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Conservation of Natural and Cultural Heritage in Kenya

Conservation of Natural and Cultural Heritage in Kenya: A Cross-Disciplinary Approach OPEN ACCESS

Anne-Marie Deisser
Mugwima Njuguna
Copyright Date: 2016
Edition: 1
Published by: UCL Press
Pages: 274
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  • Book Info
    Conservation of Natural and Cultural Heritage in Kenya
    Book Description:

    In Kenya, cultural and natural heritage has a particular value. Its pre-historic heritage not only tells the story of man's origin and evolution but has also contributed to the understanding of the earth's history: fossils and artefacts spanning over 27 million years have been discovered and conserved by the National Museums of Kenya (NMK). Alongside this, the steady rise in the market value of African art has also affected Kenya. Demand for African tribal art has surpassed that for antiquities of Roman, Byzantine, and Egyptian origin, and in African countries currently experiencing conflicts, this activity invariably attracts looters, traffickers and criminal networks. This book brings together essays by heritage experts from different backgrounds, including conservation, heritage management, museum studies, archaeology, environment and social sciences, architecture and landscape, geography, philosophy and economics to explore three key themes: the underlying ethics, practices and legal issues of heritage conservation; the exploration of architectural and urban heritage of Nairobi; and the natural heritage, landscapes and sacred sites in relation to local Kenyan communities and tourism. It thus provides an overview of conservation practices in Kenya from 2000 to 2015 and highlights the role of natural and cultural heritage as a key factor of social-economic development, and as a potential instrument for conflict resolution

    eISBN: 978-1-910634-84-4
    Subjects: Archaeology, Art & Art History, Anthropology, Architecture and Architectural History
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Table of Contents

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  1. Foreword (pp. v-x)
    Mzalendo Kibunjia

    As scientists, historians and archaeologists continue to uncover, study and promote access to tangible and intangible cultural heritage, there are ever increasing challenges that pervade conservation efforts. Heritage conservation is threatened as the world globalizes and African economies open up to new realms of growth in the international markets while increased building construction, infrastructural expansion as well as terrorism destroy existing heritage assets. Kenya in particular prides itself as a prodigious habitat for abundant and various natural and cultural heritage assets including archaeological sites, wildlife, landscapes and folklores. However, the different forms cultural and natural heritage take and the complexity...

  2. Introduction (pp. 1-16)

    Conservation principles and practices evolve and adapt to the cultural, political, social and economic environments in which they take place. These environments have radically changed since Cesare Brandi’s theory of conservation (2005), the research of Miriam Clavir in preserving what is valued (2002) and the contemporary theory of conservation (Muños Viñas 2005). Brandi, who in 1939 became the first director of the Central Institute for Restoration in Rome, Italy, published a landmark theoretical essay on restoration. His essay outlines a theoretical and practical framework to address some of the most complex problems faced by conservators and sums up the essence...

  3. Anne-Marie Deisser and Ephraim Wahome

    In times of economic development and political conflicts, the value of heritage receives renewed attention through trafficking or destruction on the one hand, or through rescue and preservation on the other. As a result, the empowerment of communities in conflict through the practice of heritage conservation is a contentious and central issue which serves as an extension of human rights and democracy (Eastop 2002; Silverman & Ruggles 2007; Deisser 2009; Jokiletho 2012; Coombes, Hughes & Muneme 2014). This chapter highlights the application of the principles of human rights in the framework of the African Union (AU) legal instruments, the Constitution...

  4. Mwanzia Kyule

    Cultural Heritage Resources Management (CHRM) can be described as the framework that guides the administration, study, protection, conservation and use of a people’s cultural heritage and their sustainability for the benefit of present and future generations. Attributes of cultural heritage include archaeological resources (artefacts, ecofacts and features), cultural sites and landscapes, monuments, oral traditions, customs and customary law, indigenous knowledge, history and historical evidence as can be found in art, music and records, and traditional cultural expressions, among others (UNESCO 1972; Sanders 1999; UNESCO 2003; Von Lewinski 2004; Ndoro 2009). Effective CHRM policy necessarily requires legal tools that are designed...

  5. Orinda Shadrack Okumu

    Intangible cultural heritage (ICH) is the legacy of physical property and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations (Singh 2011). UNESCO’s 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage proposes five broad ‘domains’, such as oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage; performing arts; social practices, rituals and festive events; knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; and traditional craftsmanship. The scope of cultural heritage has, however, changed considerably in recent decades,...

  6. Lydia Muthuma

    Because they are crafted from a common experience, monuments lend themselves easily to articulating collective identity. Those in Nairobi are no exception. They are here explored as a bridge between collective memory and national identity; as an answer to what it really means to be Kenyan. This chapter offers an insight into the choreography of public space in Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD). Since this site foregrounds the nation’s monuments, it is a condensation of the national narrative and the placepar excellencefor political aesthetics: the politics of colonial power, indigenous protest and post-colonial wrangles.

    To withdraw the knowledge...

  7. Muhoro Teckla, Munala Gerryshom and Mugwima Njuguna

    Architecture is the carrier of the social, political and cultural history of a nation. Reference to an architectural style or pattern requires a search into the history, culture and aspirations of a nation’s people. As Kenya’s first and capital city, Nairobi is centre place and has a multiplicity of distinctive building forms.

    Nairobi has a valuable architectural fabric that is rich in cultural, artistic, architectural and religious significance enriched by foreign influences. The political patronage that accompanies these influences has resulted in an architectural vocabulary that expresses imported aspirations and values, as evidenced in the city’s buildings. These buildings are...

  8. Mwanzia Kyule

    Baois the Bantu name for the eastern African variant of themankalagroup of games. Themankalaare indigenous African mathematical strategy board games of skill and, perhaps, the prototype of other numerous board games including chess, pachisi and draughts. The wordmankalaitself is not used in reference to any particular game; rather, it is a blanket anthropological term that refers to a classification of board games of intelligence. The name derives from the Arabic verbnaqala, which means ‘to move something about’. The basic structure ofmankalagames involves sowing of counters in pits that are curved...

  9. Freda M’Mbogori

    Conservation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage in Kenya is largely dependent on the practitioner’s willingness to embrace incoming practices. To a large extent, adoption of new practices and the subsequent discarding of traditional ways lessen the further one moves away from urban areas. Most rural areas have maintained and continued to perform some of their traditional cultural practices with minimum interference. However, with the introduction of formal education and Christianity, several cultural practices are being abandoned due to the perception that they are ‘ungodly’ or transmission from the bearers to the next generation is unachievable for various other reasons....

  10. Francis Mwaura

    Kenya ranks high in terms of biodiversity. It is considered one of the world’s megadiverse countries with a valued wildlife heritage similar to that of Brazil, Indonesia, Congo, Madagascar, Tanzania and South Africa. Kenya’s wildlife heritage includes approximately 21,575 insects, 1,133 birds, 314 mammals, 191 reptiles, 180 freshwater fish, 692 marine and brackish fish and 88 amphibian species (NEMA 2005). The government of Kenya in collaboration with the citizenry have made significant efforts towards the conservation of this rich wildlife heritage through the establishment of a network of conservation areas which include twenty-three terrestrial national parks, twenty-eight terrestrial national reserves,...

  11. Anthony Njeru Murithi

    Kenya is host to a myriad of rural visual resources: a product of an intricate mix of geological processes, soil characteristics, climatic conditions and human activities. These rural landscapes comprise ‘natural’ elements such as wetlands, bare hills and woodlands, as well as those produced by human activities, including croplands. However, most rural landscapes in Kenya have been continually altered to the extent that so far, almost all spaces have had human influence. There is continued destruction of visual resources in rural areas for more intensive economic activities. The upsurge in conversion of agricultural land into palatial homes for sale in...

  12. Evaristus Irandu and Parita Shah

    Kenya is richly endowed with diverse cultural resources that can be developed for cultural heritage tourism. The exploitation of her heritage assets would increase Kenya’s competitiveness as a top tourist destination in Africa. Today, the country is facing stiff competition from countries such as Seychelles, Mauritius, Namibia and Botswana which have diversified their tourism products. Since independence in 1963, Kenya has relied heavily on wildlife and beach resources as her main tourist attractions. Like many other countries in Africa, Kenya has come to rely increasingly on tourism as one of the top foreign exchange earners, so much so that her...

  13. Okello Benter, John Bosco Mukundi, Arnold Onyango Watako and Ochieng’ Aggrey Adimo

    Besides buildings and other tangible monuments, African heritage is vested in spiritual beliefs, songs, dances and narrations. These include tangible and intangible heritage as diverse as the way people utilize nature for fuelwood, medicine, fruits, craft and building materials. Community conservation efforts aimed at protecting and conserving cultural heritage are not widely documented, often due to poverty and inappropriate conservation policies. This chapter, apart from documenting sacredness and cultural value, assesses the aesthetic value of the Kit-Mikayi heritage site, and other important habitat management attributes.

    Strategies in conserving cultural landscape have historically failed to show that these values are of...

  14. Robert Rukwaro

    The Agikuyu shrine is at times referred to in different expressions as the Agikuyu shrine, mythical site, and origin or heritage site. Thompson (1990) defines a shrine as a place associated with or containing memorabilia, or a casket containing a sacred relic, or a niche containing holy statues. In the context of this study, the shrine is the Mukurwe wa Nyagathaga site, a relic for the Agikuyu cradle since it serves as memorabilia of Gikuyu and Mumbi and the Agikuyu cultural life that governs surviving customs and beliefs from a past age. The Mukurwe or Mugumo tree at the site...

  15. Paul Opondo

    This chapter examines the Luo fishing practices in Lake Victoria, Kenya, during the pre-colonial and post-colonial epochs. It looks into the types of fishing gear used and those prohibited, the conservation and management approaches applied, threats and challenges to fisheries as a heritage, especially in light of globalization, and the application of new technologies and the introduction of new species of fish. Rural Kenyans are becoming increasingly aware of the great need to conserve nature through sound environmental management, education, appreciation of culture and their involvement as ordinary citizens in conservation policies engendered by the state. There is a growing...

  16. Ephraim Wahome, Felix Kiruthu and Susan Mwangi

    The origins of the Mau Mau have been discussed by many scholars including Kanogo (1987), Anderson (2005) and Elkins (2005), who generally agree that the Mau Mau uprising had something to do with British colonial oppression. In 1915, the colonial government enacted the Crown Lands Ordinance which effectively relegated the Africans into a state of perpetual tenancy on their own land. Lonsdale (1992) intimates that Mau Mau grievances date back to the Resident Native Labourers Ordinance of 1918 which systematically reduced indigenous land owners to squatters and sources of labour for the emergent settler economy. These events altered the history...