|Ten Kenyan communities.
A remote region of the country. Different traditions. Environmental challenges. Economic prospects. Reconciliation.
In a nutshell, this is what the Lake Turkana Festival 2013 is all about. Proposed by the local community of Loiyangalani back in 2008 and jointly organised by the German Embassy, the Local Community Festival Committee, National Museums of Kenya and Private Safaris (K) Ltd., the Lake Turkana Festival has become an important element of Kenya's annual event calendar.
From 24 to 26 May 2013, the Lake Turkana Festival will take place in Loiyangalani for the sixth consecutive year. Beyond the presentation of cultural dances and traditions of the participating communities, this year's festival will also focus on economic development.
The economic development of this part of the country offers great chances, but it also entails a number of challenges for the communities as well as for investors. The Festival helps to overcome stereotypes and creates a mutual understanding of different cultures and promotes peaceful coexistence. It advocates the shared and eco-friendly use of natural resources while supporting economic growth.
From a cultural point of view, the event will feature unique performances and demonstrations of ten ethnic communities which live in the Lake Turkana region: El Molo, Rendille, Samburu, Turkana, Dassanach, Ghabra, Borana, Konso, Wata and Burji. Do you know what a Ghabra or a Burji looks like at all? Or better yet: have you ever seen them sing and dance in their traditional ways? Have you ever been able to visit the living room of a Dassanach's hut? Have you ever tried the food of any of these communities? Where will you ever be able to witness that if not during the Lake Turkana Festival in Loiyangalani in Northern Kenya?
At first glance, this sounds like a light cultural entertainment programme but the the three days event serves a deeper purpose: in a region which – for most of the year – makes headlines with issues such as security concerns, famine, environmental challenges, lack of infrastructure and fights among various ethnic communities, the Lake Turkana Festival gives the participating communities an opportunity for cross-cultural interaction, cooperation and exchange, both the preparation and in the course of the Festival. The underlying main goal therefore has been and continues to be promoting peace and reconciliation.
For Kenyans as well as for Expatriates, the presentation of the customs and living conditions of the ten tribes, their spectacular traditional costumes, arts and crafts, dances and music is a unique and fascinating experience – in particular in light of the stunning geographical characteristics and the limited general knowledge about the Lake Turkana region.
The Festival, however, attracts not only individual visitors but it also offers a very special opportunity for partners from the private sector as well as governmental and non-governmental organisations. The whole Turkana region has – until recently – been marginalised politically and economically. According to the "Agenda 2030" as well as a consequence of implementing the new county system, however, the region is set to become more important on a political level and open up to investments. Partnering up with the German Embassy, National Museums of Kenya, Private Safaris and the Local Community of Loiyangalani for the Lake Turkana Festival therefore also provides a unique chance to set foot on unchartered territory and reach out to new markets which are just waiting to be explored. Leave a positive and lasting footprint in the Turkana region!