Have you seen our Vigango?
Help us return the stolen souls of our loved ones home
We know many of us worldwide have been conditioned to be consumers of what we call “ART”. Because of that if any of you were to see an object like this in the Museum or an art auction house you probably would be filled with the euphoria of seeing an exquisite art piece from a minority tribe in Kenya. Some would even pay thousands of pounds to have the prestige of owning such a historical piece like this. But as many of us celebrate this art, there is a community of nine tribes in Kenya called the Mijikenda community with roughly over 2 million people mourning the loss of the souls of their key spiritual elders. I think it’s important for us to have a bigger conversation about art and how a loss like this impacts the Indigenous community. But most importantly, we need your help in recovering our vigango, and if you come across them, please take a picture and share the details with Tony Kalume firstname.lastname@example.org head of the Vigango Resting Place group. We are building a comprehensive database that guides our repatriation efforts. You can also help us cover the repatriation costs by making a small donation at the link below.
ABOUT THE VIGANGO REPATRIATION & RESTING PLACE PROJECT
The repatriation of the Vigango and the establishment of a resting place in the Mijikenda community directly impacts the preservation of the Kaya traditions and the sacred Kaya forests. The Sacred Kaya forests are among the 7 UNESCO heritage sites in Kenya. Each of the nine tribes in the Mijikenda community has a Kaya and elders who guide the community on both spiritual and cultural matters. For generations, when a Kaya elder passes away the Mijikenda community carves a Kigango (Vigango – plural) to celebrate and preserve the soul of that elder. This is because they continue to guide the existing Kaya elders through visions and dreams on how to run the community’s affairs. The theft and sale of the Vigango by the Western communities in the name of preserving African art through museum and art houses has had devastating effects on the highest institution of the Mijikenda people called The Kaya. This institution has been responsible for its indigenous knowledge and spirituality among the Mijikenda people for generations now. It is inhuman to rob a whole community of their heritage especially when they remain very active in their culture and that’s why we are on a time-sensitive mission to recover and rebuild this crucial part of our people. Highlighted below is the 2019 census data showing that the Mijikenda communities in Kwale and Kilifi are among the top 11 communities in Kenya rooted in their traditional beliefs.