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'BLESSED ONE'

African Children's Choir founder now a Maasai elder

African Children's Choir Founder Ray Barnett (Centre) with Maasai elders
African Children's Choir Founder Ray Barnett (Centre) with Maasai elders

Ray Barnett, African Children’s Choir Founder, was named Olomunyak, which means 'Blessed One' after being crowned Maasai elder at a ceremony in Narok.

The 82-year-old of Irish descent was acknowledged for his contribution to the improvement of the lives of Maasai children. His crowning also signified his integration into the culture and rites of the Maa community, and in particular the Siyapei Area Community, despite his race.

“I am honoured to be integrated with the Maasai, whose cultural beliefs and traditions have added to the wealth of Kenya’s heritage,” Barnett said.

The personalities he has nurtured include NTV News anchor Mark Maasai, Radison Blue chef Ben Waweru, USAid accounts executive Kyengo Kimolo and Oshwal Academy teacher Beth Atieno.

 

The African Children’s Choir programme promotes the beauty, dignity and unlimited ability of the African child around the world, providing for the children’s well-being and quality education by utilising the transformative power of music.

The children have been able to perform at historic events, such as 46664 AIDS Awareness Benefit Concert in honour of Nobel prize winner Nelson Mandela in 2007. They also performed for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at Commonwealth Day in London, England.

Alicia Keys sang with the choir at Black Ball Gala in 2009, and in addition, the choir has also performed alongside renowned celebrities, Jars of Clay, Michael W. Smith, Roger Whittaker, Maria Carey, Wycliffe Jean and Will Smith.