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Kisumu to host national cultural festival

Kisumu county is gearing up to host this year’s Kenya National Commission for Unesco (Knatcom) cultural celebrations slated for next month.

The five-day national cultural fete is scheduled to take place between September 19 and 23 at Kisumu’s Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground under the theme, Enhancing National Cohesion, Identity and Pride. The event includes multisectoral exhibitions, traditional performances, food fair, youth extravaganza, a benga Luo night and gala night.

Knatcom Secretary General Dr Evangeline Njoka said President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to officially open the event, which brings together all the 47 county governments, government ministries, private sector, colleges, research institutions, NGOs, individual experts and other agencies.

The first Knatcom national cultural fete was held at Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi while the second was convened at the Machakos People’s Park in Machakos town in 2016.

Launching the event in Kisumu, Njoka said the celebrations provide participants with the opportunity to showcase their cultural diversities through performances and exhibitions as well as build linkages for future collaborations.“The fete will also give a platform for students to learn on the diverse cultural practices,” she added.

The celebrations are aimed at advancing the government’s goal of building national cohesion especially after last year’s hotly contested General Election. “National cohesion and peace building among Kenyan citizens has been elusive over the years. Therefore, Knatccom considers coordination of national cultural celebrations involving all counties as a flagship project,” said Njoka.

She said the best performers in the celebrations will have an opportunity to participate in the Fourth Edition of Unesco cultural week in Paris in November this year.

National Museums of Kenya Director General Mzalendo Kibunjia said different national artefacts showing Kenyan history such as the famous Omieri (a stuffed python from Nyakach region) will be exhibited at the celebrations.  “Kisumu residents will get opportunity to view the historical snake which, though dead, has a direct attachment to the people of Nyakach,” he said.

Kibunjia said his department was working with the county governments in preservation of artefacts and national historical sites.

Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o welcomed the hosting of the event in the county. He assured the organisers of his administration’s commitment to conserving heritage sites which are crucial in promoting integration and cohesion among Kenyans.

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