Push for Taita skulls caves to world heritage site begins – Kenya News Agency
Rigorously tucked on a jutting rock shelf inside a cold darkish historic cave on the hilly Mwanda village of Wundanyi is a trove of macabre trophy; a whole lot of white-washed human skulls that eerily gleam within the spooky gloom of the cave.
These skulls belong to revered leaders, heroes and different notable members of the group from centuries in the past whose selfless deeds of valor and sacrifices elevated them to be honored inside the group and past.
At a time the world is getting quickly modernized, the preservation of human skulls as deified memorabilia may appear as if a ghoulish apply however to the native residents, the skulls type a key a part of the group’s cultural id that strengthens traditions and reinforces attachment to the arcane methods of the ancestors.
The Chair for Home Tourism Affiliation (DTA) Mr. Livingstone Mgenyi explains that Taita cranium caves have nice cultural significance for native communities owing to the deep historic and non secular hyperlinks the caves have. He provides that esoteric rites and different secret rituals carried out by chosen elders earlier than permitting outsiders’ entry to the cranium caves solely provides to the mystifying affect clinging to those conventional websites.
The rites are obligatory to wash outsiders and permit them into the hallowed grounds of the cave with out having them undergo hurt from incensed ancestral spirits
These rites embrace not carrying sneakers when coming into the cave and slaughtering a goat to appease the stressed spirits roaming within the undisturbed darkness. Whereas leaving the caves, it’s forbidden to look behind.
“The caves are particular websites the place the stays of the group’s heroes are safely saved. They’ve their strict guidelines earlier than one enters. These are nice historic property for this county,” he explains.
Promoters of home tourism argue that Mwanda and different cranium caves in Taita remained one of the crucial underexploited and beneath marketed cultural property regardless of its huge tourism potential. Different cranium caves are discovered scattered in chosen villages in Sagalla in Voi; Funju in Wundanyi and Ndemwa in Mwatate.
Whereas Taita-Taveta County is extensively considered a sleeping tourism large, little progress has been made in advertising different various vacationer merchandise the area possesses. There’s only a fleeting point out of the traditional World Conflict 1 battlefield websites, a cursory discuss on cultural caves and informal dialogue on homestays within the scenic Taita hills.
A key motive attributed to this lackluster effort to market such rising merchandise is the presence of Tsavo Nationwide Park; a world-famous magnificent marvel whose unmatched bush tourism expertise simply eclipses different not-so-famous tourism merchandise.
“Tsavo is simply too well-known. Most vacationers have a unsuitable notion that Taita-Taveta has nothing else to supply however the wildlife and thrills of Tsavo. We have to present them different uncommon merchandise. We now have World Conflict 1 battlefield websites, the cranium caves and glorious homestays services,” says Mr. Mgenyi.
To advertise cultural tourism, the nationwide authorities, by the Nationwide Museum of Kenya (NMK), has moved in to bolster uncommon historic websites to extend their international visibility in a transfer anticipated to draw droves of native and worldwide vacationers into the area.
Deputy Director for Nationwide Museum of Kenya in Coast Area Mr. Athman Hussein says a complete survey on cultural heritage websites throughout Kenya had recognized Taita-Taveta as a area endowed with wealthy cultural-historical websites that known as for particular consideration.
He famous that the traditional cranium caves had been a uncommon product with potential to propel the county into worldwide fame. He additional disclosed that archeological analysis confirmed that the one different nation the place such cranium caves within the hills are to be discovered is Peru in South America.
“The caves and the frilly ritual related to them are very uncommon. They solely have their equal in Peru. This factors to a fantastic potential for selling tourism,” defined the official.
Athman said that to protect their uniqueness, plans had been underway to have the United Nations Instructional, Scientific and Cultural Group (UNESCO) confer the standing of World Heritage Websites on chosen websites in Taita-Taveta County. Prime within the checklist are the World Conflict 1 battlefield websites and historic cranium caves.
Already, NMK says it has forwarded a file to UNESCO asking for The Ruins of Gede in Kilifi County to be upgraded right into a world heritage web site.
“We’re accomplished with Gede. Our subsequent agenda is Taita-Taveta County. These extraordinarily priceless websites qualify to be beneath World Heritage Websites as a result of the battlefield websites and the cranium caves are very particular,” he defined.
Conferment of World Heritage Web site standing to the little-known skulls caves is anticipated to propel the county into immediate international fame. With the huge consideration world heritage websites obtain from vacationers, students and researchers, the transfer by NMK is seen as probably the most sensible answer for advertising the area to a world clientele.
In line with UNESCO, a web site qualifies for the standing of a World Heritage Web site if it has excellent common, cultural, historic, pure and archeological worth. This conferment of standing additionally permits critically endangered, uncommon and priceless merchandise and websites to get particular safety from degradation because of human actions or pure actions. The websites can both be categorized beneath pure websites or cultural websites.
Kenya is a signatory to 2 UNESCO conventions; the 1972 Conference of The Safety of World Cultural and Pure Heritage and the 2003 Conference for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Already, Kenya has seven websites categorized as World Heritage Websites. They’re Lake Turkana Nationwide Park and Mt. Kenya Nationwide Park. Each parks had been conferred this standing in 1997. In 2001, Lamu Previous City grew to become a World Heritage Web site adopted by Mijikenda Kaya Forests in 2008. The Kenya Lake System within the Nice Rift Valley and the well-known Fort Jesus grew to become world Heritage websites in 2011 whereas Thimlich Ohinga Archeological Web site was upgraded in 2018.
There are 17 extra listed websites in Kenya ready for UNESCO’s nod to be conferred with world heritage web site standing.
By Wagema Mwangi