Kenyans dusted their dancing shoes last night as they congregated in various entertainment spots across the country to usher in the New Year.
After a quiet New Year’s eve in 2020 due to Covid-19 containment measures, this time, revellers were free to spend the night in their place of choice after President Uhuru Kenyatta lifted the curfew and reopened nightclubs.
In Nairobi, dancehall music fans came out in huge numbers to usher in the New Year with music from Jamaican dancehall sensation Charly Black at the Ngong Racecourse.
He performed for hundreds of youths who cheered him as he belted out his hits including Party Animal, Tan Tuddy, Hoist and Wine among other tracks.
Gengetone artists Trio Mio and Exray curtain raised for Charly Black charging up the crowd.
The music flowed throughout the night as youths welcomed the New Year.
The situation was no different in the country’s newest city –Nakuru- as well as other towns in the Rift Valley region which came to life at night as residents welcomed the new year in style.
As it had been the tradition before Covid, Kenyans gathered in different churches and entertainment joints to usher in the New Year with friends and family.
Fireworks, dance and worship marked the dawn of 2022 within Nakuru town.
Hundreds of Christians also thronged various worship centres for prayers while revellers were spotted in their favourite entertainment joints merrymaking.
At Kingdom Seekers Church, thousands of congregants from different parts of the county turned up for prayers to usher in New Year with praise and worship.
Apostle John Kimani urged Christians to pray for the country now ahead of the electioneering period.
Still, in Nakuru, Repentance and Holiness ministry faithful led by the Prophet David Owuor congregated at the ASK showground main alter to usher in the New Year after winding up their meeting at the Menengai grounds.
Different entertainment joints within the town were full as people rediscovered their new year eve’s dance moves.
Faithful thronged at various churches in Elburgon as they ushered to the New Year.
A spot-check done by the Nation.Africa showed that all the churches in the area were full as worshippers and followers braved the cold as they celebrated to welcome the new year.
At Talents Revival Church, it was all song and dance after midnight.
"We have praised and rejoiced because in 2020 when the first case and outbreak of Covid-19 were reported, we did not attend the church for a similar ceremony of celebrations since the government had imposed a nationwide curfew to prevent the spread of the virus," said Ms John Mbugua, a faithful at the church.
In Narok, several people gathered in different spots to welcome the year 2022 with most gatherings not observing coronavirus containment measures.
Revellers cheered and shouted out as fireworks lit up the skies from various spots to signal the beginning of a new year.
At the Arena spot club, The Elevate and Mara Frontier nightclubs, hundreds of locals broke into songs and danced at midnight as fireworks illuminated the skies.
The town was overflowing with people on New Year’s eve with boda boda riders staging their own show along the Narok-Bomet highway hooting and shouting.
Those we interviewed in different joints, among them Nick Ole Murero, were upbeat that the year 2022 will be fruitful.
“We have been restrained to a lot of ventures by the coronavirus pandemic for the second year running, we expect this year will be a year of liberation for this country and we will conjure this pandemic once and for all,” said Mr Murero.
At the Full Gospel Church in Majengo estate, Bishop George ole Torome was optimistic that the New Year will bring good tidings to the country, sentiments that resonated with other religious leaders.
In Samburu, locals converged in various places to usher in the New Year in style. While some chose to celebrate the New Year in churches and other places of worship, others, unlike last year, were in clubs, restaurants.
Revellers cheered and shouted out as fireworks lit up the skies in Maralal town to signal the beginning of the year 2022.
In his New Year message, Bishop Virgilio Pante of the Maralal Catholic Diocese urged locals to let go of the past and ask God for healing.
“I want to call upon Kenyans as we get into the New Year, let us forget the things that have happened. Let us embrace peace and harmonious living. Let peace prevail throughout the year," Mr Pante said.
He called on Kenyans to learn to forgive and forget.
In Mombasa, thousands of revellers trooped to hotels, nightclubs, churches and other tourism destinations to usher in the New Year in style.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho hosted the Governor’s Fireworks at the Mama Ngina Water Front where musicians led by Nyashinski, Redsan, Sudi Boy, Tanasha Donna, Susumila, Chikuzee, Ally B, Happy C, Femi One, Takers Dancers and King Kaka entertained hundreds of revellers.
Governor Joho said he held the entertainment to boost the industry that suffered a slump due to the Covid-19 containment measures.
“The artists will make a lot of money. This is also a way of unwinding from the stresses of life. But I urge people to be careful and take responsibility for this pandemic we are dealing with. This has been an annual event but we didn’t hold it last year (2020) due to the pandemic and the strict containment measures,” said Mr Joho.
In different churches across the region, the faithful ushered 2022 with worship and praise songs.
Religious leaders urged Kenyans to continue living in peace and harmony.
Jesus Generation Crusaders Mission church had a crossover celebration and thanksgiving service led by Archbishop Dr Jeremiah Mugondison.
At the Bibleway Ministries’ Mombasa Pentecostal Church, Bishop Tom Arati led the faithful in a crossover service.
Similar scenes were witnessed in Nyeri town where Kikuyu benga musician Evans Demathew entertained revellers at Joy Greens Resort to usher in the new year.
Reporting by Mercy Koskei, John Njoroge, Waikwa Miana, Geoffrey Ondieki and George Sayagie, Winnie Atieno and Francis Nderitu