November 26, 2010 – The Lamu Cultural Festival has kicked off and the main event this year is the opening of the newly restored 19th Century Lamu Fort.
The fort has been restored with a Sh2.4 million grant from the US government, and will be handed over to the National Museums of Kenya at midday tomorrow, a day before the Festival draws to a close.
US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger will officiate the handover ceremony, where he is expected to announce the partnership between the Lamu Museum and the Cincinnati Museum Centre in the US through the Museums and Community Collaborations Abroad program.
This program, which is funded through the US government, offers a grant of Sh12 million in support of a collaborative project called “In Their Voices: Discovering the Intangible Heritage and Artistic Expressions in American and Swahili Culture.”
The program will allow school-aged children in Cincinnati and Lamu to discover and share their cultural heritage through storytelling, poetry, and folklore.
The festival this year is also supported by the Embassies of France, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland and Germany and the Delegation of the European Union.
As expected, there will be donkey races, dhow races and lots of food and music.
According to the French Embassy, a debate will be hosted on the proposed construction of a port in Lamu.
The issue has been thorny owing to the remote feel to the island, which will be destroyed if the port is built.