Annual Iteso Festival

The Kakapel community held their annual cultural festival at the Kakapel Community Cultural Centre in western Kenya.

TARA’s Chief Operations Officer, Terry Little and Community Projects Officer, William Omoro joined the Kakapel community at the annual cultural festival held at the Kakapel Community Cultural Centre in western Kenya on 26 December 2013. The festival attracted close to ten thousand people from Kenya and Uganda.  Representatives and Turkana dancers were invited from TARA’s community rock art project in Lokori as part of TARA’s efforts to use rock art heritage as a way to link communities. The guests embracing the occasion included: Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Arts, Hon. Patrick Omutia; North Teso Member of Parliament Hon. Arthur Odera; Hon. Albert Ekirapa; Prime Minister from the Iteso kingdom, Hon. Emolot; Minister of Environment, Hon. Elizabeth Laini; Hon Grace Matinde Muchuma; Minister of Culture, Sports and Art, Busia County and officials from the National Museums of Kenya.

Iteso Festival
PHOTO: Guests at the annual Iteso festival.

The main aim of this festival is to valorize the fading traditional practices of the Iteso Kingdom. It offers an opportunity for community members to showcase their traditional songs and dances, wrestling, cuisine, medicines and artifacts. Kakapel is Kenya’s premier rock art site uniting a variety of styles in one shelter. The site is a National Monument managed by the National Museums of Kenya. TARA’s participation in this event was vital to ensuring that the rock art sites which are directly linked to the Iteso people’s cultural heritage are not marginalized but conserved to ensure social, cultural and economic benefit to the Kakapel community and in the region as a whole.

Iteso Festival
PHOTO: Hon. Patrict Omutia, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Art, addressing the public.

Iteso Festival
PHOTO: Iteso community still practice wresting as part of their heritage.

Iteso Festival
PHOTO: Representatives from Lokori community rock art in a group photo with Terry Little at the festivals.