Eva Nyambura Maina

Language and cultural heritage, a kenyan perspective



Kenya is a complex multi ethinic, multi lingual nation with a rich cultural heritage. Although they are all interconnected, the phenomena of ethnic communities, languages, and cultural heritage are sometimes seen as separate realities in a legal context. Interestingly, in Kenya, indigenous African languages have often been neglected and relegated as something from a bygone era with little legal legitimacy. This was done, among other things, to promote nation-building by bringing together the many ethnic communities under an English or Kiswahili hegemony. The paper posits that greater legal recognition of indigenous languages, including the distinctive way that language is cultural heritage, and subsequent efforts to promote the use of indigenous languages would lead to greater appreciation for cultural diversity and, in the long run, will aid in the effort of nation building. This argument is supported by an examination of how Italy has managed the balancing act of legal recognition of minority languages alongside the development of the Italian language, which is rightly considered as a cultural asset.


  • Local languages
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Kenya


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