The national government will work with county governments to train young people as cultural champions to transfer traditional knowledge and culture from the older generation to the fashionable younger generation.
This follows a growing concern that the younger generation is being consumed, lost in modernism, abandoning what they see as the less interesting and boring culture and traditions of their communities, which has been adopted to inculcate morality.
During the Butsotso cultural festival held at Eshishiru in Kakamega, young people stood aside and were seen only in large crowds, escorting bulls for a bullfighting match which is one of the cultures with which they identify.
In a speech read on his behalf by Lesley Khayadi on the 14e Butsotso Cultural Festival in Kakamega, the Cabinet Secretary (CS) of the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage, Peninnah Malonza, said that the youth training program is in line with the theme of the Butsotso Cultural Festival, namely youth integration in culture, leadership and development being one of the country’s cultural celebrations offering conversations around culture and heritage.
“Cultural festivals simply immerse us in our heritage and remind us of who we are as a people. Festivals also serve to attract local and international tourists to experience the life and culture of local people. I would like to challenge counties to invest more in cultural activities within their jurisdiction,” she noted.
She noted that the Butsotso cultural festival can play a huge role in opening up the western region’s tourism and related economic activities and provide a platform for artisans, cultural artifact makers and performance artists to earn their living. life.
The SC noted that the isukuti in Kakamega has been listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) program as Intangible Cultural Heritage, a clear sign of the immense opportunities awaiting the communities.
“The county also exhibited at the Kenya Cultural Center and participated in Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki arts and culture through its various traditional practices,” she noted.
She said that the government is keen to elevate these festivals to the status of an international event in the league of Notting Hill Carnival, which takes place in London, UK and attracts over 2 million people each year. It is a celebration of the cultural heritage of the Caribbean.
“Similarly in West Africa and more specifically in Nigeria, Calabar Carnival also known as Africa’s Biggest Street Party or Nigeria’s Pride is a week-long festival that attracts millions of locals and foreigners alike, boosting tourism in the region,” a- she pointed out.
Speaking at the event, the Principal Secretary (PS) for Higher Education and Research, Dr Beatrice Inyangala, called for a concerted effort to package culture and tradition in an interesting way across the social media and technological tools such as video games to attract young people. .
She said that young people miss a lot by turning away from the traditions and culture of their communities, giving an example that there is an opportunity for a healthy life promoted by traditional foods.
“We call on families and social groups to promote healthy living through culture, we must sit down with our children and enlighten them because with culture and traditions we have values that are very important to bring unity among our people. There are lessons to be learned from traditional foods that we should conserve the environment so as not to lose the benefits of trees and other traditional plants,” she added.
She urged the council of elders to create generational change by engaging young people while urging schools to be vehicles for the transfer of traditional knowledge through a special program to support character building for students.
The county’s director for social services, sports youth, gender and culture, Moffat Mandela, said the county government would increase funding for cultural festivals in the county.
“We will invest in culture so that it becomes one of the sources of income for our communities and the people of Kakamega. We will organize a cultural week in 2023 to bring together all communities in Kakamega to showcase their traditional practices,” he noted.
He said only Wanga and Batsoso communities in Kakamega County hold cultural festivals.
The Butsotso Cultural Festival was launched in 2008 to celebrate the rich culture of the community with the aim of preserving it for future generations.
Chairman of the Batsotso Council of Elders, Paul Etemesi, said the community will turn the festival into a tourist attraction to empower people economically and attract sponsors from the corporate world, Kenya Utalii College, Kenya Tourism Board, the National Museums of Kenya and the Bomas. from Kenya.
“We would like young people to be an integral part of our cultural activities for sustainability. When young people are the guardians of our culture, we are assured of continuity. Our cultural activities include making traditional foods, entertainment, clothing, medicine and leadership badges, among others,” he noted.
By Moses Wekesa