds of the Arboretum that we should really refer to as Matopeni in honour of the old Vioja Mahakamani show. The most memorable of these for me was a set that was done by Octopizzo (yes, that’s really his name) alongside Just-A-Band.

A few minutes before 5pm the legend himself came on stage with his band; a fellow guitarist, a bassist, a keyboardist and a drummer as well as a girl on background vocals aka BGVs.

The show started at a slow pace with the instruments somehow while being European giving a very distinctively African feel. I don’t know how that band did it but I could feel it in my bones. Here. * points to gut*

As we were dancing to the music I would look around and there was a huge number of folks singing alongside to his songs. Its times like these that made you realise how international Nairobi is as well as just how big the Zimbabwean population here is. I had a blast as I was explained to by my Zimbabwean partner as each song came; this one is about a father who promises to buy his daughter Pata pata slippers from Bata to congratulate her on her marriage, this one about this, this one is about this. Even though I didn’t understand what he was saying it was a world class performance I was enjoying in that tent in the Arboretum.

As he would sing and play the guitar and sing in his signature deep voice he would pause to dance and jump making me have to google to confirm that I was watching a 63 year old man perform. If I could dance like him at fourty five for almost two hours I would be a happy man.

At one point he strummed a few keys and every single Kenyan went wild. The song he had started singing was Todii the one song we are all familiar with. So you can be sure to hear my relatives happily sing along as soon as we here the chorus;

Hooo todini, senzeni, what shall we do
What shall we do , tingadii
Senzenjani, what shall we do, what shall we do

A funny thing. When I asked some of my colleagues what the song just before doing this blog their answer was, “its about todi, what shall we do.” Well the song is about a subject that will surprise many Kenyans; its an advocacy song for HIV/AIDS. Yep. If you go to this link you will get the English translation in this website you will realise what the song is about. Here is a section of the lyrics with the Shona on the left and the English translation on the right after the /

Zvinorwadza sei kurera rufu mumaoko/ how painful it is to look after someone u know is gonna die
Kana uinawo utachiwana/ when they have AIDS
Zvinorwadza sei kuchengeta rufu mumaoko/ this person has gotten something that will lead to their death
Kana uinawo utachiwana/ when they have AIDS
Bva zvamabata pamuviri pasina raramo / death has been made manifest
Kana uinawo utachiwana / when they have AIDS
Bva zvapatumbuka pamuviri pasina raramo / this is a condition that will not spare them
Kana uinawo utachiwana / when they have AIDS

Even though many aren’t aware of what the song is about we all sang along to the song like our lives depended on it. The only weird thing was his stage exit; he was performing when he strolled of stage and never came back.

After this I took off but having spent an amazing afternoon have have listened to some of the best music my continent has to offer. Yes, I’ll be back, Koroga.

Check out images from the gig from Quaint Photography.

>> Previous Koroga Blogs

:: Simphiwe Dana rocks Nairobi big time

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