Kenyan People

kenyan-people-2Kenya’s population is quite diverse.  The indigenous African people have struck a chord with Arabs, Asian and European communities.

Famous for their entrepreneurial spirit, the Kikuyu are found in the Central region of the country and practice farming as their main economic activity. Cash crops such as Tea and Coffee which have been some of Kenya’s main exports for years are largely from the Central region.

The Akamba people from the Eastern region are traditionally masters of wood work craftsmanship and are also proficient in trade and business skills. Their products range from wildlife wood carvings, ornaments and iron weapons which are popular with foreign tourists.

The North eastern slopes of Mount Kenya is home to the Meru. Just like their Bantu counterparts from the Highlands, the Meru practice agrarian farming and are famed for the growth of Khat which is exported and earns the country good returns.

Even with the influence of civilization affecting many of Kenya’s tribal groups, there are still some that have stood the test of time. The Maasai, whose culture is very dominant and the epitome of Kenya’s culture, is a good example. The Samburu and Turkana who belong to the Nilotic group also maintained their traditional lifestyles except for a small percentage that have joined other Kenyans in living the semi-western lifestyle.

The Cushitic people live in the North Eastern parts of the country where they settled from their original homeland – the horn of Africa approximately 2000 years ago. Categorised as Southern and Eastern Cushites, it is the Southerners who first migrated from the Horn of Africa and were the second tribe to settle in Kenya. However, they are no longer in Kenya after their displacement further south to Tanzania by the Bantu and Nilote groups.

kenyan-peopleThe Eastern Cushites are now what is left of the Cushitic group. Some of their sub-groups are the Somali who live entirely nomadic lives and the Elmolo who are said to be the smallest group in Kenya both in stature and numerically. The Somali community can also be found on the East side of Kenya’s capital Nairobi (Eastleigh) in great numbers as they are also very skilled in Business.

Down at the coastal region of Kenya live the Swahili people – a mixture of the Arab and Bantu populations who settled at the coast. Swahili, Kenya’s national language, was originally spoken in this part of the country. Trade was the major cause of the Arab – Bantu and Arab- Persian intermarriages and has been the norm since the first Arab and Persian dhows set sail at the Kenyan coast. Pure Arab and Persian communities form a small percentage of the Kenyan population and have been a soaring influence on the coast with the introduction of the Muslim religion.

Despite the diversity of the Kenyan people, religion and language does play a significant role in unifying the country. Christians make up the largest of the Kenyan population, muslims are estimated at 30% while the Hindus and Buddhists are the minority. The Swahili and English languages bridge the different Kenyan dialects.

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