KISIMA Music Awards


The prestigious Kisima Awards was brought to being by two individuals. In 1994, Tedd Josiah and Pete Odera came together to form this award based event. When it started, it was focused on recognizing and awarding efforts in performing arts around business, educational circles. Held at Braeburn performing arts theater, the event started humbly by offering clay trophies. Down the line, the annual event moved to Carnivore Restaurant. In 1997 however, the event was discontinued for reasons best known to the company.

They came back in 2003 with a bang! Now supported by more sponsorship from private and governmental funds, the Kisima awards revamped their look. They introduced better voting systems and nominations processes ensuring transparency. Now their focus had shifted from the initial performing arts to musical talents only.

Kisima Awards had a vision of being one of the most recognized awarding systems in the East African region. They achieved this through the inclusion of various artists from the region. Ugandan and Tanzanian nominees were proud to receive these awards, helping the event to raise awareness of its existence. The event surely became recognized and attracted international performers to add to the festivities. Local artists recognized include Camp Mullah, Punit, Jose chameleon, daddy Owen, and Nameless just to mention.

The event started to face problems again from 2004 when controversial issues arose. The principle founder Tedd Josiah found himself under public scrutiny after getting “Producer of The Year”. There was speculation of the founder getting himself awarded and measures had to be taken. Tedd Josiah consequently resigned citing conflict of interest, stating that he had begged the panel not to include him in the nominations.

Industry titans like Acheing Abura spoke against the voting system the event had employed. The problem with the SMS based voting system was, it would allow one person to vote as many times as they so wished, implying that votes could be bought.

Another thing that fought the platform was that the awards were not monetized. The awards issued, especially the trophies were worth an estimated KSH 20,000. Considering that no one wants to get rid of physical symbols of their achievements, the musicians received no other benefits.

The show continued to struggle from that obstacle filled history. Finally, the last curtain call for the show happened in 2012 at the KICC. For many Kenyans who had gotten used to having the show around, it was a sad moment. It was also an awakening moment for those investing in award based event companies to think through their paces. The Kisima Awards company shall be remembered for its vibrancy.

In Kenya we need events like this to support our musical talent, but in turn, these companies need to think through the strategies they will use to bring long-term success. We do not want to witness other legends like Kisima just fading into the background. We miss you Kisima Awards, we hope you can be reincarnated to come back even stronger and colorful.


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Robert Janeson

Full Stack Digital Marketer, Music Industry Executive, Entrepreneur, CEO, Husband & a Father

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