Saturday, September 12, 2009
The Kanga, a rectangular cloth identifiable by its border designs, central motif and text messages and worn by many communities in a variety of styles remains one of the most popular of all material culture items across East Africa and beyond. The Kanga uniquely embodies culture in its texts, images, and use and provides a common thread within the culturally and ethnically diverse Kenyan society. A study of the rich history of the Kanga celebrates ethnic diversity within Kenyan culture and promotes knowledge exchange and dialogue.
Roshini Shah from Haria Stamp Shop in Nairobi has collected kangas and stories for many years. She brings the perspective of the shop owner and trader in the contemporary world of the kanga in Kenya. In this clip she speaks about the use of the kanga after the election violence in Kenya.
Dr Peter Wasamba, Kenya Oral Literature Association, University of Nairobi as a resource person for the project gave a guest lecture on the value of collecting and sharing stories and in particular the importance of preserving Kenyan oral narrative research.
In July of 2009, the research team of the Cultural Heritage Department, National Museums of Kenya under the direction of Dr. Issak Hussein and with support from the Royal Netherlands Embassy, Webster University, Haria Stamp Shop, The Aga Khan Trust for Culture and The British Museum, began collecting stories on the kanga cloth.
This blog will provide space to document the research, identify highlights of the process and encourage viewers to add their own stories.
Join us send your stories and photos!