by Muthoni Kimani
February 1, 2021
The global pandemic has affected the entertainment industry and not only here in Kenya but worldwide. Donnah Obera, a music promoter based in Norway is back home after a harsh year when the entertainment scene from which she makes a living went dead, making life miserable. She left her three children behind, which is her biggest worry now. She wonders how they will survive without her.
Like many promoters, since the Covid-19 pandemic struck early last year, Donnah, the brains behind the Obera X2 Entertainment, has not hosted a single event. Her annual Miss Curvy Curves beauty pageant that had become popular across Europe was cancelled. Her international concerts that would feature artists from across Africa and Europe could not take place either.
With no sign of the entertainment and hospitality industry getting back on its feet this year, Donnah, who left for Norway more than 10 years ago, and where she has been running a thriving business, threw in the towel and opted to return home for a fresh start. She says since Covid-19 restrictions were put in place, she never imagined the situation would last as long as it has.
She said; "Business was really good, as my events company was recognised among the best across Northern Europe. After hosting grand music events that featured some big names in Africa in 2019, it was clear my company was headed in the right direction, and I looked forward to more Business in 2020. But Covid had other plans,"
Donnah says having achieved most of her business goals in 2019; she had an expansion plan in the beginning of last year. She had events lined up back-to-back, across Africa and Europe.
"We were making a lot of money then. Concerts used to be booked to capacity and that means that tickets got sold out. All that is now history, as we have been out of Business since the pandemic began. In Norway, there is not a single sign that anything meaningful will take place there this year," Donnah said Kenyan marketing talent abroad was what inspired her into the Business.
"When I started my Business, I was inspired by all the talent we have in Norway and in Africa. My goal was to create a platform that would make some of our biggest names in entertainment more accessible,"
Artistes Donnah has hosted in Norway include Sauti Sol, Akothee and Eric Omondi. Her event business started with hosting musicians for weekend performances in different venues in Oslo. "When I started, I didn't need capital, all I had was my network. Apart from the concerts, the weekly gigs have also stopped," In 2019, she launched Miss Curvy Curve whose aim was to nurture plus size models.
"My plan was to help women like me who identify with the same issues and insecurities that I do," Donnah landed in Nairobi last week, and she says she is optimistic the industry will be kinder to her here even as the country continues to observe Covid-19 control measures.
"Establishing the same entertainment activities I undertake in Europe here is not as demanding as it would be elsewhere. With the little savings I am left with, I am coming up with a workable business plan that can yield good returns within a quick turnaround,"
Adding; "Most of the big artistes I used to fly to Norway are now right next to me and from my research, even with the Covid-19 pandemic situation, I understand entertainment events are viable since people are tired of staying home. From March, I believe the events industry will bounce back here and I am positioning myself for the fresh windfall,"
If things turn out as planned, Donnah says she has considered the idea of settling back home.
"The effects of the pandemic have made me determined to come back home. I'm trying to set up a business locally, it has already been registered, but I will keep my projects abroad even as I focus on the new ones here,"