Monday, 12 October 2015

KENYAN CULTURE GETS DIGITIZED


The Google Cultural Institute, in collaboration with the Kenya
National Archives, has launched the digitised National Archives - an
initiative that celebrates and promotes Kenyan history, Africa’s
heroes and cultural heritage.

With the digitised national archives, artefacts and historical
documents will now be accessible at the click of the button.

This means that anyone interacting with the artifacts online will not
only come face to face with the history of Kenya and other African
countries such as; Ethiopia, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of
Congo and Nigeria, but also celebrate African heroes, art and culture.

'It is very ironic how culture is an ancient and traditional aspect of
human life then technology is something that is modern and both are
fused together to ensure the conservation of African
history.Technology plays a great role in promoting culture in the
world we live in today. Not only does it help to conserve art and
culture in digital forms that can be accessed from any part of the
world, it creates new, interactive and educational ways of
storytelling and brings local heritage and history to the fingertips
of a global audience. This will go a long way in promoting Kenya as a
favourable destination,” said Dr. Hassan Wario - Cabinet Secretary,
Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts.

Communications Manager for Google East Africa and Francophone
countries Dorothy Ooko has said this is a way of telling the African
narrative without fear of  distortion.

'Many times our stories are told by people from the West however
finding these items online will help Africans in telling their own
story.When we talk about Dedan Kimathi the globe will get to know that
this is the person who struggled to fight for Kenya's
independence,'says Ms Ooko.

Critics have questioned whether the presence of Kenyan artefacts being
displayed online will dampen the interests of those seeking to visit
Kenya National Archives.

'You can see something online however the full experience is only felt
when you physically visit the place,'Ms. Ooko tells critics.

“The Kenya National Archives owns important material that tells a
story about a period of time or event that is rarely put on display.
The online exhibitions, therefore, provide a way through which
cultural institutions can tell a story around historical material and
bring to life a particular event, theme or topic relevant to our
history and culture,”  said Google Country Manager, Charles Murito.

The partnership, which is part of Google’s efforts to preserve
Africa’s cultural heritage, will also serve to boost the tourism
sector by availing novel ways to showcase the country’s culture and
history to visitors.

The Google Cultural Institute - a high-profile world culture project
that hosts the world’s cultural treasures online through partnerships
with major museums and institutions - will now host more than 1,000
archives and artworks as well as 15 curated exhibits that curators,
historians and everyone anywhere can now virtually access the cultural
treasures housed by the Kenya National Archives .

The Google Cultural Institute currently supports over 850 cultural
institutions from over 60 countries and hosting the digitised Kenya
National Archives, biggest digitization effort in Africa so far on The
Google Cultural Institute will not only enable users to discover
Kenya’s historical treasures in new ways but will help the cultural
sector to make the most of digital opportunities.


“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it
universally accessible and useful. There is so much rich and important
material in the cultural sector to do with art, history and heritage
which can only be seen by those lucky enough to visit these
institutions. The Cultural Institute is an effort to make important
cultural material available and accessible to everyone and to
digitally preserve it to educate and inspire future generations.,”
concludes Pierre Caessa, Google Cultural Institute's Program Manager.