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A culture united

By Wendy Otieno, Communication Assistant, Voice

The weather was cold and the roads were wet, making one feel uncertain of the day ahead. After traveling for a couple of hours, we finally arrived at the venue for the event; KuriKuri Primary School in Doldol, Laikipia North Constituency. What was our purpose? To attend the Annual Yiaku cultural event hosted by the Yiaku Laikipiak Trust, an empowerment grantee in Kenya. The event was held in a school located in the Mukogodo forest which is the native habitat of the Yiaku indigenous hunter-gatherer people.

Different cultures shared their traditions with the public in the form of dances, music and displays of cultural ornaments and food. From the Yiakunte women to the Ogiek, Nandi and Turkana communities, it was a rich melting pot of tradition and history.

One amazing thing was seeing how young artists were embracing modern forms of music to celebrate their culture and faith. It was specifically interesting seeing how a simple dance gesture from the young artists provoked engagement of the crowd highlighting their is unity in diversity.

The national anthem was sung In the Yiakunte dialect to seek recognition of the Yiaku people as a Kenyan tribe, the Yiaku have their unique history, culture, habitat, language, and livelihood which is disappearing by assimilation to stronger tribes like the Maasai and Samburu.

The event was graced by several members of county and national governments as they had a particularly keen interest in the efforts being made towards the documentation and preservation of the Yiakunte language with Laikipia county government starting an Initiative aimed at identifying and mapping out stories and cultures of communities that are furthest left behind.

“Thank you for believing in yourself and wanting the world to know more about who you are and where you are from. This sort of empowerment is what makes pushing for change easy for you and us in office in terms of resource allocations for the county” stated the Deputy Governor, Laikipia.

The event was also attended by Mr. Ole Lempaka the assistant director at the department of minority and marginalised communities’ affairs that is an initiative of the Office of the Deputy President of Kenya.

The Yiaku people are advocating and look forward to being coded as an official Kenyan tribe by mid-2020.

See more of the event below:


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