Kenya and It’s People
Currently with more than than 42 different ethnic group in Kenya, it offers some of the best cultural experience one would experience in one country.
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.
The Kenyan official national language is English, and it is wide spoken. There also another national language, Kiswahili. Both Languanges are taught throughout the country.
It’s extremely useful for the traveller to have a working knowledge of Swahili, especially outside the urban areas and in remote parts of the country.
Swahili is the most widely spoken African language, with 50 million speakers in East Africa and Central Africa, particularly in Tanzania (including Zanzibar) and Kenya. The new 56,000-entry lexicon is now available online!
There are many other tribal languages. These include Kikuyu, Luhia, Luo and Kikamba as well as a plethora of minor tribal tongues.
A more modern language spoken amonst the younger members of society is Sheng. This is a mixture of Swahili and English along with a words of other languages.
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.
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.
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