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Lesson Transcript

Medina: Hamjamboni! Welcome back to SwahiliPod101.com! I’m Medina.
Joshua: Hello everybody, I’m Joshua! This is All About, Lesson 10 – Top 5 Things You Need to Know about Kenyan Pop Culture. Medina, what are we looking at in this lesson?

Lesson focus

Medina: In this lesson, we’ll look at Kenyan television, Kenyans abroad, music, sports, and international pop culture.
Joshua: That sounds like a lot of stuff. Where should we start?
Medina: How about Popular TV?
Joshua: Sounds great. But we should say that because popular culture changes quickly and often drastically, this lesson focuses on the most recent trends in pop culture.
Medina: That’s right. Please keep in mind, we recorded this lesson in 2013.
Joshua: Okay! So in Kenya, the main form of entertainment is television.
Medina: And there are six major TV broadcasters – KBC, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation; KTN, Kenya Television Network; NTV, Nation TV Channel 42; Family TV; Citizen TV, Royal Media; and Sayare TV.
Joshua: Some of these companies, like KBC and Family TV, operate radio stations as well.
Medina: Yes. Most of these broadcast a daily digest of News, movies, talk shows, TV series and the like.
Joshua: But the interesting part is what Kenyans like to watch.
Medina: Yeah, Kenyans love watching international series such as How I Met Your Mother, Boston Legal, Private Practice, Brothers and Sisters, and more.
Joshua: Yeah, other than those, reality shows are also popular. Since 2001, Kenya has played host to 3 productions of Survivor Reality TV series including Survivor Africa, Survivor Lebanon, and Survivor Spain.
Medina: In the category of feature films, in the last few years, Kenya has hosted such award-winning big budget productions as Nowhere In Africa, The Constant Gardener and The White Maasai, among others.
Joshua: Content among the TV channels can vary but in general it includes kids and varieties programs in the morning...
Medina: ...general entertainment programs, movies, and reruns in the afternoon...
Joshua: ...and news, drama series, sports, films, and talk shows in the evening.
Medina: Okay! Our next topic is Popular Kenyans abroad.
Joshua: That’s an interesting topic. Kenyans occupy surprising roles on the international scene.
Medina: For example, soccer players such as Dennis Oliech, Allan Wanga, Curtis Osanoe, and many more.
Joshua: Some great Kenyan athletes abroad include Bernard Barmasai, who held the 3,000 metre steeplechase record for many years, and runner Henry Rono, who broke four world records in 1978. Catherine Ndereba was described by the Chicago Tribune in 2008 as the ‘greatest women's marathoner of all time’. She broke the women's marathon world record in the 2001 Chicago Marathon.
Medina: You may have heard of some other famous Kenyans who aren’t athletes as well.
Joshua: For example, in 2004, the late activist Wangari Maathai received the Nobel Prize for Peace for her dedication to women's rights, ecology, and democracy. She was the second woman from Africa to win the Nobel Prize.
Medina: She was a really important model for the world.
Joshua: And of course, Barack Obama is a Kenyan who has had an impact on the whole world. He is the first African-American to be the president of the United States of America. Being a Kenyan who grew up outside Kenya, he still identifies with his father’s Kenyan roots and retained his Kenyan name.
Medina: He is well known for his intelligence, sensitivity, resolve and a willingness to reason.
Joshua: There are also famous scientists and revolutionists, such as Richard Leakey, a paleontologist and conservationist, and Louise Leakey, a paleontologist. Alright, and what’s next?
Medina: Let’s talk about popular music!
Joshua: Ok. Out of all the African countries, Kenya has perhaps the most diverse assortment of popular music forms, as well as multiple types of folk music based on its more than 40 regional languages.
Medina: The guitar is the most dominant instrument in Kenyan popular music. Guitar rhythms are very complex and include both native beats and imported ones.
Joshua: Benga music, for example, has been popular since the late 1960s, especially around Lake Victoria. The word ‘benga’ is occasionally used to refer to any kind of pop music - bass, guitar and percussion are the usual instruments.
Medina: Yes, for more popular music, Kenyan musicians cater to almost every taste. My favorite band is Kayamba Africa, whose music features Kenyan culture.
Joshua: I like the Them Mushrooms - they play more alternative music, and make Afro-Fusion music more catchy.
Medina: Other bands are, for example, Yunasi, Nairobi City Ensemble, and the Metric Jazz Band.
Joshua: They’re all great artists. So now, let’s move on to popular sports. Medina, what is Kenya’s best sport?
Medina: That’s easy! When you mention sports and Kenya, the large number of world-class distance runners immediately comes to mind.
Josh: Right. Kenyans have traditionally performed well in international track competitions. Having said that, soccer is no doubt the most popular sport in Kenya. People are nuts about it!
Medina: While tribe is generally important in Kenya, soccer remarkably crosses both ethnic and class lines.
Joshua: Kenyans are glued to the television during the World Cup, and every season for the premier league.
Medina: Besides these two sports, Kenya excels in hiking, diving, deep-sea fishing, and dhow sailing.
Joshua: Kenyans really like to skate too, so it’s no wonder the country is home to East Africa’s first skating rink in Panari.
Joshua: So, if you are in Kenya, you’d better get ready to be bombarded with sports from every discipline
Medina: Yeah, it’s hard not to be interested in sports in Kenya.
Joshua: (laughs) You’d be left out of conversations way too often. So what’s next.
Medina: Now let’s move on to international pop culture
Joshua: Examples of its influence can be found all over Kenya.
Medina: I think that's just logical!
Joshua: I’d say the whole world is becoming one global village.
Medina: Definitely, and Kenya is no different!


Joshua: Well, those were our top 5 pop culture topics. Thanks for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you next time.
Medina: Kwa heri!

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Hi listeners! What do you know about Kenyan pop culture? Any recommendation?