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HERITAGE

Nine historical sites facing estinction in Kenya

23-07-2019 by redazione

With the necessary distinctions, in ancient Italy we have Pompeii, in Kenya there is the pillar of Vasco Da Gama. 
In our country some historic buildings risk collapse every day, in Kenya much older sites are still exposed to the insults of time and could soon disappear. The red alert for at least nine historical sites in Kenya was launched by the State Auditor General Edward Ouko.
"The situation in which the historical sites find themselves, if not addressed urgently - said Ouko - will have a negative impact on the irreplaceable national heritage.
These are the nine national monuments on which action should be taken.

KENYATTA HOUSE IN LODWAR

Apparently it is a simple white concrete house with a roof of "mabati", but in reality its value, for the history of Kenya, is very important. In fact, this house in Lodwar, on the road to Turkana, was the prison of the future first President of Kenya and his four accomplices six (Ramogi Achieng Oneko, Kung'u Karumba, Paul Ngei and Fred Kubai) from 1959, the year in which it was built, to August 14, 1961 when he was finally released and taken to his home in Gatundu. In Lodwar, Kenyatta was in fact visited by political leaders in freedom (including his future deputy and second President of Kenya, Daniel Arap Moi) and continued to lead the revolution that led to the independence of the country. According to Ouko, the house is at risk of collapse.


VASCO DA GAMA PILLAR OF MALINDI
The monument symbolizing the Portuguese landing in Kenya and their friendly approach (unlike what happened in Mombasa) is no longer the original pillar erected to signal the passage of Christian explorers. That "padrao" was destroyed a century later but rebuilt and still represents one of the references of the known history of Kenya. Its conditions, due to the erosion of the rock, the wind and the saltiness, are precarious even if the Portuguese Government has promised an economic aid to restore it.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MERU
The building that houses the museum of Meru dates back to 1916. In the colonial era it served as an administrative hub in the Mount Kenya region. Today it is a showcase for aspects of the history and culture of the Meru ethnic group, with a permanent exhibition dedicated to them, a garden of indigenous shrubs and medicinal herbs and other facilities. Its wooden columns are now devoured by insects and even the works have already been attacked.

SLAVE CAVES OF SHIMONI
The imposing coral caves of Shimoni in County Kwale are a living testimony to the terrible times of slavery on the East African coast. They were used by Arabs to sell and deport Kenyan slaves from the eighth to the twelfth century.  A few meters from the site is the Shimoni Slave Museum, run by the National Museums of Kenya. The museum has collections of cultural artifacts of the local Digo population and others collected from the coastal areas of East Africa such as Pemba and Zanzibar, which were the centers of the infamous Arab slave trade. According to Ouko, the historic building is in ruins, while the sites with the tombs of the slaves are at risk of being swept away by the tides. In addition, part of the museum's land has been invaded by a permanent wall erected by the Department of Fisheries.

PORTUGUESE CHAPEL AND CEMETERY OF MALINDI
In the area of Vasco Da Gama Pillar and in front of the historic baobab that is more than five hundred years old, stands the Portuguese chapel built in the sixteenth century by Francisco Xavier. In the same site there is the cemetery that collected the remains of Portuguese sailors but also those of the first British governors of Malindi. Here, despite the reconstruction of the area and the new wall, disputes over the ownership of the land could create problems and acts of vandalism.

LAMU FORT AND MUSEUM
The fort on the island of Lamu and its museum are still today the meeting point of the inhabitants of the Islamic archipelago north of the coast of Kenya. The construction of the Fort of Lamu began in 1813, shortly after the victory of the forces of the island over Pate and Mombasa in the battle of Shela. This important construction work was presumably undertaken with the collaboration of Seyyid Said, the Sultan of Oman who was then cultivating a promising new alliance with Lamu. The fort became both a protection for the garrisons and an important point of trade. Soon the fort became a symbol of the community, a role it still plays today. But according to the report in question, the community is appropriating the area to make a use of it that does not respect the culture, art and history of the island.

JUMBA LA MTWANA RUINS
The city of Jumba la Mtwana, an ancient settlement between Kilifi and Mombasa with ruins similar to those of Gede but overlooking the sea, is a testimony to an Arab settlement of the fourteenth century, where the inhabitants were dedicated to fishing and slaves were often freed to work in the homes of the inhabitants. Today the risk is given by the erosion of the beach and by the bush that grows uncultivated and invades the remains.

NJURI NCHEKE OF MERU
The site that houses the place where the councils of the elderly have always met to discuss the issues of their community and to resolve serious disputes involving the Meru people, is more than eight hundred years old. The building is certainly much more recent but is also in poor condition.

ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSEUM OF MALINDI
The famous Portuguese "House of Columns", which houses the Malindi Ethnographic Museum, is in danger of collapsing if it is not restored and, moreover, in the immediate vicinity there are inhabitants who are invading the property.
 

TAGS: siti storici kenyamusei kenyastoria kenyaculture kenya

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