The Kikuyu Traditional Culture

The Kikuyu are the largest community in Kenya. They are Bantu speakers and are located mainly in the central part of the country. The founder of the tribe, according to the traditions was a man called Gikuyu. God who was known as Ngai took him to the top of Kirinyaga now Mount Kenya and told him to start the tribe. Ngai provided him with a wife Mumbi who together they sired nine daughters. From these daughters, different clans originated. These clans are the Achera, Agachiku, Airimu, Ambui, Angare, Anjiru, Angui, Aithaga, and Aitherandu.

A family unit was called nyumba. Several related families would form the homestead which was called mucii. A mucii was part of a subgroup ‘mbari’ which made up the nine clans. In Kikuyu traditional culture, people, livestock and children were not counted in total as it was thou8ght to be bad lack. The clans were arguably ten but they only counted nine.

The Kikuyu traditional culture allowed them to intermarry with the original inhabitants of the central province. They were farmers and the area was conducive for this activity. They would grow growing bananas, sugarcane, arum lily, yams, beans, millet, maize, black beans and a variety of vegetables. They also raised cattle for milk and hides. The hides were used to make the traditional wear, sandals, bedding and carrying straps. They learned barter trade and they would exchange their farm produce for arrowheads, spears and swords. The women were the ones involved in the trade. They would also make pots that were used in the barter trade.