Festival Jiji ni Ya Who?

Jiji ni Who_2021 © Goethe-Institut

05.07.2021 - 31.07.2021

Alliance Française de Nairobi



The project Jiji ni ya Who? (Who does the City belong to?) is an initiative of the Alliance Française de Nairobi and the Goethe-Institut Nairobi, in partnership with the GoDown Arts Centre. It is supported by the French-German Cultural Fund that was founded in 2003 on the 40th anniversary of the Élysée treaty (signed in 1963 to establish a new foundation for French-German relations). The fund supports cultural and artistic projects that are put together by French and German cultural institutions in close cooperation with local partners. Jiji ni ya Who? will explore the relationship between the city inhabitants and their physical and social environment in the multi-cultural setting of Nairobi. It will aim to encourage inclusiveness and social change dialogues for creative, resilient, and happy cities. Even though the arts and culture are paramount to the livability and economic vitality of a city, they are often not intuitively brought into the conversations of Sustainable Cities and Communities of the future (Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11: Inclusive and Sustainable Urbanization being one of its targets). The active participation of residents in local cultural activities not only improves the quality of life and wellbeing (SDG 3) but also promotes a sense of belonging and citizenship. Cultural activities also present an avenue for inspiring participatory processes of reimagining the city for the better, of promoting informed urban development and of engaging the inhabitants in driving responsible and environmentally friendly changes. Jiji ni ya Who? is adapted from the successful ‘Nai ni Who?’ (Who is Nairobi?) project initiated by the GoDown Arts Centre to explore urban identity and space and celebrate Nairobi and its neighbourboods. 

5 – 31 July 2021 Alliance Française de Nairobi 

Moving in Nairobi is an exhibition that explores Nairobi from the eyes of four commuters as they walk, bicycle, boda bodas, take matatus, and hire Ubers around Nairobi. The sounds and sights of Nairobi come to life through time-lapse videos. 3.5 million people move through Nairobi every day. However due to the lack of coordinated transportation planning, urban traffic often grinds to a halt, leaving commuters stuck in hours of gridlock. The exhibition has been produced by the Civic Data Design Lab (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) which works with data to understand it for public good. The Lab seeks to develop alternative practices which can make the work they do with data and images richer, smarter, more relevant, and more responsive to the needs and interests of citizens traditionally on the margins of policy development.

5 – 11 July 2021 Alliance Française de Nairobi 


The project Sounds like a Pandemic? started in 2020 as a response to the outbreak of the Covid -19 Virus. In three phases (April 2020 - January 2021), 12 people ventured out to record the changing city. From Kikuyu to Kibera from Eastlands to Langata, sounds were collected and archived. During the project, the team asked writers and musicians to explore the recordings and share what they detected in them through their creative approach. SOUND OF NAIROBI is an open access archive of the sounds of Nairobi. It employs sound as a material that can be archived, researched, and explored as a source for information that can narrate the history of the city, now and in the future. It is intended as a resource for artists, researchers, recordists, and anyone interested in sound. The core team consists of Raphael Kariuki, Sophia Bauer, Brian Muhia and Kamwangi Njue.

Friday, 9th July @ 6pm Alliance Française de Nairobi

A live performance by the Orature Collective, adapted from the ‘Nairobi as a Just City’ Scenarios Project anthology, A.D.2070 - Nairobi was developed through Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Kenya’s (FES) Just City Project. The project engages the concept of a social and inclusive just city to promote urban social justice, equal distribution of opportunities, enhanced access to social space and happy, healthy and safe city. The story tellers will perform four possible scenarios of the future: the Brown City, the Red City, the Purple City and the Green City and invite reflection and discussion on different understandings of justice; and how that may inform ideas, policy and visions in creating the Nairobi we want of the future.

Saturday & Sunday, 10th and 11th July, 10am to 12pm Departing from the Alliance Française 

This is a walk especially designed for your ears. Every other sensory source is secondary, although we recommend keeping your eyes open throughout! You will find sounding encounters along the way. Some might be more obvious than others. Some are planned, some are not…
Bring your phones. Ear Maps will be provided.

Saturday, 10th July @ 2pm Mukuru


Remember the days when the Nairobi Dam, a reservoir storing water flows from the Ngong River, was a recreational place, popular for swimming, sailing, and fishing. How can we rehabilitate, restore, and manage Nairobi’s three main rivers (Nairobi, Mathare and Ngong) to enhance environmental quality, manage water pollution, and provide green public spaces for use and enjoyment of Nairobians? Join the Mukuru community and the local authorities as they share and discuss the challenges as well as the community and municipal actions being taken, need to be taken, for inclusive regeneration of river systems for urban, economic, and environmental transformation. 

Sunday, 11th July, 7 to 10am Departing from the Alliance Française

Explore Nairobi City’s heritage on a quiet Sunday morning with experienced and knowledgeable tour guides. Residents and visitors can choose to walk or cycle and discover the rich history of downtown Nairobi – buildings, monuments, geographies, and stories. From the Railways and its legacies to the Colonial Capital and the Municipality to the Eastern CBD.

Covid-19 safety and hygiene protocols apply.