• The colourful event was held at the famous Shimba Hills School grounds.
• It brought together all the Akamba people and different tribes from across the Coastal counties
The third edition of the annual coastal region Akamba cultural festival ended in a style amid much fanfare in Kwale county.
The most celebrated cultural festival came back with a bang after a two-year pause due to Covid-19.
The colourful event was held at the famous Shimba Hills School grounds.
It brought together all the Akamba people and different tribes from across the coastal counties.
At least 1,000 people attended the mega cultural extravaganza.
The Akamba festivals were launched in 2018 to unify the tribe and conserve their cultures and traditions.
The Akamba people found their way into Kwale a long time ago, during the barter trade period, and have settled and intermarried with the locals.
In Kwale, they are mostly found in Shimba Hills and Mombasa in Changamwe.
The fete showcased the rich cultures and heritage and recognised the iconic Akamba leaders.
It also allowed other tribes to demonstrate their cultures for cultural exchange and foster tolerance, respect and unity.
The cultural festival was marked with traditional dances, songs, poetry and cultural exhibitions, which included ancient foods, attire and other things that promoted the uniqueness of the Akamba culture.
The mega event was attended by both national and county leaders.
Member of Parliamentary Service Commission Johnson Muthama hailed the event, saying it is a symbol of unity and hope not only for the Akamba people but the entire communities living in Kwale county and beyond.
"Such occasions help to cement the long-lasting relationship the Akamba people have with the local communities," he said.
Muthama said the coastal Akamba should be declared the 10th Mijikenda tribe, having stayed for a long period with the local tribes.
He said the Akamba community have intermarried and shared almost the same cultures and traditions with the Mijikenda.
Muthama said the annual cultural festival signifies the importance of diversity and unity and reflects the achievements and ways to foster peaceful coexistence.
"We are one people because we have a common history, having lived together since the colonial period," he said.
The former Machakos senator said the cultural festival is the best avenue to recognise the diversity of cultures and traditions and to embrace unity for prosperity.
Muthama said the communities should look out for one another and support each other on matters of socioeconomic development and politics.
He said a time should come when Akambas are given a fair space in Kwale politics and considered members of the local communities and not outsiders.
Muthama said the cultural extravaganza offers an opportunity for young people to learn and understand their cultures.
He said modern society is consumed by Western cultures and forgets theirs and their origin.
Former Transport Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere hailed the event as a success in promoting social cohesion and integration.
He said if one knows where they come from and appreciates their origin, it is easy to be respected and dignified.
Mwakwere said he supports cultural events that showcase various cultures and traditions because they are God-given.
"The Almighty God created diversity so that people can learn and understand one another for love and unity," he said.
He said upholding cultures and traditions is different from being tribal and should not be confused with tribalism.
Mwakwere said the cultural festivals help in understanding different communities and their way of life.
Former Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko urged the communities to live in peace and work together to spearhead development.
Sonko said people should shun tribalism and use such cultural festivals to promote love and unity.
"I hate tribalism and it makes me feel good to see people converging here to celebrate diversities in cultures and traditions," he said.
Coast Region Akamba coordinator Peter Nzuki emphasised the unity of the communities.
He said the only way Kenyans can prosper is by living together in harmony and respect for different cultures and traditions.
Nzili said the cultural festivals showcase unity of purpose and should be embraced for cultural and economic development.
Kwale Akamba chairman Muema Mutuku hailed the indigenous Kwale communities for welcoming the Akamba and living with them peacefully.
He said it is the spirit of patriotism and needs to be recognised and supported.
Tourism executive Michael Mutua said the county is in support of the cultural festivals because of their vast significance to the local people.
He said apart from showcasing cultures, it promotes tourism and attracts investments in the region.