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Kenya: Introduction

Kenya: Introduction

 

The Kenyan population is made up of over 70 ethnic groups, the most populous of which is the Kikuyu, who make up about 20% of the society. Kenya is therefore a multicultural nation, something which is reflected in the Kenyan government’s cultural policy, which promotes ‚the attainment of unity within cultural diversity for sustainable development. Culture in Kenya has therefore become the ideological and philosophical foundation for national development and identity. The government also recognises that culture is a dynamic thing, and is always in a state of flux.

The Kenyan government also appreciates culture as one of the main methods of dealing with ethnic tensions within a country which is historically based on colonialism. Besides dealing with groups which work against social cohesion, the Kenyan government also recognises opportunities for the creation of a peaceful society with the rapid modernization that comes through free trade, democracy, globalization and implementation of human rights through the use of culture.

In facing political tensions and violence organised through ethnic affiliation, the Kenyan government acknowledges that in their case, the only way to foster a peaceful coexistence is through the development of multiculturalist policies that aim towards the inclusion and participation of all its citizens. One of the key objectives of these policies is to provide the means by which the Kenyan nation can forge a strong and vibrant national identity, which instils national pride.

The Kenyan government also recognises that culture and cultural diversity is central to furthering sustainable socio-economic development, as it widens the range of options open to every citizen. These elements also increase opportunities for economic activity, and create the conditions for a satisfactory intellectual and spiritual existence. The Kenyan government also works to foster cultural exchange programmes, as it sees them as important methods of building inter-African as well as international networks, which can provide the basis for economic cooperation and create lasting cultural understanding.

The final challenge that the Kenyan government addresses in its cultural policy is the preservation and enhancement of cultural and national heritage for future generations. Such activities create a basis for nationhood, from which a genuine dialogue among Kenya´s diverse cultures can grow.

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