Preserving African Skills and Traditional Arts
By Muli wa Kyendo
At the recently concluded Kitui Investor Conference, the Makueni County Governor, Prof. Kivutha Kibwana asked an important question: How is the Kitui County ensuring that traditional skills and knowledge are preserved and passed on from one generation to another.
With the rise of colonialism, the African lost not only their land but also much else. Among these was respect the knowledge and skills that had, for years guided them. To colonize a person, you must dehumanize them. It is just common sense. You will not praise the achievements of your slave.
This is what happened in African. Ancient Egypt was the first civilized nation on Earth. Much of what we call civilization today—including national budgeting – was developed in Egypt. The colonial Whites were faced with a dilemma—to claim Egyptians were Whites or to ignore them and attribute their achievement to a nation that they could claim was white. Greece, lying off the African continent, provided what the colonial wanted. All Egyptian wisdom was attributed to the Greeks—even though we know all the Greeks came to Egypt to learn.
Knowledge and Skills
African knowledge and skills were repackaged and brought back to Africa as European civilization. In Kenya, we border Ethiopia where coffee was discovered. But when it crossed the artificial border made by colonials, we were made to believe it was European beverage, not fit for the locals to grow.
Similarly you can say the same of Christian religion and many other things.
As we develop into counties, we need to develop systems and laws to protect and improve traditional knowledge and skills. Prof. Kivutha Kibwana is in a position to start.