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Home / Leisure and Travel

Tobong’u Lore: The Turkana tourism and cultural festival

 The Turkana cultural festival came into existence in 2014

Tobong’u Lore is still relatively unknown among many Kenyans despite being in existence for the last five years.

Tobong’u Lore is a new tourism and cultural festival that was launched by the Turkana County government and has been successfully held thrice in the past few years.

The word Tobong’u Lore meaning ‘coming home’ or ‘welcome back home’ in the Turkana native language, serves as an initiative by the community to bring unity and peace.

The cultural festival is held in the third week of April each year, where people come together to have fun and enjoy themselves. Participants come together at Ekalees Center in Lodwar to interact and showcase their cultures in interesting ways.

Despite being launched in 2014, it was officially launched in 2018. The festival lasts three to four days where both locals and tourists can come and experience the richness of the Turkana culture.

Below are other intriguing facts you should know about the Tobong’u Lore festival.

1. Cultural dress codes

The Tobong’u Lore festival is characterized by a colourful and flamboyant dress code. The participants come dressed in traditional attire and accessories. The women come decked out in traditional beaded necklaces, bangles, beaded belts and earrings. The men come dressed in flamboyant headgear, traditional clothes and special anklets. In the Turkana community, their outfits and accessories usually have a certain cultural significance which enforces their heritage.

Participants who are not familiar with the culture are greatly welcomed to participate as well. This gives it a modern twist as outsiders freely interact with locals.

 The festival celebrates the Turkana culture while calling for peace and unity

2. Activities

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The festival is also marked by many interesting and interactive activities. People dance and sing traditional songs which make it more fun. Turkana traditional dances are usually lively so you are bound to enjoy yourself. As the festival proceeds, you get to watch different performances such as skits and musicals that entertain and pass important messages to the audience.

There are exhibitions at the festival as well. This is a great opportunity for people to showcase their products which you can buy at great prices. The exhibitors also take this time to promote important community initiatives that they have been working on such as women empowerment projects.

One of the most important aspects of a festival is the food. And this is what they will get!

Visitors get to taste some traditional delicacies that are a trademark of the Turkana. The locals prepare their famous goat blood mixture for you to taste as they demonstrate the methods they use to collect the blood without killing the animal.

 Central Island on Lake Turkana

3. Themes

The festival is symbolic for the local Turkana community, the nation as a whole and the world. The locals in the community have experienced unfortunate events including tribal clashes. Many of these clashes are as a result of retaliation from livestock wrangles. The region is faced with security issues from time to time, which can leave no time for fun. The festival is therefore very crucial because it is intended for peace building, togetherness and celebration.

Turkana is also considered as the cradle of all cultures of the world. The festival is a way of connecting people of the world with their heritage and roots hence the title, ‘Welcome back home’.

4. Challenges

The festival is not safe from experiencing challenges. One of the major ones is lack of funds to propel it forward. The county is often forced to reallocate the funds meant for the festival, for emergency missions in the area. Recently, the festival funds had to be redirected to deal with the famine crisis that the region faced.

Hopefully, the festival will be revived as soon as these issues are dealt with.

The festival is very promising and is very crucial for peacebuilding and the unity of the Kenyan people.

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