30 cultural artefacts were returned to the Mijikenda community on Monday, 30 years after going missing.
The totems had been stolen from the community and kept in the Denver Museum of Natural History in Colorado. The totems, locally called 'vogango' represent the spirits of their dead senior elder, Gohu.
According to the Kaya elders who welcomed the 'spirits', they had haunted those who stole them, and that's why they were returned.
Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Arts Amina Mohamed presented the 30 spirits to the Mijikenda elders during a traditional ceremony held at Fort Jesus Museum in Mombasa.
"The value of our national history is the best intellectual currency for our future. We will ensure that this quest continues until every item of historical significance finds its way back to our shores. And we can showcase our culture, symbols that we are proud of," Mohamed said in a tweet.
The CS further noted that 29 other cultural artefacts from the US have been kept at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport since 2014.
She promised the elders that she will make sure they are returned to them, being the rightful owners.
“These are grave posts erected in honour of spiritual leaders and their value should not be converted to money. I am appealing to the global community to return more cultural artefacts to be put in the rightful use,” she noted as quoted by the Standard.
The artefacts were returned after Philip Jimbi, a top researcher at the National Museum of Kenya (NMK) led a campaign to return over 1,000 cultural artefacts stolen from Kenyan communities and sold.