The Borana Cultural Festival an annual event that no-one should ever miss be it a stranger or resident of the cradle (Marsabit, Kenya)
Marsabit in itself is one of those places in northern Kenya one will never get enough of. Once, twice, numerous times is never enough. Everything from the amazing people to the beauty of their cultures. From its diverse cultures to the well preserved historical places like Koobi Fora, the travel list for Marsabit County is endless.
When I heard about the cultural event, On 2016 and knowing how I am really attracted to cultures, I bent backward to ensure that I got to experience it.
I am a glad soul today to have attended this year’s event and experience it as well as learn a lot about Borana people.
I have a lifetime encounter with these wonderful people of Northern Kenya and here is my story.
2017 Borana Cultural Festival went down in Gadamoji cultural center on the outskirts of Marsabit town. The event attracted hundreds of people from all walks of life who came to catch a glamour of beautiful Borana culture.
I hardly knew much about the Borana community before this, so seeing them exposing their culture was outstanding. They outdid themselves in showcasing various elements of their culture from their food, clothing, music, and dance among others.
The Borana cultural dress code is made up of a shawl or light blanket type over-wrap over the shoulders. Women wear scarf head coverings while men often wear a “prayer beanie” cap or a turban.
The Borana’s staple food is milk and milk products. Meat, although an important food, is consumed irregularly because only on very special occasions will they slaughter an animal and eat meat. They regard their livestock as very valuable hence only slaughter on special occasions like marriage, naming ceremony, funerals just to name a few.
The Borana’s economy and lifestyle is organized around cattle, though formerly taboo camels are becoming more important, and they now herd sheep and goats.
Dance To Their Tunes
Borana traditional dances are graceful, very little vigor or chest thumping as is common in most northern Kenya communities. When the men and women dance together, there is no body-contact though they seem like they are hugging or should I call them flying hugs. They then had the “Beautiful People of Africa” in my view, a young girl and a young boy in the dance troupe who danced smiled and talked to people.
One is never too young to learn about their culture and it was a great sight watching these young ones being actively involved in showcasing their culture. For urban kids, you need to visit and interact more with the Borana in their natural setting/homes to get a complete integration beyond the ordinary.
On the cultural center traditional round grass huts constructed by women. The houses consist of interwoven branches thatched with grass all the way to the ground.
In real life situation when movement of the homesteads is required -they lead a nomadic lifestyle (they move three or four times a year)- the transportable portions of the house are loaded onto the back of a camel or a woman and carried to the new location.
They settled temporarily in groups of 10 to 30 houses. Women weave portable grass huts called “Dasse”
The Borana Cultural Festival is indeed a must-attend festival. There is so much culture on display and you will indeed have to learn lots about the indomitable Borana of Africa and various communities that live there.
Borana cultural festival a yearly event held in Marsabit County is a must event for people who are interested in culture.