Dr. Fredrick K. Manthi
As the Prehistory Club of Kenya celebrates the 8th anniversary since its inception, it is gratifying to note that the Club has continued to grow in many areas particularly in the number of programs we are engaged in. As an example, the Club’s Secretariat under the leadership of the Chair has in the last four years visited over 200 high schools across Kenya during which lectures on prehistory and evolution were offered. In August 2007, the Club also organized a workshop that brought together over 130 high schools’ biology and history teachers from across the country, as well as representatives from South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Germany and the US. It is noteworthy that the Club’s activities have continued to receive standing ovation from teachers, students and members of the general public, as the programs have helped demystify some of the negative perceptions held by particularly students about prehistory and evolution.
In spite of the aforementioned achievements, the daunting challenge of popularizing prehistory among the Kenyan public particularly the youth, still stands. We at the Prehistory Club are determined to continue playing a leading role in educating Kenyans about the country’s heritage. In view of the recent wave of violence in Kenya fanned by the disputed presidential elections, which threatened to destroy the fabric that for a long time helped the country to be regarded as one of the most peaceful country in Africa, it has become necessary for the Prehistory Club to use Kenya’s rich prehistoric heritage to tell the Kenyan youth (who were the main perpetrators of the violence) that, in spite of our racial or ethnic affiliations, we belong to the same species, Homo sapiens sapiens, have a common ancestry, and should thus strive to embrace one another as members of the same people.To date, many people and organizations have extended their generous support to the Prehistory Club, and few of these will be highlighted here. I would like to thank the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) Director General Dr. Idle Omar Farah, the Head of Earth Sciences Department at the NMK Dr. Emma Mbua as well as Dr. Meave Leakey (the Patron of the Club) for their invaluable support towards the Prehistory Club. I sincerely thank Safaricom (K) Ltd. for generously supporting the outreach programs to schools in the last four years. The US Embassy in Nairobi is thanked for providing financial support for the development of a skit titled, Anamorro, the cradle of humankind, which highlights Kenya’s unparalleled human fossil record, and will be staged in schools across the country. The French Embassy in Nairobi and her cultural arm, the Alliance Francaise, are also thanked for providing support during the development and the launch of the skit. The Wenner-Gren Foundation and Heritance Foundation both of the US, as well as Colgate Palmolive (E.A) Ltd. are thanked for supporting the teachers’ workshop. A word of thanks also goes to The Leakey Foundation (CA, USA) and the Friends of the Prehistory Club who have continued to support the Club financially. Last but by no means least, I wish to thank the many schools and Kenyans who have continued to support the Prehistory Club through either their participation in its activities or acknowledgement (e.g., via e-mails) of the noble task the Club is undertaking.