I am Lydia Kagonya, proudly from Africa! I live in Kenya, although my family has no specific nationality since we come from various African countries. I live in Nakuru county, and my town is known for the flamingos in Lake Nakuru that resemble a pink carpet. It is a cosmopolitan town, where all of the tribes found in Kenya, as well as other nationals, are found. Hyrax Hill, identified as a cradle of mankind, is also in my locality. The museum there holds a historical record of the tools, ornaments and other cultural artifacts of early man.
I have grown up with an appreciation of the culture of my Plain Nilote roots (Maasai), because of the efforts kept to preserve our traditions. Beadwork in my culture can be traced back to the 16th century, when ornaments were made from bones, seeds and flowers. When trade began in Africa, my people (who are pastoralists) moved over very long distances in search of pasture and water, and interacted with traders who exchanged beads for cattle. This has caused beadwork to become very popular in African traditions, and it is steeped into our cultural ceremonies for birth, naming, initiation and weddings. As the knowledge is passed down from generation to generation as a means of preserving culture, I was introduced to beadwork at a very young age.
I believe in the beauty of diversity. Knowledge of other people's cultures allows us to appreciate our differences, which are at the heart of our humanity. I look forward to sharing my culture’s crafts and traditions with you!