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Wildlife Tourism.net --› African Countries --› Kenya People



Kenya People


Kenya Introduction || Kenya Parks || Kenya People || Kenya Languages || Kenya Arts & Crafts || Kenya Photogallery || Kenya Travel Information || Kenya National Anthem

Currently there are more than 40 different ethnic group in Kenya.

The main groups of tribes are the Bantu who migrated from western Africa, the Nilotic people who originated from Sudan and the Hamitic group, who were mainly pastoral tribes from Ethiopia and Somalia. The main tribes are Kikuyu (21%), Meru (5%), Kalenjin, Luyha, Luo (14%), Kisii, Kamba, Swahili, Masai, Turkana

The other large ethnic groups include the Luo, Luhya, Kamba and Kalenjin- There are also some groups of people who form a very small population. This includes the tribe of El Molo.

Kikuyu People
The Kikuyu are Bantu and actually came into Kenya during the Bantu migration. They include some families from all the surrounding people and can be identified with the Kamba, the Meru, the Embu and the Chuka. The Kikuyu tribe was originally founded by a man named Gikuyu.

Kikuyu history says that the Kikuyu God, Ngai, took Gikuyu to the top of Kirinyaga and told him to stay and build his home there. He was also given his wife, Mumbi. Together, Mumbi and Gikuyu had nine daughters. There was actually a tenth daughter but the Kikuyu considered it to be bad luck to say the number ten. When counting they used to say “full nine” instead of ten. It was from the nine daughters that the nine (occaisionally a tenth) Kikuyu clans -Achera, Agachiku, Airimu, Ambui, Angare, Anjiru, Angui, Aithaga, and Aitherandu- were formed.

Traditionally the Kikuyu are farmers. The Kikuyu homelands, in the foothills of Mount Kenya, are still some of the most intensively farmed areas of the country.

Maasai Tribe
Found mainly in Southern Kenya, the Massai believed that their rain God Ngai granted all cattle to them for safe keeping when the earth and sky split. Since cattle was given to the Massai, they believe its okay to steal from other tribes. The Massai worship cattle because it is their main source of economic survival as opposed to education.

Many Massai believed that education is not important for the herdsman to search for green grass to feed the cows. The Massai have not strayed from the traditional basic ways of life. Farming for the trading of crops such as corn and vegetable is done by some Massai. But the rejecting the cash economy and refusing to settle or become farmers has made life difficult and harsh.

The Massai prefer to remain nomadic herdsmen, moving as their needs necessitate. This is becoming more difficult in modern times as their open plain disappear. In the drier regions of the north, the Maasai subsists on a diet of cow's blood and milk, which they mix together and drink.

Samburu Tribe
The Samburu are related to the Masai although they live just above the equator where the foothills of Mount Kenya merge into the northern desert. They are semi-nomadic pastoralists whose lives revolve around their cows, sheep, goats, and camels. Milk is their main stay; sometimes it is mixed with blood. Meat is only eaten on special occasions. Generally they make soups from roots and barks and eat vegetables if living in an area where they can be grown.

Most dress in very traditional clothing of bright red material used like a skirt and multi-beaded necklaces, bracelets and earrings, especially when living away from the big cities.

Turkana Tribe
The Turkana are the second largest group of nomadic pastoralists in Kenya who live in nothern Kenya - numbering over 200,000 they occupy a rectangular area bordered by Lake Turkana in northern Kenya and Ethiopia on the east, Uganda on the west, Sudan on the north

Traditional dress and ornaments is of vital importance, much emphasis being placed on adornment of both women and young Moranis (warriors) . Their neck is hidden by brightly colored beads, any object, even the most simple and ordinary in western eye is greatly sought after as an ornament to increase there charm.




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