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The East African : January 20th 2014
The EastAfrican MAGAZINE JANUARY 18-24,2014 VII Thousands attended the 2014 annual Iteso festival at Kakapel. Picture: Courtesy of Tara tou≥ism potential Kakapel National Monument, which was gazetted as a national monument in 2005, is expected to draw tourism revenues to the Kakapel community and Western Kenya region. The area around Kakapel has lots of circuits to explore around Lake Victoria and its many islands, famous rock sites, national parks, fishing and the cultural lives of the people. The site is under the National Museums of Kenya and has art forms dating thousands of years ago, combining many different styles and periods. Graffiti damage in recent years had rendered the site unsuitable for visitors. Fortunately, the Safaricom Foundation had donated Ksh1.2 million ($14,000) toward the project, which made it possible for the Trust for African Rock Art to bring US-based conservator Claire Dean to Kakapel to remove the damage. She spent a week treating the damage along with a team from the National Museums of Kenya and the Uganda Museum. Although the passage of years and weathering have taken their toll on the art, the paintings are now clearly visible against the wall of the rock shelter. erform, the food they ate y used as implements and the ‘old’ food. Today we eat ike rice, chapatis, spaghetti ern cutlery and dishes, not musolo said. es away, Paul Sanda Emolot, the prime minister of the Iteso kingdom and a representative from Uganda of the Teso king, joins the dancers in the final jig of the day before the speeches. He’s here to deliver the king’s message and is very much the dignified representative clad in a flowing cream-coloured robe with a garland of green-leaves around his neck. When in Teso, here are a few Ateso words to get you by: Yoga – hello Ebiei bo – How are you? Kidiante – Welcome Iyalama – thank you Top, wrestlers at the festival. Above, documenting the site. Pictures: Courtesy of Tara “The king is 81 years old and too old to travel,” said Joseph Eseme a teacher at Rwatame Primary School. The king is known as Emorimori. “The Teso kingdom covers east- ern Uganda, part of western Kenya, southern Sudan and a few areas in DR Congo,” said Ekirapa Okwara, a businessman. “Uganda has about two million Tesos, the largest population of the kingdom, while in Kenya we number 400,000. We have a council of elders and ministers serving the kingdom.” “But we’re marginalised in Kenya,” he added. “We don’t have a single college or any kind of institution. There’s no piped water here and no investment in infrastructure. Since this centre was opened 10 years ago, we haven’t developed it further even though it’s an ancient rock art site.” While we chat, Patrick Omutia the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Social Services, Culture, Sports, Gender and Youth, addresses the gathering. He announces that the national govern- ment together with the county one, will open the first public library in Busia County, and that the cultural centre will be expanded and will include fencing the centre and the rock art site. He also promises to develop a cultural centre for the neighbouring Sabaot community in Mount Elgon district. This is all with a view to promoting the area with its fascinating landscape of rocks, hills, the lake and culture as a filming destination in Africa. But that’s not all. There will be talent centres in all the counties. A football stadium will be developed in Malaba and 200 footballs distributed in Teso South and Teso North districts respectively. To develop the national stadium, Omutia encourages the people to donate 50 acres of land (there was laughter when he first stated 50,000 acres) for the project. It seems like the Teso kingdom is ready to fast-track to the modern world even as it preserves what its past offers.
January 13th 2014
January 27th 2014