UNESCO Declares Thimlich Oinga a World Heritage Site

  • The United Nations (UN) has placed little-known Oinga village, Migori County in the world map after enlisting it as part of the 1,000 wonders of the world.

    In a statement released by the 42nd World Heritage Committee, Thimlich Oinga, a 16th-century archaeological site has officially joined the World Heritage List.

    The site hosts stone fortified villages, which were at the centre of conflict between Bantus and Nilotes during the historic migration.

    [caption caption="Thimlich Oinga"][/caption]

    Oinga in Nyatike sub-county was among the 30 nominated wonders of the world that were vetted during the meeting in Bahrain's capital Manama.

    The meeting by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized the site near Lake Victoria which has 521 stone structures, the main enclosure is made of stone walls varying from one to three meters in thickness, and 1 to 4.2 meters in height.

    The interlocking stones are surrounded by a thicket, hence the name 'Thimlich' which translates to "frightening dense forest" in Dholuo and ‘Oinga’ refers to a shield or a fortress.

    Speaking after the decision, Migori Governor Okoth Obado expressed his gratitude: "We are happy that Migori has represented not only the nation but also Africa as the only site to be recognised this year. This will open the door for tourism and revenue for the country."

    On his part Nyatike MP Tom Odege indicated that henceforth, Thimlich Oinga is poised to attract national and international tourists noting that: "We need its potential tapped through joint efforts by all stakeholders".

    The recognition of sites by UNESCO's increases chances of international funding towards protection and conservation efforts, worldwide identity which boosts tourism, as well as protection during conflict under the Geneva Convection.

    [caption caption="A tourist visits Thimlich Oinga"][/caption]

    The World Heritage Sites 2018 shortlist had five natural sites, 22 cultural sites and three mixed ones of which Thimlich Oinga was the only site that was recognised this year from Africa.

    Other sites added to the World Heritage List include the Ancient City of Qalhat on the eastern coast of Oman and the Saudi-proposed Al-Ahsa Oasis in the eastern Arabian Peninsula.