Know Your Culture

To Start let me ask you: how much do you know about your culture or how well do you know your culture?

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Culture goes beyond our knowledge of the language that is just one part of it, to understand a culture you need to understand their way of life, their food, music, sport, and many more aspects.

I must say that I am part of those guilty of not knowing much about my culture; well the much I get to get in touch with it is during weddings and funerals- we are Christians but that doesn’t mean we disregard the cultural procedures when it comes to such occasions- but outside these how much do we really know? how many of us can actually prepare our traditional food? so while at it I googled Luhya culture just to see what is being said about the Luhya, interestingly I bumped into this site: http://www.luhya.net I must say it has a substantial amount of information considering that there are 18 luhya dialects.

Going to education; while I do support the Education CS on introducing Mother tongue to lower primary (which is not something really new). My concern is what happens to the pupils who the first language they are in contact with is sheng? should they also be taught in sheng- since it is the language being spoken in the area. what if I am a lower primary teacher who is posted in Ukambani and I can’t speak kikamba does that mean I can’t teach there? anyway that is a story for another day. My point is over and above that we should aim at teaching our children about our culture and values and not just the language with the language I tend to believe that most who live and are raised in areas that a certain language is dominant will eventually end up speaking it; it is the first language they come in contact with.

Apart from the education system parents also play a big role in ensuring that children learn the language and the culture. Watching STL, one of Kenya’s internationally known artist , on the Trend on NTV a few weeks back; I remember her saying that while in Norway they used to come from school and they would still be taught Kikuyu. she actually sang a song in Kikuyu,that was and still is popular, despite not being brought up in Kenya.

My point is learning and understanding a culture is more of a combine effort; from the person, he or she must have and express interest in learning the culture,the parents, the community by teaching the children the right values from how they conduct themselves. Quite unfortunate that some of us experience culture shock from our own culture as opposed to popular believe that we should experience it once I go to a different culture.

Culture is beautiful but that doesn’t mean we embrace and subscribe to every practice to show how cultural we are. Kenya is a country with diverse cultures; let us show the world that despite our diversity, we can still live and appreciate each other and each others cultures rather than be in constant conflict, I am saddened by what is happening between the Samburu, Turkana, the Pokot and many other communities living bordering each other.

Let us learn our culture; that will make it easier for us to embrace each other and eradicate the aspects that we see as not being fit. Besides understanding your own culture makes it easier to understand the other culture better.

…Thank you for stopping by….

Mikal.

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