Historical heritage site renovated at a cost of Sh.5.7 million
The famous Dr. Ludwig Krapt historical site in Rabai sub-county of Kilifi has received a major facelift at a cost of Sh.5.7 million.
The Krapf Memorial Rabai Museum, a rustic setting of the 19th century church edifice built in 1846, has since suffered severe deterioration.
The medieval religious architecture was built by Johann Ludwig Krapf, a German missionary and explorer in East Africa.
The German government has provided the funds for the conservation of the site which was the first church and school to be built in East and Central Africa.
The National Museums of Kenya (NMK) has equally provided a further Sh.2 million for research work and collection of exhibits for the revamped museum.
The German Ambassador to Kenya, Jutta Frasch, Heritage Principal Secretary (PS), Josphetta Mukobe and NMK Director General (DG), Dr. Mzalendo Kibunjia visited the site following the facelift.
Ms. Mukobe said Kenya has a wealth of historical heritage sites and monuments such as the one in Rabai that should not be neglected and allowed to become ruins.
“The government is cognizant of the fact that our heritage needs to be protected, maintained and marketed to the world,” she observed.
She identified other religious heritage sites in dire need of restoration works as the Old Italian church near Mai Mahiu, Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga shrine in Muranga, Kongo mosque in Kwale, Holy Ghost Catholic Cathedral in Mombasa, Ikhonga Murwi weeping stone in Kakamega and Oluchiri sacred groove in Vihiga.
Dr. Kibunjia said NMK is working with county governments in the preservation of cultural and historical sites and monuments in their localities.
He said they would work with the devolved units to link tourism and culture so that tourists could appreciate and experience the ‘richness of our country’s diverse culture’.
The NMK DG said they were seeking the growth of heritage tourism that goes beyond the traditional sandy beaches and wildlife tours and safaris phenomenon.
“Heritage and cultural tourism offers counties tremendous opportunity for growth as it offers interactive experiential form of tourism,” he said adding that NMK has started programs to revitalize national monuments.
Dr. Kibunjia said NMK is working with the coastal counties of Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale to position them as premier destinations for heritage and cultural tourism.
He noted the impact of promoting cultural tourism would be of educational, social as well as economic value for the counties.
On her part, the German envoy said they have rehabilitated the Krapf memorial museum under their cultural preservation programme to safeguard rich historical sites and donated the Sh5.7 million to restore the monument back to its previous glory.
Ms. Frasch said the renovations would allow the old Rabai church to maintain its historical integrity while greatly enhancing a key piece of tourism infrastructure and cultural heritage.
By Hussein Abdullahi