This article deals with the representation of Kenyan national identity through dance. It analyses the reenactment of a series of ethnic dances at Bomas of Kenya, a cultural center located just outside Nairobi and part of the network of National Museums of Kenya. As an institution resulting from a strategic political investment in both Kenya's immaterial heritage and the tourist industry, since its inception in the early 1970s Bomas of Kenya has played an important role in conveying the idea of ethnic harmony and national unity. The comparison with Cut Off My Tongue (2009), the show by Kenyan writer and performer Sitawa Namwalie in which dance is interwoven with political satire to frame reflections on negative ethnicity, serves to highlight the implications that different approaches to dancing bodies, through such concepts as identity, embodiment, archive, and memory, could have for a meaningful political future.

This article deals with the representation of Kenyan national identity through dance. It analyses the reenactment of a series of ethnic dances at Bomas of Kenya, a cultural center located just outside Nairobi and part of the network of National Museums of Kenya. As an institution resulting from a strategic political investment in both Kenya’s immaterial heritage and the tourist industry, Bomas of Kenya has played since its inception in the early 1970s an important role in conveying the idea of ethnic harmony and national unity. The comparison with Cut Off My Tongue (2009), the show by Kenyan writer and performer Sitawa Namwalie in which dance is interwoven with political satire to frame reflections on negative ethnicity serves to highlight the implications that different approaches to dancing bodies through such concepts as identity, embodiment, archive, and memory could have for a meaningful political future.

Reenacting Heritage at Bomas of Kenya: Dancing the Postcolony

FRANCO, Susanne
2015-01-01

Abstract

This article deals with the representation of Kenyan national identity through dance. It analyses the reenactment of a series of ethnic dances at Bomas of Kenya, a cultural center located just outside Nairobi and part of the network of National Museums of Kenya. As an institution resulting from a strategic political investment in both Kenya’s immaterial heritage and the tourist industry, Bomas of Kenya has played since its inception in the early 1970s an important role in conveying the idea of ethnic harmony and national unity. The comparison with Cut Off My Tongue (2009), the show by Kenyan writer and performer Sitawa Namwalie in which dance is interwoven with political satire to frame reflections on negative ethnicity serves to highlight the implications that different approaches to dancing bodies through such concepts as identity, embodiment, archive, and memory could have for a meaningful political future.
2015
47
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3673871
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