Associations Take Shape Among Kenyans in South Africa
With the intention of building an influence away from home, Kenyans in South Africa have come up to create a strong society that has vibrantly taken shape so far. The Kenya Diaspora Association of South Africa (KEDASA) made a stature for itself with a host of activities it carries out in the continent’s southern nation.
In the high-profile Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday celebration that was presided over by former United States President Barrack Obama, KEDASA drew the attention of the participants by carrying out different charity activities.
During the event, the organization made donations of cloths, foodstuffs and other items to the less privileged in Alexandra – an informal settlement in Johannesburg. The members relish the chance to put Kenya on the limelight away from home. “A good number of us are grateful for the opportunity to live and work in South Africa. We think it is important to recognize the opportunity,” says Mr Godfrey Kamatu, the association’s chairman.
Established in 2011 in Johannesburg, the association was started with the purpose to harness the collective savings, investments and to build a bargaining power for Kenyans living in South Africa for correlative economic benefits. “From the beginning, the intention was to create an umbrella body that would represent the interests of Kenyans,” says Mr Kamatu. This involved bringing together all societies, women and youth groups relating to Kenyans living in South Africa.
Mr Kamatu, who has been in South Africa since 2003, says the association is looking to foster unity among Kenyans abroad in a view to build stronger and more influential movement which will impact on both South Africa and Kenya.
They look to open up investment opportunities for South African firms in Kenya which is ready to tap on the investment capital to boost the economy. Mr Kamatu reveals that some of the KEDASA officials were involved in negotiating the establishment of a production plant in Nairobi by Volkswagen South Africa.
In liaison with the Independent, Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the association was also involved in a civic duty of mobilizing Kenyans to register and vote in last year’s General polls.