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Google Launches Online Mashujaa Platform to Celebrate Kenya’s Superheroes

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Mekatilili wa Menza
Image Courtesy CNN

Many of the Superhero (Mashujaa) we know of today are either in the Marvel, DC or Anime world. Google and the National museum of Kenya are trying to help Kenyans remember and appreciate their own heroes of the past.

Google Arts and Culture and the National Museums of Kenya have partnered to launch ‘Superhero/Mashujaa Stories’. This is in a bid to celebrate this year’s Mashujaa Day and enhance awareness around Kenya’s heritage.

What is the Superhero/Mashujaa Stories Campaign?

Superhero/Mashujaa Stories is an online exhibition that celebrates Kenya’s history. The exhibition honours the heroes and heroines from all the 44 Kenyan communities.

20th October 2019 was the first time this idea was presented to the Kenyan Community. At the time, it featured Shujaa stories of 28 superheroes representing 14 communities.

Since then Google Arts and Culture and National Museums of Kenya have been working to capture Shujaa stories from all Kenyan communities.

Currently, it now features unique stories of 61 “mashujaa” from the 44 communities.

The Reasoning Behind It

For a long time, Kenyans learnt about their history and culture through folklore (stories and tales). The continuation of our history was therefore dependent on the ability of our foreparents to educate the younger generations.

In an effort to unmask and safeguard our heritage, Masidza Sande Galavu (1993-2020) who was a co-founder at Shujaa Stories Ltd together with his partner Jeff Muchina and his sister Martha Galavu were commissioned in 2017 to document the stories of Kenya’s heroes of pre-independence time through the Superheroes project.

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The National Museums of Kenya team plays a significant role by helping conduct the research for this project. The team is instrumental in sourcing contact persons to interview from each community. The are and will be leveragimg their experience to map out the best routes to locate the various communities.

How to Access It

The documentation is now available in text and illustrative images of the heroes in the Superheroes exhibition.

Everyone can now explore at g.co/mashujaa over 10,500 high-resolution photographs, 129 expert-curated exhibits and 80 Street Views of 16 sites. It is all shining a light on the intangible heritage and stories of the country’s communities. 

The exhibition allows Kenyans to explore untold history. History they may never learn in school. Fortunately, the exhibition is a history reserve even for unborn generations. 

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