First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has advised parents to stop imposing careers on the youth and allow them the freedom to pursue their talents especially in the creative arts.
She said time had come to change conventional thinking that certain disciplines such as law, engineering, medicine and teaching make great careers.
The First Lady said millennials (adolescents reaching adulthood in the early 21st century) should be allowed to earn their living through pursuits they are passionate about.
“Many times, we have imposed careers on our children; we have pushed them to consider becoming engineers, lawyers, doctors or teachers – anything that, to us, has spelt decent employment,” said the First Lady.
“Our youth want to earn a living quite differently. They want to pursue their passion and I urge us not to fight them,” she continued.
The First Lady spoke when she opened the inaugural Arts and Financing Conference at a Nairobi hotel. The conference brings together stakeholders in the arts industry covering writers, musicians, dancers, Disc Jockeys, sculptors and those in the finance industry including representatives from the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).
“Art and sports as a viable and sustainable investment”, is the theme of the two-day conference.
The First Lady said, as an investment, art has the potential to become a major contributor to the country’s economic development especially in providing direct jobs to the youth.
“We are here to affirm the potential of the creative sector as an important source of development,” said the First Lady adding that time is long gone when parents used to be apprehensive about the viability of the creative arts as an economic pursuit.
The First Lady said art in its various forms, creative or expressive, is a commodity with the power to unite people in a shared journey of aesthetic appreciation and interpretation.
She said besides being powerful, creative arts can have real and lasting meaning beyond the money it earns.
The First Lady said art empowers communities by changing the way we view the world.
“Art is a mirror of reality; it beckons us to examine the world around us and to consider what our relationship with the environment is,” she said.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta applauded the organisers of the conference for their boldness in investing in an initiative that will change people’s thinking of creative arts in the country.
“This forum has opened a new horizon of possibilities. It acknowledges the creative sector as a formidable source of revenue, a source of endless economic opportunity, and a source of jobs for our youth. It can be a profitable, permanent and satisfying career,” the First Lady said.
She applauded the NSE for considering the creative industry as a partner in raising capital to expand investment in the country and called for more such partnerships to create the needed convergence between creatives, collectors and investors.
“I encourage our robust private sector to invest in the creative sector, to invest in our youth to help them build robust and sustainable business cases,” she said.
The First Lady congratulated the Ministry of Sports and Heritage, represented at the conference by CS Amina Mohammed, for supporting the new initiative.
She said the initiative also resonates well with Kenya’s Vision 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals.
Others who addressed the conference included Amb Amina, the Principal Secretary for Culture and Heritage Ms Josephta Mukobe and the Art and Work Founder and Chief Executive Roy Gitahi.