It’s a slow Tuesday at work and I’m staring at this particular Instagram profile trying to work up the courage to slide into this DM. Thing is, I’m not the best at introducing myself to people and so I’m honestly wondering how I’ll start this conversation; because all we’ve done up to this point is like each other’s posts and return the occasional high-fives on mutual friend’s posts.

See being on your social media feeds feels like a flurry of activity that you get to dumb-scroll through. It almost feels like you’re surrounded by all these people who you don’t quite know, living different lives and showing you everything about their lives; from their breakfast, to their outfits of the day, to their kids pictures; and it’s all really great! But once you click on that ‘message’ icon, it suddenly gets very quiet and very still, almost as if its just the two of you in a secluded room staring at each other. And deep down you know your English is going to walk out the door like she always does when you need her to understand commitment.

. . . It’s just me, and my DM. . .still staring at each other, while I nervously pick at the skin on the edge of my thumb.

Here’s where I’ll add that this 21st century business of shooting shots is new to me. Listen, sir, ma’am – if I so much as like two of your pictures from 2015, please for the love of everything holy, please consider it a marriage proposal? Please. Act like you noticed that I took up time travel on your home page.

So with various tunes ringing in my head from “if we die we die” to ‘Yesu ni Bwana’, I begin typing my message. I purposefully make it short and sweet and get straight to the point. If they ask me where I got this audacity from, I’ll happily blame it on their Instagram biography that reads:

‘To feature, DM or Tag. No we don’t charge’

I send my message at 12.37 P.M.

They respond at 3.19 P.M. with these words:

“Our answer is yes. Always is a yes. That’s our little thing – getting info about creative arts out.”

Safe to say the conversation went better than I expected it to go!


Allow me to give you a little backstory to this whole engagement.

So I sing (ha!); and I released a single titled ‘Grown’ in October 2020. My marketing plan for the single included reaching out to media companies for press coverage to cover the song’s release; and HapaSawa were on my list. I had, however, known of Hapa Sawa way before the single release because our profiles i.e. our ArtLawKenya Instagram profile and theirs had had several earlier interactions; not to mention the fact that we’d been quietly following the work they did. Therefore, the message I sent them had been a feature request.

Something amazing happened once we got to talking.

We soon realized that we had a lot more in common than we thought possible, with the most outstanding similarity being our collective desires to make a positive impact within the creatives arts industry in Kenya.

We felt, therefore, that we needed our readers, you lovely lot, to meet them too.

So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, we give you HAPA SAWA!


Q. Who is/who are Hapa Sawa?
. We are a family of now seven believers in art. We strive to grow the industry by relaying information about events within the space.

Q. When did you start doing this?
Our first Hapa Sawa post was shared on January 22, 2019 on Telegram.

K8 (aka Lady Photographer) spurred us to create an Instagram and Facebook page and we shared our first post on both platforms on January 29, 2019.

But as far back as 2015, we’d dabbled in art marketing. Hapa Sawa though, is a January 2019 baby.

from left to right: Amanya, Kui and Kate, part of the HapaSawa team.

Q. What inspires you to do what you do?
A. We believe in this industry. We see its immense potential. I think we’ve also grown to the point of not knowing how not to do it.

Q. What has been the most significant experience you’ve had working in the entertainment industry?
A. Personally, I’d say it’s getting a front-row seat as to how vibrant this industry is.

Think about it, our partiality is live acts and we share three to four events a day. That’s 90 to 100 a month. And these are those that we get in good time. By “good time” I mean at least the night before.

Here too lies our major challenge. Too many events are marketed last minute. Ambush, however, is not a marketing strategy. But problems, we believe, are meant to be surmounted.

Q. There have been many complaints about how the industry is run in this country and how Kenyan artists are treated. What do you have to say to this?

A. In Kenya, mistreatment is a lifestyle. We wouldn’t have the leaders we have if we hadn’t internalized their values.

Lakini hatutashinda hivi. In Martin Luther King Junior’s words, the long arc of history bends towards justice. Let’s remember that. Despair is not an option

and the people said amen…

Q. What are you doing in your capacity to change this narrative?
We have values that guide us. That inform what we do. Our most basic is kujengana (thank you Krysteen Savane). That’s why we don’t charge. Money is power. By charging we’d get money, in the short run, but lose our power in the long run.

Q. Where do we see you, as HapaSawa, in the next 5/10 years?

A. Did you just ask this amidst the Corona uncertainty? (I did.)

If we could build a community that changes the narrative in the industry, our work will be done. If we grow to the point that an artist says she got her break thanks to Hapa Sawa. Our work will be done.

As at now though, we hope we are and will be changing for the better the narrative in the industry. Wakenya tujifunze kutendeana mema.

A question that’s often asked is if we don’t charge, what then? But we believe there are two ways of looking at a company – how profitable it is and what value it adds. We’ve chosen to go with free with a view to adding value.

Our major challenge is to be useful enough to still be around five, let alone ten years down the road.

Q. Very well put. To close, what is the one thing you’d like your followers and our audience to know about you that we won’t get on your website ?

There are some posts you won’t see on our feed. Our values don’t allow us to associate ourselves no matter how small we are with a celebrity or venue that’s misogynistic. And these social media streets are tragically full of that.

We can’t live in a society where everything goes. We must have values. We must have things we stand for. This we strongly believe in. More than anything, this is what makes us think we shall win.

The darkest hour is before dawn. But morning comes. Keep the faith. Trust the process. Stay true to yourself.


To find out more about HAPA SAWA, please visit their website where they’ve got all their contact information if you would like to notify them of your upcoming gig or even if you’d want to know what’s happening around these Nairobae streets.

We also HAVE to mention that they turned two this past Friday 29th January 2021! And so birthday wishes are in order. Want to know the best part? We’re teaming up with them to bring you amazing stuff real soon so keep an eye out for this.


Immaculate Juma is an Advocate (of the High Court of Kenya) and a creative whose inclination towards the arts has largely influenced her practice in areas of law including Intellectual Property Rights and Management, Music and Entertainment Law, Art Law, Privacy and Image Rights, Software licensing and Employment Law. She completed her Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from The University of Nairobi and has previously worked at Mohammed Muigai Advocates, J. Louis Onguto Advocates and the Karen Village Arts Cultural and Heritage Centre. Additionally, she holds a Certificate in Copyright Law from Harvard Law School from the CopyrightX Program; a distance-learning initiative of Harvard Law School and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Naftal Mageto Momanyi

    ARTLAW KENYA’s initiative of Artists documention program is key most tool for the promotion and marketing of Kenyan Art globally.

    I fully support and encourage for a full publication of maybe a monthly ARTLAW KENYA review featuring documented Artist’s work as a subject of artistic review.

  2. Hapa Sawa

    First, Immaculate, you write so well.

    Second, shame on us for not thanking you sooner for the feature.

    Thank you so much ArtLaw Kenya. We look forward to fulfilling our mutual dreams. It’s an honour to team up with you.

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