The Masaka Kids Africana group of Ugandan children. Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: The globally acclaimed Masaka Kids Africana group of Ugandan children aged two and above are bringing their soulful tunes and dance moves to inspire audiences of all age groups at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF 2023).

The 14th edition of the annual festival will stage multiple performances led by the young Ugandan artists during the 12-day festival which runs in Expo Centre Sharjah from May 3-14 under the theme ‘Train your Brain’.

The group boasts a following of 3.45 million subscribers on YouTube, 7.8 million followers on Instagram, and 5.5 million followers on TikTok.

This young artistic ensemble is one of the 900 plus offerings that define SCRF’s packed and diverse programming agenda for this edition, which has been carefully designed by the organisers, Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), to showcase the cultural diversity that exists in the world, enabling visitors and families to learn more about different cultures, celebrate the talents of young people from around the world and promote the power of books and reading for all.

Heartwarming story

The multi-talented kids of Masaka Kids Africana who live the motto ‘Dance, Rise & Shine’ have a heartwarming story to tell, that is a touching example of how crisis can be turned into opportunity with grit, determination and creativity.

Hailing from Masaka, a district in central Uganda, the visiting members of Masaka Kids Africana are a group of 30 plus dancers, many of whom have lost one or both parents through the devastation of war, famine or disease. Founded in 2014 by Kavuma Dauda, a visionary local teacher from Masaka, the non-profit used dance and song as a medium of expression for these children, enabling them to connect to each other and the world, see their own potential, and have hope for their future.

Masaka Kids have performed on many international stages including at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the World Bank in Washington D.C., and the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia. They have also won several awards for their electric performances, including the 2021 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite African Social Star.

Cookery corner

Meanwhile, the popular Cookery Corner at the SCRF is gearing up to present a delectable global feast with 12 celebrated chefs and food experts from nine countries around the world.

As many as 30 culinary events will showcase the skill and passion of leaders of Arab, Asian, African and European cuisine, and will be staged through the festival

Maitha and Abdulrahman, the twin Emirati chefs. Image Credit: Supplied

Meet the chefs

Chef and author Ashia Ismael from New Zealand, Priyanka Naik from India, Uma Raghuraman popularly known as ‘Masterchef Mom,’ Ana Ortins from the US, Fatina Al Daher, a famous chef from Lebanon, Moroccan chef, TV presenter and author of 5 cookbooks, Assia Othman, Anto Cocagne, a Gabonian chef based in Paris, as well as Maitha and Abdulrahman, twin Emirati chefs famous for being the youngest to receive diplomas from the International Centre for Culinary Arts in Dubai, and will take SCRF 2023 visitors on culinary journeys of various countries.

Workshops for kids

A new and exciting addition to the SCRF cookery corner, ‘Cookery Workshops for Kids’, will bring young culinary enthusiasts together with participating chefs and experts who will teach them how to fix their own lunch boxes as well as make simple and healthy dishes. Children can also partake in chocolate making lessons, whip up delicious ice creams and the famous Japanese cheesecake.

SCRF 2023 will feature 1,732 events led by over 457 guests from 66 countries. The event includes 136 performances ranging from theatrical shows, dance shows, mobile shows, and symphonic singing performances