PHOTO: Martin Kirinya and Emmanuel Aipa showcase fossils in the TBI booth at the Tobong’u Lore Festival 2021

The Tobong’u Lore cultural festival is an annual event hosted by the Turkana County Government in order to promote peace, indigenous culture and tourism within the region. This brings together local and international groups lending credence to the name Tobong’u Lore, which means “coming home”. Various groups showcased a broad range of activities including cultural, business, political, media, and research projects.

The Turkana Basin Institute’s main reason for participating in the event was to highlight the research and community engagement activities we conduct, with a view to the impact of these activities on Turkana County and the region more broadly. It is a fantastic opportunity to highlight the evolutionary significance of the Turkana Basin. 

Basil Lewela and Evelyn Apondi with journalist Alex Chamwada at the TBI booth during the 2021 Tobong'u Lore Festival

Basil Lewela and Evelyn Apondi with visiting journalist Alex Chamwada at the TBI booth during the 2021 Tobong’u Lore Festival

TBI was represented at the festival by Martin Kirinya, Evelyn Apondi and Emmanuel Aoron. The team displayed replicas of fossils spanning 19 million years and stone tool technology. Highlights included well known specimens such as Turkana Boy, a 1.6 million year old fossil Homo erectus from Nariokotome and the oldest stone tools in the world  from Lomekwi, as well as lesser known but equally important fossils such as Alesi, the 13 million year old Nyanzapithecus alesi infant cranium from Napudet.

TBI’s booth at the festival was extremely popular with huge interest shown and lots of questions asked about excavation, geologic dating, research, the significance of the fossils and TBI’s broader activities such as community engagement. We look forward to welcoming continued interest in the rich prehistory heritage of the basin.