The first ever creative writers’ workshop, sponsored by the Turkana County Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources, was organised today to equip the participants with the writing knowledge and skills to document the different aspects of Turkana culture.
The two-day workshop’s objective is to fulfil the Department of Culture’s mandate to promote, preserve and develop Turkana indigenous knowledge. However, there is much to be documented thus the selected participants interested in writing and publishing in this subject were brought together.
In his opening remarks, Charles Lokioto – the County Executive Member for Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources, said that the workshop was a start to spur the county writers, storytellers, poets and narrators to create creative or historical works that go to preserving and conserving the Turkana culture.
“We wanted to open your mind with this workshop and to start the process of getting ideas on this important issue of documenting our culture,” he said.
He added that, like Tobong’u Lore, the county creatives too needed to seize the opportunity to educate the new generation about their Turkana cultural heritage.
“We realised that there is gap in the documentation about Turkana. Our intention with the workshop is to engage these facilitators to inspire this team [participants] to bring what they have documented so far and to go produce,” said Philip Lokaala, the Deputy Director for Culture.
The 30 participants, under Professor Michael Lokuruka and author and publisher Alex Nderitu, were taken through a program that focused on sharing their writing experiences and techniques.
professor, Lokuruka whose 2016 article ‘Ramifications of the Turkana patrols of 1917-1918’ has been quoted over 40 times, advised the participants to take advantage of the low hanging fruit that is recording of the oral literature. While Nderitu cautioned the participants not to allow other people to tell their story instead they should take charge and do it themselves.
“We have realised that little has been documented on songs, wildlife, icon sites and the Turkana culture in general. Hence, we thought the best way to address this gap was to bring the creatives on board for culture documentation,” said Titus Ekiru, Deputy Director- Heritage.
In closing the workshop, Pauline Lokuruka – Chief Officer of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources revealed that the ministry had already begun the formal documentation of Moru Anayece – one of the legends of the Ateker clans.
“The Turkana history was written a long time ago, let’s question those books and rewrite. We need to stand out and tell our stories,” she said, “I challenge you [participants] to start small and write children books of our stories and to teach them the Turkana cultural heritage.”
At the end of the workshop, the participants will have learnt academic and creative writing, translation and research techniques, writing tools and publishing options/opportunities.