Flowerly Maua

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I smile recklessly and I love excessively. I live today knowing I have no other day until tomorrow. Now is my moment. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is a mystery, but today, today is my gift (present).

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Kenya - How many tribes?

My son, who has never been to Kenya asked me to name all the tribes in Kenya. Shame on me, as patriotic as I say I am, I don't know.

I keep hearing 'there are 42 tribes in Kenya', and 'There are 47 tribes' etc.

Exactly how many tribes are there? I've tried google, but..........

I've started a list, and kindly ask my blogthren to add to it, and maybe,just a maybe, by the end of the month, we'll know.

1. Boni
2. Boran
3. Choni
4. Digo
5. Duruma
6. El Molo
7. Elkony
8. Embu
9. Gabbra
10. Galla
11. Giriama
12. Gusii
13. Jibana
14. Kalenjin
15. Kamba
16. Kaoma
17. Kikuyu
18. Kipsigis
19. Kisii
20. Kuria
21. Luhya
22. Luo
23. Marakwet
24. Masai
25. Meru
26. Orma
27. Pokomo
28. Pokot
29. Rabai
30. Rendille
31. Ribe
32. Samburu
33. Taita
34. Taveta
35. Teso
36. Tugen
37. Turkana

7 comments:

HLumiti said...

Hi Maua,

Interesting project. But some ‘tribes’ could mix up the counting because they really are clusters of other tribes.

Like the Kalenjin (gha-leh-ee) comprise of the Kipsigis, Nandi, Tugen, Marakwet and several others. Each of these can be called a Kalenjin. But a Kipsigis is not a Nandi.

By that formula, the Chonyi, Giriama, Digo, Rabai, Duruma, Kauma and three others form the Miji Kenda.

So if you count the Kalenjin as one, you’d have to count Miji Kenda rather than the separate ‘Miji’.

But if you split them up, you’d also have to do so for the Luhya. These are the Isukha, Idakho, Maragoli, Bukusu, Tachoni, Marama, Banyala, Banyore and six others.

Tell sonny we are many and still counting.

boyf. said...

am so happy you back!!!!!!!!!!! :D

Proud Kikuyu Woman said...

Sometime in 2004, the Daily Nation profiled the Yaaku, a tribe in Laikipia that is at the edge of extinction, with only about 10 people remaining, the rest (younger ones) choosing to identify as Maasai or (N?)Dorobo. The Dorobo apparently have a culture and language very similar to the Agikuyu. Mum once told me of a tribe called the Gumba that the Agikuyu displaced from around the Mt Kenya when they got there. I have no idea what became of them. One theory is that they too became Agikuyu. Then there is the Ogiek who inhabit the Mau Forest and are being persuaded to leave to preserve it for us all, the Suba who are close to the Luos, and the Njemps that I also read about.

To add to Hlumiti’s point, the number of tribes in Kenya may depend on who is doing the counting. There was a disagreement after the 2000 census as to which is the second largest tribe in Kenya. Someone had lumped several tribes into one, arguably to justify the inequitable distribution of resources, and for election-rigging purposes. The same hadn’t been done to the Luhyas and/or Mijikendas, which made them, look like many small tribes.


At the risk of sounding arrogant, are you sure there is a tribe called El Molo? I always took that to be a place (Molo) named by the Maasai pastoralists who have named many of the towns in Kenya, like Nyeri , Nairobi, El Doret (?-Eldoret) etc. Last time I went to Molo there were only Agikuyu and Wakalenjin.

Maua said...

Thanx Hlumiti and PKW. I was so mixed up about the tribes as I didn't know who was who.

I thought the Nandi consisted of the Kaleo, Kipsigis etc. I knew about the Miji kenda but not the Nandis/Kalenjin.

This causes a need for research, otherwise I'm gonna look so 'UnKenyan'.

@Boyf, I'm so very back. Can't keep sinning.

Shiko-Msa said...

Maua welcome back to blogosphere. Your silence was very loud.

You've done a really good job already with the tribes you've posted. That plus the info from HLumiti and PKW and I'm leaving this page more informed.

HLumiti the three others that form Mijikenda are Jibana, Kauma and Ribe.

Kafai. said...

Let me pop in from my reader and add my two cents.
There are what we call a group of tribes that have some variations in the language hence getting lumped together into Maasai, Kalenjin, Mijikenda, Luhya....But this are genaralised groups. The tree from these are now the 'true' tribes.
Let me assist with the Kalenjin that I can remember
Nandi, Kipsigis, Pokot, Keiyo, Marakwet, Sabaot, Tugen.
Am not sure about where the Turkana fall.
Let me go back to following on reader, I feel like everyone is watching me :-)

Maua said...

OK, now I'm re-writing the list, maybe I'll get it this time.

Thanx guys.