• April 15, 2024
  • Last Update April 15, 2024 8:58 AM
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Ogiek community inaugurate first cultural center

Ogiek community inaugurate first cultural center

Narok,

Wednesday March 20, 2024

KNA by Ann Salaton

The Ogiek community has all the reasons to smile after the inauguration of a mega Ogiek Cultural Center in Nkarretta area, Narok County that is expected to showcase their culture.

The centre was opened by the Director General, National Museums of Kenya Professor Mary Gikungu who said the establishment of the cultural center was a testament to their commitment in promoting and preserving their unique traditions and wisdom.

The director underscored that the Ogiek people were recognized internationally because of the good work they were doing to preserve their culture.

“As we inaugurate the Ogiek Cultural Centre, we celebrate the heritage, identity and enduring spirit of the Ogiek people. It is not the size of the people that matters, but the power to conserve their culture,” she pointed out.

While reiterating that culture is the cornerstone of any society, the director urged every community to preserve their culture as it was the thread that joins together the past, present and future connecting to our roots and inspiring us to reach new heights.

She however acknowledged the challenges and injustices that have threatened the survival of Ogiek culture saying for too long, the Ogiek people have faced marginalization, discrimination and erosion of their cultural heritage.

“The struggle for recognition, land rights and social justice has been long. But we are opening a new chapter and say we are no longer marginalized,” she continued.

“The Ogiek people have demonstrated resilience, courage and unwavering determination. The establishment of this cultural center is a testament to your strength and commitment to building a better future for the generations to come,” she reiterated.

Let us remember that culture is dynamic, evolving and shaped by experiences and aspirations of each new generation.

This cultural center will be a vibrant hub of creativity, innovation and a place where young and old can come together to learn to share and celebrate the richness of Ogiek culture, she added.

As a national museum, we want to work with you to upgrade some of the exhibitions here. We will be happy to see that some of the artifacts taken away from you are returned to the community, Gikungu said.

“Our work as a department is to document our natural and cultural heritage. We have promised to come up with a national beekeeping exhibition where we have a whole section that is dedicated to the Ogiek community,” she added.

The DG said the exhibition would be a traveling exhibition that could easily be moved around to different counties so that the younger generation could see and appreciate their culture.

Ogiek Peoples Development Programme (OPDP) Director General Daniel Kobei said the culture centre is a landmark facility for the Ogiek community who have been marginalized for many years.

“We have never enjoyed our ancestral land, or given to celebrate our culture. Instead, we found ourselves in a situation where we have been begging other communities to accommodate us in their culture,” Kobei said.

According to the census report of 2019, the Ogiek community has a population of 52, 000 people spread out in six counties.

Narok County Executive Member in charge of Education Robert Simwoto said the county government would continue supporting the Ogiek community by giving them job opportunities and supporting them in conserving their culture.

He said the facility is a symbol of identity for the Ogiek people adding that the county government would improve the activities in the facility to better the facility.He called on the community to educate their children so that they could compete for professional jobs with other communities.

Joseph Mulinga, an Ogiek member lauded the establishment of the cultural centre saying it was the first in the country and expected to unify the community.

The cultural centre was built in collaboration of many partners among them: Land is life, the Christensen Fund among others.

Courtesy; KNA

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