The Kiondo & The Kikoi

Barbara of the GI in Nairobi forwarded the following invitation to a public forum, which? I? think? is? of? public? interest,? hence? the? desire? to? reblog? this? on? my? blog.




Tuesday 31st July 2007
4.00 pm to 6.00 pm
Goethe-Institut Auditorium

(=> Maendeleo House, Nairobi)

“The Maasai Market Empowerment Trust in partnership with Legal Research and Advisory Centre invites to a Public Forum “The Kiondo & The Kikoi”.This is a cooperative effort in the highlighting and development of Intellectual Property Rights in Kenya.
The forum brings together artisans, designers, producers, legal officers, law enforcers, activists and policy makers to deliberate, trouble shoot and strategizse on how to tackle intellectual property issues specifically in regard to the Kiondo and Kikoi in an attempt to preserve the Kenyan heritage.The Maasai Market Empowerment Trust is a non profit making organization whose key xobjective is to uplift the standards of living of the people in the Curio-Crafts industry. It is registered as a public charitable trust and is led by a board of trustees drawn from the industry and from other strategic movements with similar ideals.”

I? wish? I? could? just? attend? this? event,? especially? since? this? matter? of? Intellectual Property? Rights? is? something I had blogged about two years ago – after stumbling across an interesting paper by James Shikwati on this matter. I recently met someone of the? (liberal) FNFoundation during an event organized by the GTZ and was pleasantly surprised to find Shikwati’s paper among those primary papers they displayed as proof of their work. Kenyanism everywhere :-)
Also, I am using a picture of a Kikoi I bought on Maasai Market as the header logo of my blog. I founded a Kikoi group on the German equivalent of Facebook,, and am having a particular interest in promoting this part of the Swahili culture as found on the Kenyan coast line. I never travel without one of my Kikois, and as such find myself at terrible unease to associate the brand name “Kikoi(y)” with a UK based privately held company.

Author: jke

Hi, I am an engineer who freelances in water & sanitation-related IT projects at You'll also find me on Twitter @jke and Instagram.

4 thoughts on “The Kiondo & The Kikoi”

  1. It does not seem to be African anymore this Kikoy thingy but since mzungu started wearing it has now become the in-thing and exotic thing to parade around and the market for it is getting bigger now , too bad the masaai don’t yet know the value of it if sold in Europe. Another African product that is not worth until when a mzungu promotes it then, it is the in-thing suddenly. Even the AD has some mzungu wearing it looking “kool” and sexy in it..LOL
    See this :

    Sorry Jke nothing personal on your end but this is purely an opinion which maybe a little bit biased and no it is good to promote African culture but hopefully the “people” being promoted are also equally benefitting….

  2. Well you are free to express your own opinion on this, but I wouldn’t reduce this to the usual skin colour/mzungu point of view.

    I think we have to make a difference between those who market the Kikoi as a brand and a fashion item for various groups (and not only some spoiled KCs @ 40 Thieves) and those who register the name as a brand outside the country.

  3. I’m not just reducing it to a the usual Mzungu critique ( you know me better than that I hope by now) but yes it is a good charitable organization but there are many local groups championed by the local mwafrika who advocating for the same thing perhaps more or less , but immediately a Mzungu puts a stamp on the same kind of organization, immediately it is a viable project. You see where I’m going with this?

    It is a shame that maybe, just maybe the Mwafrika does not have the power to go it alone until a back up comes along to boost it. Maybe what I’m saying is that Mwafrika also needs to educate himself into understanding his worth instead of waiting for outsider to tell him what he is worth.

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