After incurring Sh10 million in losses during the Coronavirus pandemic in Kenya, Fort Jesus has gotten a revamp. The Unesco World heritage site has received a 150 million injection towards the adoption of a new model to attract tourists.
The historic fort’s story will be retold using 3D Projection including mapping, holograms, lasers and magnificent fireworks at night. The new concept is in a bid to attract more tourists.
The Fort Jesus is located in Old Town, Mombasa and attracts both local and international tourists, researchers, students, historians and culturalists who come to learn about the rich history including the slave trade.
The Ministry of Sports and Cultural Heritage has partnered with Jays Pyrotechnics to tell the story of Fort Jesus every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays.
Jays Pyrotechnics director, Mrs Jayshree Suchack, says he was inspired by the rich history the facility holds after he visited two years ago. She then got the idea to revamp the place and consulted with archaeologists and creatives on the best way to do so.
“We wanted to enhance it so we immediately started researching on how to enhance it using our creativity to bring it out in an artistic way,” she told Smart Business during an interview in Mombasa.
Mrs. Sushack who is the only pyrotechnician in East African, said the show is similar to a 7D experience only comparative to Disneyland and the Universal Studios.
“In 2018, we gathered renowned archaeologists and historians to get the script right and started the production that we have now launched. We used Sh150 million for the production of the 40 minutes show,” she said.
“The light and sound multimedia show has recreated the 400 year rich history of the fort using holograms, 3D projection mapping, lasers and augmented realities.” Zameer Noorali, a master projection artist at Jays Pyrotechnics Limited said.
Portuguese officials and Sports, Heritage and Culture Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohamed, in November 2020 watched a huge 270-kilogramme firework blaze through Old Town skies after the show that depicted how the Portuguese captured Mombasa.
“We are re-enacting what happened at this fort. When you are watching the show, you will see how the Portuguese got here, what they did, why they built the fort in Mombasa and not anywhere else. The importance of Mombasa for colonisation by the British, we are bringing history to life with sound, light and technology,” said Mr Noorali.
Jays Pyrotechnics had plans to launch in 2020 but the Covid-19 pandemic proved to be a hindrance. Old Town also suffered the brunt of the pandemic as lockdown measures were effected following the high infection rate in the area.
“The show is only happening in the evening on those four days which we will bring both local and international tourists to come and enjoy. Locals are also invited. We will support local artistes from Old Town to come and perform. We want to revive the economy of Old Town. With this show Kenya will be the third world largest purchaser of fireworks in the world after the US government and Disneyland,” said Noorali.
The whole experience costs Sh1,500 per person, 20 percent of which goes to the Fort.
“The revenue coming from the show will pay salaries for the National Mesums of Kenya employees, their budgets can go into preservation of other arts, heritage sites instead of going into salaries. This is sustainable and has a lifespan of 99 years,” said CS Mohamed
She lauded the initiative, saying it would help tell Kenya’s story and popularize Mombasa as a popular tourist’s destination with rich culture and heritage.
Jays Pyrotechnics Limited has partnered with Singapore for a similar show at New Delhi and at Disneyland.