The Kisima Music and Film Awards logo
The Kisima Music and Film Awards logo

For many years, the Kisima Music Awards gala was among the most anticipated dates on the East African entertainment calendar.

Founded by producer Tedd Josiah and singer Pete Odera in 1994, the awards show initially covered all performing arts and ran until 1997. It was revived in 2003 with corporate backing and a singular focus on music from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

The awards show then ran for 10 years, establishing itself as one of the region’s most important award shows before folding yet again after the 2013 Edition.

Seven years later, the awards are back, this time rebranded as the Kisima Music and Film Awards with an expanded scope canvassing the entire African continent. The franchise was wholly acquired by Fred Simiyu, Chairman of the Nairobi-based ad agency IQ Marketing.

Organizers of the awards made a call for submissions in several categories on Tuesday, November 3.

IQ Marketing Chairman Fred Simiyu

Notably, the franchise has also partnered with Nation Media Group (NTV) to ensure greater media visibility for the awards show.


The ceremony is scheduled to take place on Sunday, December 13 at the Carnivore in Nairobi.

According to organizers, the awards gala will adhere to protocols laid down by the Ministry of Health.

Simiyu disclosed lofty plans for the revived awards show, as he aims to make it a truly Pan-African event. Apparently, the Kisima Awards plans on heading to 54 other countries across the continent after the Nairobi show.

“Our Kisima Music & Film awards 2020 are going Pan-African because it is time! The time is now for Africa to unite in Music and film in a transformational path that will raise Africa higher in every sense. Our music and our cultures are diverse yet so unique in every sense.

“There was a gap that needed to be filled in with Africa appreciating African content without external influence or reservation. With the end of KORA and MNET awards Africa needs its own Oscars. This is it!” Simiyu told the Kisima Awards website.

He further explained the decision to expand the awards to cover film as well, describing music and film as ‘siamese twins’.

“They are joined at the hips! In Music you act, in acting, you sing…It is all about creative arts merging in one as entertainment is entwined in Africa. This is the best of Africa’s creative melting pot,” he stated.

Once-popular award shows in Kenya including the Chaguo la Teeniez (CHAT) and Kisima have fallen off the radar of many fans in recent years.

The situation has largely been blamed on a lack of corporate sponsorships given the costs of running events and award shows.

Simiyu sought to assure music and film fans that Kisima had lined up several corporate sponsors as they implement their Pan-African strategy.

About the Author

Martin Siele is a senior reporter at Business Today.

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