Beauty of documenting our cultural stories online

Through the Google Arts and Culture online space, the world can learn about Kenyan cultures on Utamaduni Wetu

In Summary

• The page features an introduction to the Kenyan identity, to finding your ukoo, to heroes' stories from our history

• It also highlights diverse musical lessons from our different communities and gives us an opportunity to meet creative contemporary artists in the Kenyan scene

Maasai cultural heritage has gone live on Google Arts and Culture
Maasai cultural heritage has gone live on Google Arts and Culture

When you think about our diverse cultural heritage as a country, the first place that comes to mind is the National Museum or the National Archives.

There are also different art museum galleries.

That’s where our written literature has and is being stored to date.

The oral bit is still reserved in our communities, and as the term indicates, it is being passed on from one generation to the next one by word of mouth.

If you are yet to visit such places, this is a sign to add the venture to your bucket list.

This outdoor activity has, however, become a favourite for a number of couples in my spaces who are looking for a new adventurous activity that is fun and educative with an end goal of connecting.

Even if you still go on a solo museum date, it is a plus because you get a chance to discover new interests.

The world is now in a technological insurgence, and to some extent, it is working to our advantage, but it also has its fair share of negatives.

African cultural representation has become something that you can hardly miss seeing online.

I am happy that the existing African image is slowly being erased and the narrative is now being controlled by Africans themselves.

I think we owe it to ourselves to make non-Africans understand our culture and history.

The Google Arts and Culture online space has grown tremendously if I may say so.

I am not quite sure if you have interacted with the online platform yet.

If you are yet to, I might as well introduce you to Google Arts and Culture.

A few years back, when I used to stage set books in different high schools, as the main narrator in my travelling theatre group, I still had to cover Oral Literature and Fasihi, apart from the set texts.

During one of the shows, I remember going online to find the legend of Mekatili wa Menza just so that I could familiarise myself with the flow of the story.

Thanks to Google’s partnership with the National Museums of Kenya, I found a well elaborated story that even had an audio link added to it.

As you play the audio, the art pieces embedded on the page in chronological order give a visual representation of the Giriama Wonder Woman’s story.

Photos almost always tell a story, and the colourful pages on the arts and culture pages present you with a mental image of the events even if you weren’t there to experience the evolution.

This really helped me with my literature and fasihi narrations as it made it easier for me to understand what I intended to present and educate learners on.

Judging from then and now, this online space has grown.

Thanks to the national museums and archives’ collaboration with Google, we have been spared the journey to the actual museum.

From the comfort of our indoor spaces, we are at liberty to search and go through all the online exhibits of our different Kenyan traditional cultures.

Recently, The Maasai Community went live on the Google Arts and Culture website, and adds on to the several communities whose communities have been highlighted on the platform.

Such spaces often grant us the opportunity to learn from other communities besides our own, share and appreciate who we are.

If we can leverage such collaborations and spaces, we are more than capable of completely shifting the existing African narrative.

In case you are wondering how you can access all I am saying, try searching for Google Arts and Culture.

Once you have clicked and you are on the homepage, search for 'Utamaduni Wetu: Meet the People of Kenya'.

The page features an introduction to the Kenyan identity, to finding your ukoo, to heroes' stories from our history, to learning about different music from different communities and even meeting creative contemporary artists.

This advance way of telling the diverse Kenyan cultural stories is really colourful and captivating.

When you finish the online tour, make sure you visit our different museums and galleries for an aesthetic feeling.

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