LATA Is a group that has emerged to be loved by many in all corners of Lamu in recent years due to its efforts in dealing with the rampant decay in the local community.
Despite the Lamu Arts and Theater Alliance (LATA) group in the early years being given a different and unsatisfactory attitude to what seemed to be the same as sheltering drug users and other deviants, it is interesting that through such underground and confusing efforts, the community of Lamu has finally determined the importance of the group.
In recent years, the community is increasingly enjoying the results of LATA because it is clear that the group has made great strides in freeing young people from the grip of drugs and turning them into good citizens and patriots of the country.
The youth group based in Lamu Island has around 100 members who include artists of songs that include new generation music, gospel, taarab, kaswida, poetry and drama or acting which is the backbone of the group.
You will always find LATA members on stage singing, reciting poems or performing plays, most of their content aimed at condemning corruption in society, including drugs, extremism and terrorism, sexual abuse, illegal alcohol, mutilation, slander and softening the thresholds of a child’s education. women, especially early pregnancies, early marriages, among other sensitive issues facing the society of Lamu and Kenya in general.
The Lamu Arts and Theater Alliance (LATA) group was established in 2014 as a means of identifying and promoting various talents among the youth of Lamu.
The founder of LATA, Mr Said Ali Hassan says that what pushed them as the youth of Lamu to come together and form the group is due to the neglect that was being seen by the county and national governments in dealing with youth issues, especially artists in the area.
Mr Hassan maintains that despite their initial challenges, especially the lack of money and others, they are grateful that nine years later, the LATA group is growing and registering more young people who are motivated to develop and develop their talents.
He explains that what inspires them the most is how many young people are registering to continue the movement of the group are those who had previously lost their way to evil, especially drugs, knife crime, extremism and others.
Hassan says as soon as they join the group, the same young people change their minds and become good people, to an extend they are used as ambassadors to educate the community about the same evils that had previously hijacked their lives.
All these agendas are transmitted through poems, songs, acting on stage and many other methods of entertainment as long as the audience understands what is being touched and reprimanded.
“We started in 2014 as a minority. 9 years later, I am grateful that our LATA group has become an attraction for many young people. We are almost 100 members now. There are various artists, including musicians, singers, actors and others. The content in our poems, songs or performances focuses now on things that affect society. We condemn drugs, extremism and terrorism, gender and sexual violence, pregnancy and early marriage. I am grateful that through our efforts, society has been saved from evil. Even some of our artists are young people who were previously victims of drugs, alcohol and criminals with knives. Today they are good citizens and ambassadors to spread peace and encourage their fellow youth to stay away from evil, especially drugs and extremism,” said Mr Hassan.
It is due to this success that the LATA group being is used every time, whether it is at the annual event of Lamu Culture, national festivals such as Madaraka Day, Mashujaa Day, Jamhuri Day and others, where they have been given a chance to entertain the public on stage. an opening that helps these artists pass messages and warnings related to evils in society.
Ajwa Apiyo, 28, who is a mother of three children and a member of LATA, says that since she joined the group, her life has changed for the better.
Mrs. Apiyo was addicted to alcohol and cigarettes, a trait she said made her not a responsible parent.
She says she wasted many of her years in alcoholism, which left her children struggling.
“I am thankful that after following the presentation of poems and songs on the stage through the youth of LATA who were condemning evils, including excessive drinking, I left everything and ventured into the group. I am an actor and it is my third year now without tasting alcohol or cigarettes. LATA’s activities have enabled me to stop all the evils from ruining my life,” said Mrs. Apiyo.
Salim Hiribae, who is a poet and artist of the new generation in the LATA group, says that he too was previously trapped in drug addiction.
Hiribae, who is known by his stage name as ‘Prince Moha’, says that since he joined LATA, his life has been like a breeze.
“LATA helps keep us busy all the time and there is no more time to sit idle like the youth of today. I am an artist of songs and poems. My art is built on criticizing the evils in society. I no longer use narcotics. The direction of my life changed a lot since joining LATA,” said Hiribae.
His statement was supported by Rashid Ali and Yusuf Baishe who all agreed that through joining LATA, their lives have changed greatly and beautifully.