Thursday, November 14, 2013

Celebrating culture as an instrument of reconciliation in Kibera

When Mr Kitavi entered the Laini Saba grounds, drawn by a dancer the crown erupted with cheers and laughter. It is not every day that you get to have such a rowdy reception of a leader in Kibera after the elections have been done. But this particular day was exceptional.

The action Inter ethnic youth dialogue and peaceful reconciliation project organised a cultural extravaganza that took place in Kibera Laini Saba with an aim of celebrating the peoples culture as one of the ways that it can unite people despite their differences.

There were colorful displays of ornaments, mats, traditional medicine, decorated guards, traditional drums and traditional food from different tribes from the maasai, kikuyu, kisii, luo, Kamba and Nubian communities.
Mr. Kitavi shakes his shoulders as it is done with the Kamba dance
The highlight of the day was when the communities represented treated the audience with traditional dances. The audience went up in a frenzy as they cheered, clapped and twisted their waists to the melodies of the guitar, traditional drums and voices singing to old songs sang way back before modern music took over the music scene in Kenya. Mr. Kitavi the Laini Saba Ward Representative also treated the audince to his dancing skills as he was drawn to the dancing floor by a group of women performing a Kamba dance. Even our very own Josiah Omotto, the CEO of Umande was not left behind by the break a leg session.
Mr. Josiah Omotto dances to the tune of a Luo dance alongside one of the dancers

It was indeed a fun day both for the organisers and the audience who consisted of adults and young children who were lured by the voices of the MCs, the colorful displays and the dances.

The nubian dance

 The Kibra residents were reminded that despite coming from different tribes they need each other in their daily lives. The present Chiefs, sub-chiefs and Ward representatives were each given a chance to speak to the people. They urged the residents of Kibera to live together as good neigbours and develop of a culture of talking to each other to solve their disputes. "Our fore fathers such as Koitailel fought for peace. Be among those that can be counted among them. Let us not discriminate each other based on tribe, race and how much money one has, " urged Mr Kitavi.

The Luo dance
The Kibra residents were also urged to appreciate each others tribes instead of only pointing out perceived negative aspects of one another tribe. " A garden does not look appealing if it only has one type of flower. Try to imagine Kenya with only one tribe, how would it be? Our enemy is poverty here in Kibra and not our tribal background," said Pius Otieno, the Sarangombe Ward representative.

At the moment, allocation of land in Kibra has brought up a lot of unrest among the residents. Mr. Otieno stated that everyone has a right to stay in Kibera and no one has the right to say that watu wengine ni wa kucome (other people just came but we are the rightful owners). The audience was urged not to allow anyone yo divide them on the basis of land.