Technical University of Mombasa, the only Kenyan university located at sea level, is not only a center of global excellence, but also a place of cultural diversity. As our writer TOBIAS OCHIENG reports, the Institution recently celebrated Cultural Week with spectacular showcasing of diversity.
Before the curtains fell to conclude this year’s annual cultural week on Saturday June 24, 2023, at dawn, TUM students in their hundreds waited eagerly for one major announcement: new Miss TUM and Mr TUM, which had drawn a tough contest with 12 competing in the finals.
The Master of Ceremony ultimately announced the new crown bearers as Ms. Rebecca Nyamoita as Miss TUM and Mr. Fred Ogengaas Mr. TUM amid claps and ululations in a fully packed Upper Pitch.
However, the weeklong cultural event had much more that were equally if not more exciting activities, as those who attended can attest.
This year’s cultural week had started in earnest on June 19. As it ended on Saturday morning in the chilling breeze, many felt it achieved its objective of celebrating our diversity and cultural heritage.
The University’s main campus was alive with activities that showcased the rich traditions, practices and talents of various communities within the TUM.
As in previous years, students seized the moment to demonstrate their communities’ cultural practices, norms, beliefs, values, sportsmanship, modelling prowess, muscle flexity and more.
The event commenced with an opening ceremony led by Professor Peter Gichangi, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) in charge of Academic Research and Extension.
The DVC’S presence set the mood and stage for an exciting week ahead, highlighting the University’s commitment in embracing the cultural diversity in the institution.
The community category was a highlight of the Cultural Week, with each community showcasing their distinct language, attire, cuisine (kitchen ability-food preparation, dish), music, and cultural practices. The represented communities included the Aembu, Ameru, Akamba, Agikuyu, Luo, Kalenjin, Samburu, Abagusii, Taita, Mijikenda, Luhya, Maasai, Turkana, Somali and many others.
Luhya community defeated all after they were crowned as the best community while the Ameru community claimed the second runners-up position, followed by the Agikuyu who secured the third runners up spot. The Luhyas exhibited the most rich cultural heritage impressing the judges for the win.
Sports enthusiasts witnessed fierce competition during the week, culminating in an epic football match. The fans to the matches were so passionate and the contest so intense that a passerby could easily think people were watching a contest between Manchester City, the treble winners against Real Madrid, the fourteen times champions league winners.
The Muslim Union FC emerged victorious, defeating Kogallo TUM FC three against two (3-2) in the penalty shootout. The best team was awarded thus claiming the title of the best football club in the entire Technical University of Mombasa.
Kogallo TUM FC team and their fans could take days to heal the pain of the dismal loss especially because they believed they were invincible only for the Muslim Union FC to work miracles with their unbelievable attack skills without losing composure.
Witnessing the trophy going to the Muslim Union FC left Kogallo TUM FC with only a dream that come 2024 they would make a rebound with vengeance. The day was characterized by unending tears from the Kogallo teammates, the Board and the fans as well. They watched in disbelief with the poignant question lingering in their minds: How did the mighty Kogallo TUM fell?
Clearly the results betrayed both imaginations and ambitions of their supporters. They could not believe that the trophy had gone to the ‘under-dogs’ that is, Muslim Union FC. In fact, the coach and the players dropped on their knees in supplications. But now the event is over, and that is the nature of sports.
The modeling aspect of the event was more glamorous, as it added more taste and style to the Cultural week. Participants showcased their talents in five categories: vintage wear, creative wear, cultural wear, beach wear and dinner wear. All these were aligned to the event’s theme “CREATING AWARENESS ON HIV AND AIDS”.
Mr and Miss TUM
Lydia Wanga was crowned ‘MISS CURVY’, while Immaculate Okello achieved the second runners up position. Brenda Magio claimed the runners up spot, leaving no doubt that the deserving winner of ‘MISS TUM’ was none other than Rebecca Nyamoita, who is pursuing a Diploma in Graphic Design.
In the highly anticipated ‘MR. TUM’ category, James Okuku secured the second runners up position, while Stephen Kioko impressed as the runners up. The title of “MR. TUM” was claimed by the outstanding Fred Ogenga, who captivated the audience and judges with his charisma and talent. Ogengo is a BTech student in Medical Engineering.
The two positions of MR. and MISS TUM attracted twelve contestants.
The outgoing Mr. and Miss TUM, Clement Otieno and Pretty Naroti respectively, graciously passed on their crowns and buttons to the newly crowned winners, Mr. Fred Ogenga and Miss Rebecca Nyamoita. The newly crowned members of the ‘palace’ expressed their confidence in their successor’s ability to elevate the Technical University of Mombasa Modelling Association to the new heights.
Meeting the celebrity
The event was elevated by captivating performances from renowned Kenyan artistes NDOVU KUU and FATHER MORE. Their rhythmic songs entertained the enthusiastic audience leaving them yearning for more.
The DJ in charge was also an experience hand in the music selection and mixing industry. He kept the show lively leaving fully engaged and aerated.
The Master of Ceremony, Tony Mwirigi, a well-known producer from TV 47, expressed his satisfaction with the event performances and pledged to support and promote some of the talented artists Technical University of Mombasa to venture into music.
Those interested in politics also got an opportunity to interact with some of the National Student Leaders, like Antony Manyara, the current chairperson of Kenya University Students Organization, the Pwani University Students Chairperson Allan Ochieng. Others included MKU and UON students’ leaders in Mombasa campuses.
The Technical University of Mombasa Students Association President, Kelvin Songa, got an opportunity to be appointed the Organizing Secretary of Kenya University Students Organization (KUSO).
TUMSA Massive Support
The TUMSA administration, led by the President, Kelvin Songa and his fellow event organizers, left no stone unturned in ensuring the success of CULTURAL WEEK.
Their careful planning and organizing helped in making the event highly successful. Many feel that effectiveness in line with the cultural week objectives of promoting unity and love in diversity.
The TUM’s ‘CULTURAL WEEK’ served as a remarkable platform for students to celebrate and embrace the diverse cultural heritage within the institution.
(Tobias Ochieng is a third year student pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Broadcast Journalism-BBJ)