The Rusinga Festival and how to get there


(Posted 09th August 2019)


When the 08th edition of the Rusinga Festival kicks off in December this year, will many of my readers want to be there, having seen the support I have given the festival organizers since their humble start and of course knowing it has since become Western Kenya’s leading cultural festival.
The two days over 19th and 20th of December will once again focus on the culture of the Suba people and the festival organizers have this to say about their activities:

Two days of music, fashion, film, food, artistry, literature, sports and conversations that take you back in time into the wealth of the Suba culture!

As a result of assimilation and intermarriage with the Luo, the Suba culture has come under pressure and the language is now listed in UNESCO’s Red Book of Endangered Languages (2003). Rusinga and Mfangano Islands are in the tentative list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

The Rusinga Cultural Festival continues to provide an ideal platform for cultural expression, public debate, knowledge and information empowerment, while at the same time economically empowering the women and youth.

This festival encompasses several cultural and social aspects. Activities are in the following major categories:

1. Food exhibition
2. Sports
3. Cultural performances
4. Art exhibition
5. Cultural pageant fashion show
6. Book exhibition
7. Workshops and conversations (on various topical issues e.g. health, family planning, financial literacy, governance, etc)
8. Tours

That is about as promising an agenda as can be and while not yet in the league of Sauti Za Busara in Zanzibar is the Rusinga Festival nevertheless today one of Kenya’s major cultural events.

Readers from Kenya and the rest of the region can of course either fly to Kisumu or else take busses to reach Kisumu and Rusinga while those from Uganda have multiple choices of bus companies between Kampala and Kenya’s lake side city.
Mash and Easy Coach are probably the easiest bets as they depart from DeWinton Road in central Kampala while other companies like Modern Coach leave from the bus park across the city.
All of them offer tickets from Kampala to Kisumu where one can disembark and then find accommodation for the rest of the day or night – depending on arrival time – before then embarking on the journey to the festival venue on Rusinga Island. Transport to and from Kisumu is readily available during the festival days and after celebrating indigenous culture with thousands of other festival goers can one then return the same way home – prebooking of bus seats though is strongly recommended as the pre Christmas period will be a peak traveling period across the region and available seats will be in high demand.

Thanks to Anne Eboso whose brainchild the festival was and the entire team working hard to make the 2019 edition the best yet and worth the effort to travel there and be part of it.