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Elders want Kikuyu cultural centre set up to preserve traditions

Blame moral decay in society on the breakdown of traditional way of life

In Summary

• The elders attributed the moral decay in the society to the breakdown of traditions.

• The centre would help instill morals in youths while providing information about the community's culture and traditions.

Mihiriga Kenda cultural group members during Gaturi MCA Kiiru Mwangi's burial at Gaitheri on Friday.
Mihiriga Kenda cultural group members during Gaturi MCA Kiiru Mwangi's burial at Gaitheri on Friday.
Image: Alice Waithera

Some Kikuyu elders have appealed to the government to set up a cultural centre to help preserve the community’s traditions.

The centre should display traditional Kikuyu artefacts, provide cultural information and a platform for locals to empower themselves through the production of locally available commodities, he said.

The elders blame moral decay in society on the breakdown of traditions. They say that the centre would help mentor youths and instil morals in them.

 
 
 
 

Gitau Ng’ang’a, Mihiriga Kenda cultural group member, said they have consistently lobbied for a cultural centre. 

“Some of the things that we import can be produced at the centre. Leaders should take locals to other countries to see the many things that can come out of clay that is locally available,” he said.

With a fully functional cultural centre, many of the vices currently being experienced would be diminished, he said.

“According to our culture, no young man should take beer. Now parents educate their children to the highest levels and then they turn to alcohol and destroy their lives,” he said.

Ng’ang’a spoke on Friday at Gaitheri Primary School in Kiharu constituency during the traditional burial of Gaturi MCA Kiiru Mwangi. 

The elder also cautioned leaders against branding cultural practitioners Mungiki which he said is putting their lives at risk.

 
 

He said theirs is a religion like any other and that they should be allowed to worship freely as provided for by the Constitution.

 
 

A religious war, he said, is unnecessary and contravenes the law.

“Anyone can go search my home and if they find anything that should not be there, I am ready to be arrested,” he said, adding that Kenyans should not disrespect each other’s religions.

Murang'a Woman Representative Sabina Chege who was present at the funeral emphasised the need to allow all Kenyans to worship freely.

Chege supported the idea of establishment of cultural centre noting that the Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga shrine, believed to be the cradle of the community, is in a poor state.

The shrine has an unfinished multi-million building that had been initiated by the now-defunct Murang’a county council and was to host a tourists’ hotel.

The building was however vandalised and its windows and roofing stolen, after the project stalled due to conflicts between the community, the National Museums of Kenya and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage who claimed to be the trustees of the shrine.

In 2014, the county government signed a memorandum of understanding with Kenyatta University to rehabilitate the shrine but that failed too.

“If a museum is to be established, it should be at the centre and it should be established in such a way that it offers information on the traditions and display artefacts,” Chege said.

She noted that in its current state, not many Murang’a residents know where it is despite reading about it in school.

“Knowing our culture is very important. The shrine needs to be rehabilitated and roads leading to it upgraded. Traditional dancers should also be engaged to welcome visitors and elders to impact the cultural knowledge to youths,” the MP said.

Chege, however, highlighted the need to ensure retrogressive cultural practices like female genital mutilation are not encouraged.