National Museums of Kenya celebrates folk and cultural heroes online

National Museums of Kenya celebrates folk and cultural heroes online
  • PublishedOctober 20, 2020

To mark this year’s Mashujaa Day, the National Museums of Kenya and Google have unveiled stories of 61 superheroes from 44 communities in Kenya.

The stories, which have been presented in a fun and interactive way on Google Arts and Culture, will give Kenyans a chance to get in touch with their cultural history.

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“Those with disabilities can also be able to view and consume that content through audio, video and anime,” Google’s Head of Communications in Sub-Saharan Africa Dorothy Ooko said at the virtual event.

Sports, Culture and Heritage CS Amina Mohammed during the unveiling of the superheroes on Monday. [ Source: Google Africa]

The superheroes are mainly the country’s pre-independence legends who fought for their communities land and freedom and are highly regarded by their communities to date.

Some of the superheroes that have been recognised on the Google Arts and Culture platform include Cierume – the dancing Mbeere warrior and Ciokaraine – the female Meru diviner. Others include Gor Mahia – the powerful Luo magician, Fumo Liyongo – the Pokomo Poet that broke free and Mekatilili wa Menza – the Giriama Wonder Woman, just to name a few.

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There is a comprehensive story for each superhero that elaborates why and how they became a ‘shujaa’. One can also listen and watch the story on audio and video. Once you are done listening or reading the stories, you can find out which superhero is your alter-ego by taking a quiz.

You can also find your community on the platform and get to learn all about it – from its fashion, language, music and ornaments.

The Director of Antiquities, Sites and Monuments at the National Museums of Kenya Dr Purity Kiura. [Source: Google Africa]

“History was mainly oral but now it’s on Google Arts and Culture. Generations to come will forever have the history of their community on Google,” Ms Ooko said adding that one can download the application or access the platform online.

NMK director of antiquities, sites and monuments  Dr Purity Kiura said that the Google Arts and Culture is like a history bank of Kenya.

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“What we are doing is celebrating those who have gone before us. They have shaped us as a nation. It is our responsibility to be able to honour them and tell their stories,” Dr Kiura noted.

The idea was first conceptualized in 2017 by the late Masidza Sande Galavu (1993-2020) who was a Creative Director and co-founder at Shujaa Stories and Tatu Creatives in Nairobi. Masidza was honoured at the virtual event on Monday, by his sister Martha Galavu with a tribute. Shujaa stories first exhibited stories of 28 heroes and heroines at the National National Museum in 2018.

Martha Galavu of Shujaa Stories reading a tribute for her late brother Masidza Sande Galavu. [Source: Google Africa]

The Cabinet Secretary of Sports, Culture and Heritage Dr Amina Mohammed during her keynote speech at the virtual occasion urged Kenyans to visit the different museums and heritage in the country.

“All museums and heritages are now open to the public. Visit and experience artefacts exhibited in the Google Arts and Culture,” Dr Mohammed said.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga also sent video messages encouraging Kenyans to learn and appreciate the different cultures in Kenya so that we can foster unity in our diversity.

Featured Image: (From left to right) Google country director Agnes Gathaiya, Sports CS Amina Mohamed, Google government affairs director Charles Murito and Martha Galavu of Shujaa Stories during the unveiling of the superheroes ceremony on Monday. [Image: Google in Africa]

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