The Abasuba and Abakuria communities in Homa Bay and Migori Counties have mooted a united course to champion their rich cultural heritage that is slowly slithering to extinction.
At a ceremony that brought together the two communities at Migori County’s Mabera Market, cultural leaders vowed to speak in one voice to preserve their rich culture that is fast eroding with time for the sake of their people.
Led by Mzee James Kirato 81 and Ms Grace Orore 62 from the Kuria and Suba Communities respectively, the community members resolved that there was need for the two communities to work together to re-invigorate the norms and traditional rites that bonded members of the two communities together for posterity.
“We want the Suba Community to ensure that their language – Kisuba that has lost fame is brought back to form and embraced by the young generation instead of watching it die,” said Kirato.
Unlike the Kuria Community that has continued to speak their language fluently, the Abasuba community has suffered an assimilation streak courtesy of the Luo Community influence that has seen its Kisuba language completely dead among the younger generation from the community.
Research has revealed that only older people from the Suba community can fluently speak the language with a larger population from the community embracing Luo language and following to the letter all the Luo norms and rites in their normal life.
In the late 80s, the then second President of Kenya the late Daniel Arap Moi ordered for the establishment of a Suba station in Kisumu that was to broadcast their news and development programmes in pure Suba dialect in attempt to promote the language but it flopped.
However, yesterday, Mzee Kirato and Mama Orore said a journey has been started by the two communities to teach their young ones proper mother tongue and their culture and norms with a view to make their traditions remain intact for the sake of the future generation.
“A community that cannot preserve its culture and tradition will always remain a slave to other communities they live amidst and cannot champion its rights well,” said Kirato.
One member of the Abakuria community Mr. Matiko Choka said that Abakuria and Abasuba are one people with similarities in their dialects and cultural practices, pointing out that togetherness is what will help them achieve their dream of unity and cooperation.
Choka acknowledged that in 2018 they returned seven cows that were initially stolen by the Abakuria from the Abasuba. This was an indication that they wanted to unite and put the past behind.
On that note, the leaders from the two communities appealed to the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage to give them support in their endevours to promote their rich heritage.
“We are happy that the Ministry has appreciated the efforts being done by the Suba and Kuria people in trying to preserve their culture and language and due to that we are calling for their support to ensure our dream come true,” said Mzee Kirato.
He specifically urged the ministry to assist them in their proposal to start a cultural center in Kuria to showcase the cultures of Abakuria and Abasuba communities.
The Head of Radio Programme at Togotane Radio station that announces on Kikuria language, Ms. Teressia Robi assured the communities that the station will help to propel the agenda of the Suba- Kuria cultural heritage.
She noted that Radio Togotane was meant for Abakuria and there was a need to incorporate the Abasuba in order to propel the agenda of both communities since their languages are closely linked.
“The biggest challenge however, is the limitation of our frequency. We only reach some parts of Tanzania, Kuria region and Migori County and since the Suba community is based in Homa Bay there is need for another frequency to cover the intended area,” she explained.
She said they already have a Kuria Cultural show that is aired on Sundays. The addition of Suba culture according to her would have a positive impact on the Abasuba community in the region.
The Head of Department for minority and marginalised communities in Kenya Mr. Amos Olelempaka while speaking on the phone praised the memorandum and urged the Abasubas and Abakurias to put their differences aside.
He underscored the importance of working together as the only way to achieve the rights of minority communities in Kenya.