Inauma sana! Juliani mourns as Dandora HipHop City is demolished

Rapper Julius Owino, better known as Juliani, has mourned the loss of Dandora HipHop City after a government bulldozer brought down the storey building on Monday.

The project was home to a number of community projects run by the rapper including a music school, community radio HipHop City FM and a business incubation center for slum dwellers interested in education, arts, business, technology, renewable energy and environmental conservation.

“This is not the end but inauma sana! To think that we were working on expanding to the neighboring spaces and upgrading the facility,” Juliani said in a post on X.

Dandora HipHop City (DHC) stands just a few meters from the Nairobi River which cuts through the sprawling Dandora slum, making it an easy target during the ongoing demolition of buildings on riparian land.

Buildings on riparian lands in the neighboring slums such as Kariobangi, Baba Dogo, Gitare Marigo and Korogocho have not been spared either.

The demolitions followed a presidential order issued on April 30 by President William Ruto for people living in riparian areas to vacate in 48 hours starting May 1.

Speaking in Mai Mahiu, Nakuru County where he had gone to console with those affected by the mudslides, Ruto said the government will assist with the process.

Those affected by the forced vacations would be provided with temporary shelter, he said.

“We have agreed that those who are living near rivers in what we call the riparian reserves should vacate stating tomorrow, we will be issuing a notice,” the President added.

Come May 2, Interior CS Kithure Kindiki ordered the demolition of structures and buildings illegally constructed along riparian land near rivers following the lapse of the 24-hour ultimatum for voluntary vacation.

He said the directive would affect those living within 30 metres of Ngong, Mathare and Nairobi rivers.

“Pursuant to the relevant provisions of the Constitution of Kenya and National Land Legislation, it is hereby ordered that all persons residing within the 30-metre riparian corridor of rivers and other water courses across the country vacate immediately and in any case within 24 hours effective today, May 2, 2024 at 1830 hours, failing which they will be subjected to mandatory evacuation for their safety and their premises, whether for public or private use shall be removed,” Kindiki said.

The exercise, he said, would be spearheaded by a multi-agency team comprising the Nairobi Regional and County Security, the Nairobi City County Government and the Multi-agency Team under the auspices of the National Disaster Operation Center (NDOC).

Speaking in a past interview, Juliani said Dandora HipHop City was the brainchild of his strong will to empower and unit young people as demonstrated in one of his songs, ‘Kutabadilishwa na nani Kama si sisi’ (Who will change things if it’s not us?).

“We are putting our hands into an entrepreneurship and a development angle to try to use creativity to solve our problems,” Juliani said.

“Whatever you feel like doing, you can do here. If we don’t have what you need to help, we can figure out a partnership and friends to help us do it.”

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