Music as a Strategy of Youth Resilience in Dadaab Refugee Camp Kenya


Date of publication:  01 Jan 2014 Author:  Felix Kiruthu Publisher:  Research on Humanities and Social Sciences Publication type:  Report / Study / Data

"The Dadaab Refugee Camp is located in Garissa County in North Eastern Kenya. It comprises five separate camps for refugees, most of whom are Somali, although it is also home to other refugees mostly from the horn of African, including Ethiopia and Sudan. Given the difficult life in the refugee camp, residents lead a difficult life, but have devised ways of entertainment and expression of their fears, hopes and daily struggles through music. This study analyses the forms of music adopted by the youth in Dadaab. The themes in the music are interrogated as well as the crucial role this music plays in the context of the refugee situation.

As a conclusion, it is very clear |from the study| that in order to understand refugee vices in the form of music and dance, one must understand the circumstances that led to the influx of refugees into Kenya. While the elders respond to the refugee situation by remembering life in their homeland through music and dance, the youth who may not have recollection of life back in their original homeland respond differently. This can be seen in the rap, hip hop and reggae music of the Gambella youths from Southern Ethiopia. As Ntarangwi (2007) has pointed out, music and dance provides an important opportunity for the sharing of knowledge networks. The elders sing not only to provide entertainment, but also to entrench cultural values in their societies through music and dance. On the other hand, the youth hopes and ambitions are carried through their songs and dances. Their determination to keep track of hip hop, rap and reggae music, as well as their mode of dressing demonstrates that youth have a common identity with youths well beyond the refugee camps. Music and dance also helps to enhance a message of hope, while providing useful education. Nevertheless, the youth in Dadaab are not homogeneous. While some embrace Christian gospel songs, others are Muslims and they mainly prefer to sing and listen to Muslim music, whose rythms are slower as opposed to reggae and other forms of music" (copied from the article).

Keywords: refugees, Dadaab, camps, resilience, well being, music, dance

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