Launching this past Friday at the Michael Joseph Centre, with no voiceover to explain anything, the documentary tracks the Founder and Executive Director of One Vibe Africa, Simon Okelo’s journey in between Seattle and Kisumu.


Star Rating 4.5/5

“Utterly moving and empowering,”

Opening with amazing drone shots of Western Kenya, the documentary shot in Nairobi and Kisumu spotlights renowned Kenyan artistes: Sauti Sol (who were among the audience at the launch), Owuor Arunga, Sosuun and Nazizi (also in attendance). Ghanaian artiste Blitz The Ambassador and the founder of Sarakasi Trust, Marion Van Dijck. All the personalities featured in the documentary encourage self-reliance through creative collaboration.

“The vision for the documentary was to highlight the power of art and culture, systemic issues facing the African diaspora and what can be done when you empower a community,” notes Wael “L” Abou-Zaki the director and writer of ‘Madaraka.’

Highlighting several themes including self-empowerment and entrepreneurship, the powerful film produced by One Vibe Africa and Zaki Rose shapes the Kenyan narrative locally and abroad, perfectly documenting the beginnings and growth of One Vibe Africa from a Reggae Soundsytem Unit to an international organization.

The Founder and Executive Director of One Vibe Africa, Simon Okelo says, “I hope that ‘Madaraka’will inspire the youth to think for themselves and work together to grow their communities.”

The documentary wins for us because it is well produced, well researched, well intended … and a bit short, though! It was interesting watching workshops conducted by world-renowned artists and innovators especially in Kisumu. Blitz dancing with the kids. Nazizi teaching the kids to sing.

Additionally, how it follows Simon as he displays key historical points of his journey, highlighting his childhood experiences as well as some of the activities and projects carried out by One Vibe Africa for the community is such a plus. In some ways, Okelo’s straightforwardly pleasant personality is refreshing on set.

The cinematography is perfect. It blends well with the story. Perhaps the next step of the documentary will be to focus on what empowerment can do to a community!

The Nairobi Horns Project (NHP) has a fresh sound and raw energy that has taken over Nairobi’s live music scene. The versatile instrumental group joined One Vibe Africa in support of ‘Madaraka’s launch, delivering at a special performance at the Nairobi and Kisumu launch events.