Lamu Old Town is a unique and rare historical living heritage with more than 700 years of continuous settlement. Since its inscription as a World Heritage Site in 2001, the annual Lamu Cultural Festival has been a celebration of the unique Swahili heritage of the Lamu Archipelago.
Organized by the Lamu Cultural promotion group, the three day festival (20-22 Nov, 2009) showcases traditional dances, displays of handicraft and competitions on water and land (Swahili poetry, donkey races, dhow races, henna painting), Swahili bridal ceremony and musical performances.
The programme features dramatized performances of poems for instance ‘Mnazi: Vuta N'Kuvute' (The Coconut tree; "A Tug of War') by the Kenyan poet, Abdilatif Abdalla, from his collection of poems ‘Sauti ya Dhiki'.
Musical performances from different artistes highlight the universality of shared influences over time.
Lamu Fort will host a series of exhibitions including; a poster exhibition on ‘Bombay Africans (1850 -1910)', ‘Kanga Stories' documenting the social meaning and use of the Kanga and ‘Collage Boxes' an assemblage of boxes highlighting feminist art using collage by the Brazilian artist, Carolina Gama.
The other highlights of the Festival include the official opening of the restored ‘Dheule Mosque' in Shela (a mid 18th century traditional Swahili exhibiting cultural, historical and architectural traits that are of invaluable significance to the people of the Lamu archipelago) as well as the launch of the pictorial book ‘Lamu, Kenya's Enchanted Island'.
The 10th Lamu Cultural festival is a wonderful opportunity to experience the island's unspoiled beaches, medieval ambience, architecturally magnificent Old Town, gracious population, and traditions of an enchanted island where history continues to live. Lamu welcomes you to experience a heritage and traditions that have earned the Island a place in the coveted UNESCO's World Heritage List.