They are Kenya's most popular and the largest ethnic tribemaking up 22 percent of the country's population. The Kikuyus, also known as Gikuyu or Agikuyuhave been known since the colonial times as a tribe that wields a lot of political and economic influence in Kenya.
Kikuyus speak the Kikuyu languageand most of them live around the fertile central highlands and Mount Kenya where they mainly grow tea and coffee. Kikuyus are believed to have come from West Africa along with other Bantu tribes. They finally settled along Mount Kenya where they began their main activity of farming the fertile volcanic highlands. Kikuyus were good friends with the Maasai and the two tribes often traded goods and inter-married.
However, when the British came to Nairobi, they confiscated some of the Kikuyus' fertile land, leaving them with only a small piece to cultivate. Frustrated with the loss of their land and the colonial rule, the Kikuyus formed a rebellion group, the Mau Mauand entered into war with the British. This war eventually led to Kenya's independence.
Although many Kikuyus have migrated to the main urban city of Nairobi and other towns, their territories still remain along Mount Kenya and the central highlandsincluding Nyeri, Muranga, Kiambu, and Kirinyaga regions of Kenya.
Many have also migrated to other Kenyan towns and cities where they're involved in small business ventures, while others work in other areas. A good number of Kikuyus have moved onto the west side of the Rift Valley, into what was traditionally Kalenjin territory. There they work as large-scale farmers growing major cash crops of tea and coffee. Due to their history of economic success, the majority of Kikuyus are well educated. Their ability to adapt to new realities has resulted in the Kikuyu, including those who live in the rural areas, adopting many aspects of modern culture.
Traditionally, a Kikuyu husband could marry more than one wife if he could afford to care for them. Paying a dowry bride price is still an important aspect of their culture. Although some of the Kikuyu culture has eroded, the Kikuyu language is still predominantly spoken, especially in the urban areas where a majority of people speak English and Swahili.
The Kikuyu language has almost become Kenya's third language of choice. When it comes to food, music, marriage ceremonies and everyday family life, most Kikuyus still uphold their cultural traditions. In addition to maintaining their economic stability, the Kikuyu tribe have continued to dominate leadership and politics in Kenya. Today, most Kikuyus are Christianshowever, like the Maasai and Kamba tribes, Kikuyus traditionally worshipped a single god, Ngaiwho was known as the provider and lived at the top of the mountain.
Kikuyus believed it was their traditional god who started the Kikuyu tribe by putting on earth a man and woman named Kikuyu and Mumbi. The couple had nine daughters who later married and brought the Kikuyu tribe to life.
In most rural Kikuyu homes, typical traditional Kikuyu food includes githeri maize and beansmukimo mashed green peas and potatoesirio mashed dry beans, corn and potatoesroast goat, beef, chicken and cooked green vegetables such as collards, spinach and carrots.
TOP of the Kikuyu Tribe. Go to Kenya Information Guide Home page. About Kiambu County. About Kirinyaga County. About Murang'a County. About Nakuru County.There are still some traditional beliefs and customs widely practiced by the Kikuyu today. This is evidenced in the food, language, and marriage rituals among others. The Kikuyu traditional culture comes alive as I join a group of German tourists on their visit to the Riuki Cultural Centre on this significant Sunday morning.
I arrive at am and on entering the main compound, I meet two gentlemen sitting by a fireside hearth dressed in kikuyu traditional costumes. One is Dr. Njoroge and the centre's manager welcome the guests and after the introductions from both parties, the learning tour begins. We learn of some of the food crops growing on either side of the pathway that leads to the main homestead area.
On reaching the main homestead we find elders sitting by the fireside. Here we get a taste of Muratina traditional Kikuyu brew. The community demonstrates preparations of Muratina and porridge.
We also taste the porridge which is served in calabashes.Passage oblige du quinte
The activities in the huts of the man and one of his wives end up with one of the guests playing a part of being the man or wife. Whereas there are many ways of learning, interacting, and experiencing Kikuyu culture, a visit to Riuki Cultural Centre is an opportunity for you to sample the rich history of Kikuyu traditions and customs.
Set at the centre of a Kikuyu Gikuyu homestead as it were in the ancient days. It depicts traditional Kikuyu rural life, though in a modern setting since much of the landscape has changed with time. The centre was opened in and has since been a boon to Kenya students, Kenyan cultural heritage enthusiasts and tourists alike. The different programs differ in time length, depending on what sort of experience you are seeking.
This can take you a few hours, a full day or even a week or more. We were treated to Kenya coffee and tea with sweet potatoes, arrow roots and other Kikuyu traditional food at the end of the guided tour. We highlight some of the top African musical instruments pictures and definitions.They speak the Bantu Kikuyu language.
At a population of 8. The Kikuyu belong to the Northeastern Bantu branch. Their language is most closely related to that of the Embu and Mbeere. Geographically, they are concentrated in the vicinity of Mount Kenya. The exact place that the Northeast Bantu speakers migrated from after the initial Bantu expansion is uncertain.
Some authorities suggest that the Kikuyu arrived in their present Mount Kenya area of habitation from earlier settlements further to the north and east,  while others argue that the Kikuyu, along with their closely related Eastern Bantu neighbors the EmbuMeruMbeereand Kamba moved into Kenya from points further north. From archaeological evidence, their arrival at the northern side of Mt.
Kenya dates to around the 3rd century, as part of the larger group known as Thagicu. By the 6th century, there was a community of Agikuyu newly established at Gatung'ang'a in Nyeri. The Agikuyu established themselves in their current homeland of Mt. Kenya region by the 13th century.
Each clan traced its lineage to a single female ancestor and a daughter of Mumbi. Some clans had a recognised leader, others did not. Each clan then forwarded the leader of its council to the apex council of elders for the whole community. The overall council of elders representing all the clans, was then led by a headman or the nation's spokesman.
The title Mwathani or Mwathi the greatest ruler comes from the word gwatha meaning to rule or reign with authority, was and is still used. Ngai or Mwene-Nyaga is the Supreme Creator and giver of all things. Ngai cannot be seen but is manifested in the sun, moon, stars, comets and meteors, thunder and lightning, rain, rainbows, and in the great fig trees Mugumo.
Thunder is interpreted to be the movement of Ngai and lightning is the weapon used by Ngai to clear the way when moving from one sacred place to another. Some people believe that Ngai's abode is on Mount Kenya. In one legend, Ngai made the mountain his resting place while on an inspection tour of earth.
Kikuyu culture, traditions and language
Ngai then took the first man, Gikuyu, to the top to point out the beauty of the land he was giving him.That animal is to be slaughtered and eaten by elderly men who are past the reproductive age to cleanse the man. A man having sexual intercourse with the mother, his sister, step sister, aunt or a mother in-law is a taboo. A man having sexual intercourse with another man is a great taboo that has no way of cleansing.
The two men are to fight until one of them dies. An adult passes stool inside the house or the doorstep is a great taboo.kikuyu elders call for involvement of youth in culture and traditions
A fat goat ngoima was to be slaughtered and eaten by old men who are past the reproductive age. If a man has sexual intercourse with a woman on her monthly periods, it is a taboo. If a man falls down in his own compound, it is a taboo.
He has to be picked up with a he-goat. If a hyena or a fox is heard making noises outside the home compound or the granary. Death has visited that household and there is no way to cleanse the taboo. Someone must die. If a goat sucks the owner is a taboo. That goat has to be given to the father or in-laws to be slaughtered and eaten. If a woman touches a man during her periods, it is a great taboo. They have to be taken to a witch doctor, who makes them vomit, then they get smeared with clay and washed in goats loose dung.
If a man crosses over the husbands legs or body is a taboo. They should not have sexual relations again and the only solution is divorce. If a goat drinks water from the basin that is used to bathe a child is a taboo.Emuline down
The goat is given to in-laws to be slaughtered and eaten. If a fire stone injures a woman, it is a taboo. The stone has to be thrown away. If a woman carries the remains of her child that has passed on and had already been dedicated is a great taboo. If a father carries his child on the back, it is a taboo.Many Kikuyus also live in Uganda and Tanzania, some having risen to national leadership.
History: The Kikuyu traditionally believe that a man, Gikuyu, was the founder of the tribe. He had a wife named Mumbi, who gave birth to nine plus one daughters. The daughters married and had their own families, retaining a domineering role in Kikuyu society. This has led to the current division of the Kikuyu into nine plus one family groupings. According to legend, the men grew tired of their treatment by the women and rebelled.
This legend seems to represent a change in history from matriarchal to patriarchal organization, which also occurred with other Bantu peoples. The Kikuyu developed from several continuous waves of migration and remigration within the area.
The Kikuyu as such actually came to be by aroundand include some families from all the surrounding peoples. One genetic line contributing to the Kikuyu is the Thagicuthought to be the earliest Bantu settlers in the area, perhaps around AD. The Kamba also incorporate some of those people in the Thaicu of today, related to the Dhaiso Segeju of northern coastal Tanzania. It was in Mukurue division of Nyeri district where an identifiable beginning for the modern Kikuyu people is defined.
The key event was military conflict with and defeat of the Gumba people by the Mathira and Tetu people, allied with the Athi and the Maasai in the early 's. Settlement of the Nyeri plains took place after the British moved the Maasai from the area.
The Kikuyu were in Kabete by aroundRuiru about The Kikuyus' contact with the outside world came through missionaries and settlers. The name for the mountain around which they are settled, Mt.
Kenya, is actually a Kamba word because it was a Kamba guide who led the first white person — when the person asked the name of the mountain, he gave him the Kamba name. The Kikuyu responded strongly to missionaries and western education. Their proximity to the British colonial government in Nairobi and the settlers who desired the comfortable Central Highlands simultaneously gave them a great advantage and imposed on them the greatest burden of peoples under colonialism.
They had greater access to education and opportunities for involvement in the new money economy and political changes in their country.
They also experienced the greatest cultural change because of both the opportunities and the oppression of their colonial masters.
They developed a greater adaptability and used the British colonial system to overcome the system. Identity: The Kikuyu speech is a Bantu language, so they are related culturally to other Bantu-speaking peoples of East Africa. These tribes of central Kenya can hear each other, even though they might not speak the other's language fluently.
Kikuyu are traditionally an industrious agricultural people. Most still live on small family plots, but large numbers of them are involved in all kinds of businesses. With modernization, many have seen opportunities in business and have moved into cities and new areas to work.
They have a desire for education and many Kikuyu have become scholars and university professors in many countries of the world.The official Kenya destination website. Contact Us. Print this page. E-mail this page. Site map. Creation's most beautiful destinations. All in one country.
Wildlife Safari. Cultural Safari. Beach Safari. Sport Safari. Adventure Safari. Scenic Safari. Specialist Safari. Kenya is famous for its 42 cultures, but other than the nomadic Maasai and Samburu, not many of these are widely known to the outside world.
The centre is run by Dr. Kinuthia Njoroge, who wanted to build a traditional Kikuyu village homestead to show local children the history and customs of their community. The Kikuyu are the largest community in Kenya, and have always played a central role in the development of the independent Nation. For this reason, many may believe that modern influence has eroded the traditional way of life for this community, who mainly live around the capital city and the highlands.
But as Riuki demonstrates, this is not the case. While the traditional huts and ceremonies may be displays of a proud history, many of the same beliefs and customs persist in modern life.
In cuisine, music, marriage and everyday family life, most Kenyan Kikuyus still hold true to their identity. It is this pride that Riuki strives to encourage and strengthen, with its own blend of the modern and traditional. Now visitors to Kenya can come to Riuki and spend a day learning more about this little known culture.
Welcomed to the centre by a group of elders, all of whom live in the local area, guests are welcomed in true Kikuyu style, with an invitation to drink from a horn filled with Muratinaa locally brewed drink. There is a tour of a traditionally built hut with an explanation of how the traditional society operated.
Communities always remained bound by strict and strong ties of clan loyalty and an even stronger sense of tribal unity - There was an age set system among young men, known as Mariikabut all clans and villages itura always paid deference to the wisdom and law of the tribe. At Riuki, traditional songs, proverbs and dances bring the myths and legends of the Kikuyu to life. According to Kikuyu mythology, all of creation began at the summit of Mount Kenya.
The icy peak was the realm of Ngaithe Supreme Creator, who descended from the heavens to his mountainous throne to survey his newly created lands.It is truly an amazing experience to learn about old indigenous cultures, such as the Kikuyu culture. Read on to find out the varied traditions, rituals, ceremonies and lifestyle of one the Kikuyu tribe of Kenya.
Kikuyu are the largest ethnic tribe of Kenya and they are also the most popular.
Traditional Kikuyu Culture Lives On
This tribe is also popularly known as Agikuyu or Gikuyu. They are well known since the early colonial times when this tribe had yielded a lot of economic and political influence. They speak the Kikuyu language.Random song generator 2020
They are mostly scattered all around Mount Kenya and also the central fertile highlands. Many among the tribe have moved to the cities and town provinces where they have set up business ventures and some are employees of different organizations. The tribe has been involved in farming the major cash crops in farms where they work as large-scale farmers.
Since they have a good history of academic success, it could be seen that most of the Kikuyu are educated. They have the ability to cope up with the new environment. The tribe has effectively adopted the modern culture. Be it any aspect of the personal lives of the people, they have always valued their Kikuyu culture traditions first.
Kikuyu Tribe, People, Language, Culture and Traditions
They are fully conscious of their domination in politics and leadership in Kenya. Both the boys and girls of the tribe have to take part in lots of rituals. Some of the major ceremonies of the Kikuyu include clitoridectomy in the girls and circumcision in boys.
However, these rituals are very rarely practised as for now. The Kikuyu naming culture has an amazing history. All of them had agreed to marry instantly. The name of Mumbi also prospered as each of the daughters had her own family and they had built their own hut themselves. After Mumbi and Gikuyu had passed away, all the daughters collectively called in all of their descendants and started their own individual clans which were named after themselves.
Even today as the Kikuyu people think of their creator, they always look up to the snow-clad mountain where their gods once lived. According to the traditional beliefs, in the Kikuyu dowry culture, if a husband can afford to care for more than two wives, he will be allowed to marry both.
Also, dowry is another important aspect of their tradition. Though some of the aspects of the Kikuyu culture have faded away, the language still exists, mostly in the urban regions where most of the population speak Swahili and English.
Their language has become so popular that it almost became the third language of choice for Kenya. Traditionally, as per the Kikuyu culture and religion, the people are good farmers and keepers of good livestock as well.
Their key products of trade were the animals and agricultural farm. Goats, cattle and sheep were the primary sources of dowry.
The families came together to check the family and financial backgrounds which had also resulted in a form of social interaction. They valued the marriage a lot and any sort of exploitation either from the side of the groom or even the bride was strictly prohibited.Sto cleave ship
Once the dowry had been fixed by the family members and the prices determined, they convert the value into cash. After the down payment has been made by the elders, a day is fixed for the wedding.
For the wedding, a Kikuyu culture dress is prepared for both the bride and groom just like any other tribal marriage ceremonies.
The negotiation takes several months.
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