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ROFFEKE is proud to partner with Additude Africa

ROFFEKE is proud to partner with Additude Africa
"Additude Africa promotes time credits as a means of encouraging the youth to be involved in community building activities in order to add a new dimension in their lives and make a positive contribution to their communities."

ROFFEKE is proud to partner with

ROFFEKE is proud to partner with
"Looking for a way to pitch your idea for a television show or movie? offers a next generation platform for creators of original ptiches for TV, film and digital media to connect directly with Hollywood producers and studio executives."


Friendship (networking), Fun (experimentation), Freedom (purpose, empowering, transparency)


ROFFEKE logo by Jozie of Kenyan band 'Murfy's Flaw'

ROFFEKE is a member of the Universal Film and Festival Organization

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Comments on "The ABC of ROFFEKE" Screenings (September 2015 at iHub)

I liked all the films especially the one for Superman [“This is Joe”] and the last one which was longer [“ Frontman ”]. I look forward to at...

The Indie Bible

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Public Participation Workshop (2023) and ROFFEKE Conference (2020)

In 2020, during the Covid Pandemic, I (Mildred Achoch) organized an online ROFFEKE Conference where various players in the Kenyan rock community shared their triumphs and challenges. On June 19th and 20th, 2023, I attended a Public Participation workshop organized by KICTANET and ICNL. The workshop was informative and hands-on and it inspired me to go back and reflect on the 2020 ROFFEKE Conference in light of Public Participation principles.

Below is my preliminary attempt. The goal is not perfection, rather, it is to begin putting into practice what I learned during the workshop.



“Cost of equipment. This equipment is not cheap…the cost of insurance is also very high…it is difficult for artists to buy the equipment, store the equipment, maintain the equipment and pay for insurance…” - George Gachiri, rhythm guitarist of Kanyeki. Also guitarist of Hybrid Intuition.(Minute 5:16)

  • Policies about instruments?
  • National Creatives Summit : review of policies and legal instruments. Progress of policy reviews?

“The main challenge we face as a band that plays predominantly rock music is that…you are competing with other genres…If other genres of music have a larger audience, that means from a marketing standpoint, you find radio station playing them…” – George Gachiri, rhythm guitarist of Kanyeki. Also guitarist of Hybrid Intuition.

  • Summit: digital platform for creatives.
  • When?
  • Process of submitting creative work?
  • Guidelines to reduce bias and discrimination?

“It’s not easy to shoot [music videos] in Nairobi. Getting permits is a problem. With “Hello Light” we went at night… set up quickly, shoot and move out before anyone notices anything…if you wait to get all the permits, it’s just too much of a process.” – Murfy’s Flaw. Question 5, minute 1:18

  • Governor Sakaja: permission for filming to be done in Nairobi. 
  • Is it actually safe to do so or will there be running battles with Kanjo? (“Sakaja waives permit fees for photographers and filmmakers in Nairobi. September 28th 2022, “Sakaja stated that he was keeping his promise to the creative economy to make a living without being harassed by authorities.”

“…support or finances to foot the video-shooting bill.” – James, Lead singer of Kanyeki. (Minute 3:11)

Wishlist: Soundtrack for film and TV. “It would be a great thing to have bands’ music playing to support the local scene.” –Cyrus, Kanyeki drummer. (Minute 2:19)

  • Creatives summit: free legal services. (Minute 1:10:01 and 1:11:26) 
  • Process of accessing legal services?


Sunday, June 4, 2023

Interview: Martin H. Samuel - Award-winning songwriter born in Kenya

Mildred Achoch: We met via You commented regarding my contest "The African Roots of Rock ‘n' Roll": 'Pleased to virtually meet a fellow Kenyan… I was born in Mombasa, started playing drums at an early age and proud of my band's commemorative brick, 20 rows directly above 'John', in the Liverpool Cavern Club Wall of Fame.'

Apart from your memories of being abducted by a monkey and enjoying the spectacle of flamingos in Nakuru, what other memories do you have of Kenya, especially memories related to music?

MARTIN H. SAMUEL: Some time after the monkey episode, we visited Lake Victoria where I waded out 'til the water was over my head and my Mother had to rescue me as my Father, who wasn't afraid of crocodiles, couldn't swim!

In Nairobi, as we lived nearby what was then known as the Coryndon Museum, I went there frequently and met Mary and Louis Leakey who invited me into their laboratory to show me what they were working on.

How cool was that!

The couple asked me (and my pals) to collect anything that hopped, skipped, jumped or crawled, which we did, and donated to what was to become the Nairobi Snake Park.

Other than my first gig as a drummer in kindergarten, my musical memories of Kenya have unfortunately faded... except for... when I was in the cubs, one 5th of November, Nairobi-born Roger Whittaker was hired to entertain the pack.

We were seated on the ground around him (having 'dibbed' and 'dobbed') and after each song I would light a coloured firework-type phosphorous match ~ on which he commented.

I may even have started the later trend of flicking lighters at concerts!

Mildred: You started playing drums at an early age. Was that a natural inclination or were you encouraged by a mentor?

Martin: Definitely a natural... I always knew I was a drummer.

Not only do I have as close to perfect time as any man can have, I can play differing tempos with my hands and feet at the same time and keep them in time (or not).

It's totally useless unless considered some odd form of jazz!

No mentor per se but, as a kid, I learned orchestration, such as it was, by jamming with the locals who taught me not to 'step on the toes', musically-speaking, of other musicians.

In other words, play your part, nothing more nothing less, at the correct time, never earlier nor later and, especially, if it's not called for, don't play.

Mildred: Good advice! Did your parents encourage you and if so, how? Was there anyone who discouraged you from playing drums and how did you deal with that?

Martin: No encouragement at all in the beginning... years later, they bought me my first and second drum set.

Being ambidextrous, I set my first drums up right-handed but left-footed!

When I saw a photo of Ringo behind the drums with The Beatles I thought, 'Something looks odd here' and switched mine to right-footed.

Only to find out, Ringo is left-handed but plays a right-handed drum kit.

At first, my parents were disappointed in my career choice but, as I explained to them, it's not a 'choice', it's a 'calling'... you either have it or you don't.

Mildred: Why was your band (Heatwave) honoured specifically at the Liverpool Cavern Club Wall of Fame?

Martin: The original Cavern Club honoured every Artist who 'walked the boards' (performed there) between certain years and, having played there for an entire week in 1970, we received our very own personal brick.  By coincidence, our lead guitarist was from Liverpool.

Mildred: You were interviewed by Frank Carlyle on the Frank Carlyle Show in 2016. You recounted your experience playing again at the Cavern Club, saying that you couldn't quite remember exactly how the songs went but you gave it your own unique spin and played your version, and that ultimately, it was about having fun. ROFFEKE's motto is "Friendship, Fun, Freedom". In your opinion, how important is it to have fun, not only in playing music or pursuing any other passion but also in life in general?

Martin: The band leader, whom I'd not met before, kicked off every song without telling me what the band was about to play... it may be a tradition as, in my experience, drummers are not considered musicians!

I had heard most of the songs and had even played some previously, but it was all so long ago, however, we must have sounded OK as the dance floor filled instantly on every song and even the doorman abandoned his position and came downstairs to listen.

It is my belief we're all born with a built-in 'Fun Meter' which should be checked fairly frequently as, if we're not having fun, what's the point?!
One should not expect 'said meter to constantly be in the red (Fun zone) but, if it rarely is, then something needs to be changed for the better.
That writ, I wrote a silly song called 'Fun With You': 
Also, a song about Freedom:

Mildred: According to your LinkedIn profile, you have won many songwriting competitions. What's your secret?

Martin: Dedication, determination, persistence, a way with words (as a lyricist) and a 'good ear'.

Mildred: Any tips for budding songwriters?

Martin: Follow your heart, do what floats your boat (even if you're landlocked).
If a composer writes for anyone/anything but him/herself, he/she's doomed him/herself to disappointment... even then, when writing for oneself, there's no guarantee you'll be appreciated or recognised.
Rick Nelson said it best in 'Garden Party'... "You can't please everyone so you got to please yourself."

Co-writing, as I have done and still do, is a major plus as two, or more, heads and hearts can (sometimes) be better than one.
e.g., Lennon & McCartney, Bacharach & David, Goffin & King, Gilmour & Waters, Holland–Dozier–Holland, Jagger & Richards, Leiber & Stoller (some of my favourite songwriters).

If any Kenyan composer cares to collaborate, I'm always up for co-writing.

Mildred: In your opinion, what makes a great song?

A lyric the audience can relate to/identify with, or tells a good story and a memorable melody over a catchy beat.

Mildred: What would you say are your top ten favourite songs of all time?

Martin: Aaaaagghhhhh!!!!!

OK, here's five of mine followed by five by others... in alphabetical order: 
'Can't Stay Mad', written/recorded solo and aired on the BBC. 
'Heart Full Of Love', co-written with and recorded by Lisa Nemzo. 
'If Love Makes The World Go Round', co-written with John Franta, recorded by Brion Bell. 
'Slave To The Grind', written about my Father who worked for E.A.R. & H. and my Mother, secretary to the Speaker of the House in Nairobi Parliament, co-written with Brian Hadley.
Be My Rock’, co-written with Renard Cohen, recorded by Ms. Nancy Reed: 

'A Whiter Shade Of Pale', co-written by Brooker & Reid (and Johann Sebastian Bach), recorded by Procol Harum.
'Over The Rainbow', co-written by Arlen & Harburg, sung by Judy Garland.
'She's Leaving Home', co-written by Lennon & McCartney, recorded by The Beatles.
'Sultans of Swing', by Mark Knopfler, recorded by Dire Straits.
'Time', co-written by Waters, Gilmour, Wright & Mason, recorded by Pink Floyd.

Mildred: Your views on artificial intelligence?

Martin: The name says it all... artificial!
No thank you.
Referring to AI, Alan Turing, 'Grandfather' of the computer, said, "If a machine is expected to be infallible, it cannot also be intelligent."
I believe the reverse is also true, 'If a machine is expected to be intelligent, it cannot also be infallible.'

Mildred: Any tips or advice for Kenyan rock bands?

Martin: Draw on local music and make it your own – e.g., if Paul Simon had not visited South Africa, he may never have heard and used their rhythm(s).
Do it for love, as in a labour of, or don't do it at all.

Links to me and some of my music:
Heatwave: (Here and Here)
Bright Eye Band: (Here, Here and Here

Sunny 'n' the Cut: (Here

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Africa Day, Africans Rising, Borderless Africa, Mastercard Edtech event at Ihub, African Diaspora

On 25th May, Africa Day is celebrated in Africa and all over the world. I first celebrated it in May 2019, when I attended “Google’s Africa Day Outreach: Creative Bootcamp” at Nairobi Garage. 

I'm in the purple checked sweater.

In 2023, ROFFEKE celebrated Africa Day with Africans Rising under the theme of “Borderless Africa”. The ROFFEKE Borderless Africa YouTube playlist features short films and music videos submitted to ROFFEKE since 2015, that have been created by or feature Africans in the continent or in the diaspora. 

The Kilimanjaro Declaration 2.0 was adopted on 31st August 2022 in Arusha Tanzania. In the declaration, the 2022 All African Movement Assembly (AAMA) declared that:

1. Africa is a rich continent, and her wealth belongs to all her people. We commit to fight for economic justice qualified by socio-political development.

2. Africans have a diverse, rich, and powerful heritage that is important to heal ourselves and repair the damage done by neoliberalism to our humanity and environment. Being Africans and embracing African philosophies such as “Ubuntu” are sources of our pride.

3. African youth and women are a critical foundation for building the success of our continent and must play a central role in building the Africa We Want for Unity, Justice, Peace and Dignity. We are committed to building an intergenerational dialogue and strategic collaboration with our elders to advance a shared vision.

4. Africa’s diaspora, whether displaced through slavery and colonialism or part of modern-day migration occasioned by political, economic and climate change factors, is part of Africa’s history and future. We commit to ensure that their reservoir of knowledge, skills, resources and passion are part of advancing Africa.

Also on Africa Day, I attended (virtually) an event titled “The African Diaspora, Trade, and Investment Symposium”. The event’s YouTube video description: “This #AfricaDay, OECD Development Centre and Minnesota Africans United are gathering investors, policy makers and diasporic groups, to share examples of the many ways African #diasporas engage in private sector development to the benefit of both “mother” and “new” home countries.”

The next day, on 26th May, I attended Mastercard Foundation’s EdTech event that was held at iHub. In the past, iHub has played a role in helping ROFFEKE achieve its mission of promoting rock music in Kenya via film. In September 2015, ROFFEKE held a screening of short films and music videos at iHub. Read some of the attendees' comments HERE

ROFFEKE is passionate about education. On January 24th 2023, ROFFEKE commemorated Education Day with a document highlighting the knowledge shared by ROFFEKE alumni from all over the world. On January 24tth 2022, ROFFEKE commemorated Education Day with a report highlighting the hashtag #edumental which ROFFEKE first used at an Education Day event on January 20th, 2020, right before the pandemic. In that report, I wrote: 

“Why is ROFFEKE – a rock film festival – interested in education? There are many reasons but in short, education is part of the objectives of ROFFEKE. Also, education plays a crucial role in the achievement of ROFFEKE’s mission: to promote rock music in Kenya via film by dispelling rock ‘n’ roll myths and misconceptions.”

The main objectives of ROFFEKE are:

1. To showcase local and international rock ‘n’ roll films and music videos for the purposes of education and entertainment.

2. To organize workshops, forums and seminars related to various aspects of rock music and the film industry.

3. To provide a platform for emerging and established, local and international rock bands.

The Mastercard Foundation Edtech event was inspiring. I sat through the first few presentations by talented Edtech startups namely Snapplify, Easy Elimu, Funky Science, Silabu, Elewa, Arifu and Virtual Essence. Clearly, a lot is being done by Kenyan entrepreneurs to tackle the challenges of education in Kenya and Africa.

Later, as I was reflecting on all these events, I could not help but connect the dots. One speaker at The African Diaspora Trade and Investment Symposium, Christopher Brooks, is a venture capitalist of African descent with a passion for Africa. He pointed out that he was on the lookout for projects he could invest in. I strongly believe that the projects I saw during the Mastercard Foundation Edtech event are ripe for this kind of Afro-cenric investment. Christopher said:

“I have a bias when it comes to this kind of conversation. We invest in tech. We invest in tech specifically because it scales quickly, creates enormous value quickly and then when there is some sort of liquidity event or exit, you can redeploy the gains and it just becomes this ever-expanding economic pie. I’m a big believer in tech. Africa is actually producing right now some of the world’s best innovative technologies. (From minute 49:22 to 49:50)

At this African Diaspora Trade and Investment Symposium, I was inspired by all that the diaspora is doing to help Africa. However, as an African in Africa who sees a lot of opportunities in the “motherland” I begun feeling uncomfortable with the narrative of Africans always being recipients of aid, even if it is from fellow Africans. I asked via the Zoom Q and A feature: How can Africans also help Africans in the diaspora?

In the chat, I made a small contribution that challenged the narrative that African youth only want government jobs. While it is true that many Africans look to government jobs due to the stability they offer, many African youth are entrepreneurial, as evidenced by the Mastercard Foundation Edtech event. I pointed out in the chat that many Africans are interested in and are active in the creative economy.

“The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism triumphs in the West and fails everywhere else” by Hernando de Soto was mentioned by Christopher Brooks. He said: “What I learned as I read that book was that talent is equally distributed among the human population but opportunity is not.” (From minute 40: 49 to 41:08)

I would argue that even this lack of many opportunities in Africa…is actually an opportunity!

Christopher Brooks went on to say: “Our venture capital firm has the goal of creating a world where transformation capital is accessible to all not just to some so that is how we invest. We find really great entrepreneurs of colour with really great ideas and we deploy strategic capital in the right amount at the right time to help those entrepreneurs scale their businesses and eventually exit their businesses creating brand new economic value." (From minute 42:52 to 43:17)

He also said: “I wanna actually go a couple of layers deeper than the current conversation. When Africans were imported to America as slaves, we were told, we black people, were told that we were not fully human. America told black people that they were three-fifths human, and that meta-narrative of less than human has been indoctrinated in people throughout American history." 

(Check out "ROFFEKE University: Lesson 1 - Slave Trade, The Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll" and “Of 'African' Products and 'Mzungu' Music”)

"So one of the things that we must do, we all must, even members of the diaspora, must examine our worldview and ask ourselves, do we really believe that talent is equally distributed across the world, because in many nations, especially developed nations, we’ve been taught that talent is not equally distributed. We’ve taken this darwinistic approach, survival of the fittest, and we’ve basically said that the developed nations are the fittest, the nations that are developing or less developed are not as fit, are not as smart, are not as good, and that is just diabolical and patently untrue. I think the root, the foundation of any solution that has to do with the continent of Africa must be, Africans are brilliant. Africans are capable. Africans are investment-ready. Africans have the best solutions for Africa. If we really believe that, even those of us who are members of the diaspora, we will continue to tap into the genius of the African people that live on the African continent and we will build a better society because it will be deeply informed by those who live and breathe the African air every single day. That’s how we at Brown Venture Group and that’s how I as an individual investor and practitioner look at the world and that’s how I’m approaching the work. The best solutions for Africa come from Africa.” - Christopher Brooks. (From minute 1:06:14 to 1:08:00)