This is a must attend festival that should be on everyones bucket list. Mombasa in itself is one of those places I cant get enough of. Once, twice, numerous times is never enough.Everything from the amazing beaches, to the beauty that is the Indian Ocean, to the diverse cultures that live there, to the well preserved historical places like fort Jesus, the list is endless. I have tried to highlight part of the beauty that is Mombasa https://wangechigitahi.co.ke/2014/05/30/kenya-mombasa/.When I heard about the cultural event, I bent backwards ensuring that I visited the area at the time and I was truly impressed.
A) Borana Cultural Village
This village gets two thumbs up from me.First, I hardly know much about the Borana community so just seeing them exposing their culture was outstanding.Two, they outdid themselves in showcasing their culture. The ladies were dressed in beautiful “shukas”/wraps that practically called to me from a distance.
Three, the whole team was involved in showcasing their culture-the men, women and children. I met a lady called Jamila who not only had a genuine smile through out, (I am a sucker for smiles) but also took time to educate me on their culture. I got to sample some of their delicacies like “Tor’ which is coffee beans soaked in milk. This is a special drink that is served to elders and men whenever they get home or visit a home.
Four, their dances are graceful,very little vigour or chest thumping as is common in most 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 “creme de la creme” in my view, a young girl and a young boy in the dance troupe who danced, smiled and talked to people.I clearly need to return and interact with the Borana in their natural seeting/homes to get a compelete integration. If you know anyone, have a relative or can hook a sister up-let me know.
You have not been to Mombasa if you havent heard or seen “mnazi “-palm tree . It is however famous for the local brew ‘mnazi” or “Uchi” as the locals call it, that is made from its fruit. It is drank traditionally from the traditional alchol cup called “mboko” and “mritza” which is the traditional straw.Thanks to the below lady for taking time to educate me on some of the Mijikenda culture.(one of the nine tribes of the Coast).Take time to sample the variety of delicacies available everything from Biryanito mhogo crisps to coconut rice-everything.
3)Learn how to cook
I got to see a lady actually preparing coconut for cooking.They use a traditional instrument called a”mbuzi” to “kuna” the cocout.Kuna in this case would mean “scrape the coconut.”The shavings are then placed in a another instrument,water is then added and then the mixture is squeezed out to make liquid coconut or coconut soup/syrup which is then used to cook various meals like rice,stews etc..Really cool,though the lazy bunch of us just buy the finished product from the stores.
There were dances in plenty from the wide array of Kenyan tribes and more sore the dominant communityat the coast which is the Mijikenda tribe(there are nine). Their dances are quite vigurous with the women mainly shaking their shoulders and waist and the men their shoulders and feet. Even the rains would no dampen their spirits, I was thoroughly entertained.
This festival should officially be on everyones bucket list. There is so much to learn about the diversity of the cultures in Mombasa as well as lots to see. I now need to plan a return trip to learn more on the Borana as well as other communities.Mombasa cultural Festival ,thank you for having me and making my trip so worth it.
My only recommendation is for most of the groups to be more friendly and engaging.It seemed that most only came to dance and after that seemed averse to queries on their culture.