Manu Dibango: The main reason I’ll be attending Koroga Festival


Manu Dibango is an icon where the African music scene is concerned and he will be performing in Nairobi on Sunday at the Koroga Festival. He won’t be performing alone. His supporting acts will include Maurice Kiyra, June Gachuhi and Different Faces which is fronted by saxophone genius Edward Parseen. While I love these performers and would happily go to a concert just with them, the headline act is something very different. He is Manu Dibango.

Manu Dibango is a very special person in my human experience. He was really big in Kenya with his hit song Goro City which was played a helluva lot over the 1980s. It was even sneakily used as a soundtrack for a TV that for some reason I cannot remember. The song reminds me of a conflicting time for the nation It was the period when people suffered with their space as a paranoid president Moi ensured his authority was felt.

At the time as I was a child becoming a teen, I was fervently passionately nationlist; I was one of the many who were under the Nyayo spell. We would happily share what the president did on the playground. He was the guy who carried the biggest boulder as they build gabions to prevent social erosion; whose dad could lift a bigger one. He was the guy who drove that Nyayo Pioneer car around Nyayo stadium; whose dad could drive it the fastest.

Apart from the huge cult of personality around the man from Sacho, it was a time when music from all over the continent was rocking the city I grew up in. Mory Kante’s Yeke Yeke blared from vehicles and matatus. Radios would be hear blasting Sam Fan Thomas’ Noa. Fela Kuti’s Lady was rocking it still almost a decade on. This was the period Goro City was making its mark and I wouldn’t mind hearing it live. It would be a great time to remember the time of my youth; when I was still young and idealistic.

If this period comes back through song, the trip to Arboretum with the threat of rain would have been totally worth it. See you on Sunday people.

Advance tickets only. Get yours here.