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Kenya’s Turkana cultural festival kicks off amid pomp and color

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Pastoral communities from Uganda, Ethiopia and South Sudan neighbours to Kenya’s north-west border are in Lowdor Town for the annual Turkana County Cultural Festival, dubbed ‘Tobong’u Lore’ (welcome home).

”As long as we speak the same language, we the Ateker communities should enjoy the Tobong’u Lore, because it unites as all of us from Uganda, Ethiopia and South Sudan”, David Lotianga a clan elder from the Karamoja community said.

The four day celebration of indigenous culture is meant to promote peace, cultural exchange and tourism.

The Elkales Centre in Lodwar was a beehive of activity with different groups, all dressed in traditional gear, showcasing their culture.

Elders and guests were also donned in ostrich feather, that is a ceremonial headdress for special occasions.

Dressed in traditional regalia, Kenyan President William Ruto graced the festival on Thursday, immersing himself in Turkana culture by visiting homesteads locally known as ‘manyattas

”Culture serves as a great repository of identity and knowledge,” President Ruto said during his opening remarks.

According to the President Ruto, the overall goal of the festival is to position Turkana County as the cradel of mankind, the destination of choice for cultural tourism.

This year’s festival will showcase an array of the rich cultural heritage of the Turkana people, including traditional food, traditional regalia, folk songs and dance of the rich history and lifestyle of the Turkana community and neighboring communities.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has recognized the role of culture as a driver of tourism growth, especially for destination development, positioning, diversification, competitiveness, sustainability, and recognition at the international level.

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