There are different definitions of diversity. The basic definition is that it is the condition of having or being composed of different elements. It also means the inclusion of different types of people of different races or cultures in a country, group or organization.
Kenya is a fully diversified society. The country has 44 tribes with different languages and cultures that blend to bring out a stunning composition of a broad Kenyan culture. Different tribes in Kenya have different cultures and beliefs as well as practices. Some are unique in how they dress, especially the Maasai while some are unique in how they define beauty like the Turkana. All these are often brought together by Swahili, the national language that makes us feel Kenyan.
Unfortunately, Kenyan have taken diversity to mean tribalism and instead of using it to be our strength, it has been our weakness and enemy number one. Politicians, having realized the power of division along tribal lines, have capitalized on it, turning our diversity into enmity. What many Kenyans don’t know is that the more divided we are along tribal lines, mistaking our diversity to tribalism, the more profitable we are for politicians and the more they make billions of shillings over us.
Diversity should be our pride, our identity, and our strength. Have you ever asked yourself why a tourist would travel all the way from the United Kingdom to come and have a look at the way of life of the Maasai community? Is it because the Maasai are more Kenyan than most of us? Absolutely not. It is because the Maasai community has a culture, a culture that identifies them both within and without the country. How they dress, how they talk, how they hold their cultural practices, makes them who they are; Kenyan.
What are some key advantages of ethnic diversity that Kenya can capitalize on and skyrocket herself as the all-time economic powerhouse in the East African region?
Different cultures from different backgrounds can interact and get to learn from each other and, in the process, appreciate each other. Cohesion is about togetherness and this can only be achieved if communities understood each other, came together, interacted and appreciated each other.
Rich cultural stock
Kenya has 44 tribes. Each tribe has a pool of cultures that are beneficial both to itself and other communities. Kenyans can share such diverse cultures as music, art, and craft, and even visit each other as local tourists to learn from each other. Most communities at the Kenyan coast have a rich cultural history that is beneficial for the growth of the country.
Coming from different ethnic backgrounds, it means that every group has something unique to offer at the economic table in terms of experience and expertise. In Kenya, some are farmers, some are businessmen and women, some are cattle keepers and some are custodians of culture, all these brought together aim at moving Kenya towards an economic development.
What should Kenyans do to preserve their diversity?
Kenyans should appreciate each other’s culture. Culture should not set us apart but bring us closer. Kenyans should also sieve through what politicians say. Not everything that a politician says is good for us as a people of Kenya. We should avoid politicians who preach hate and division.
Kenyans should be responsible on how they engage on social media. Kenyans are burning their own country on social media. We are making it look like it is a crime to be born in a certain tribe. We should use social media to unite us, not to preach ethnic divisions.
Kenyans should support the efforts of the National Integration and Cohesion Commission in their effort to try and preserve our diversity in making us realize that we are Kenyans and should love each other.