KENYAN CULTURE

INTRODUCTION

Kenya’s history dates back to many centuries from the internal diaspora or the early settlements and migrations. Then came the formation of the various language groups who developed their own religions, traditions, governments and ruling systems in which they dictated their way of life and how they managed to keep alive by their trade and occupations. Then came the white settlers, which was followed by the fight for liberation, which gave birth to the Mau Mau freedom fighters and the rise of the Kenyan heroes. In the study of Kenya’s past, a look at the present is also inevitable, in order to be able to weigh the future.

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CULTURE & TRADITIONS

In the traditional society, tribes or ethnic groups were normally determined by geographical region and common culture. Each people had its own social and political organization. A deep sense of kinship has been one of the strongest forces in traditional society. Kinship is reckoned through blood and betrothal. It is kinship that controls social relationships between people in a given community. It governs marital customs and regulations it determines the behavior of the one individual towards another. Indeed, this sense of kinship binds together the entire life of the ‘tribe’, and is even extended to cover animals, plants or non-living objects. The kinship system also extends vertically to include the departed and those yet to be born. The clan is the major subdivision of the ‘tribe’.

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RELLIGIONS

The great world’s religions coexist in Kenya with the native beliefs. This cohabitation not only shows up within communities or villages, but even in a single person. The individual spirituality is sometimes a blend of elements from different cults, in a way that any of the religions adopts a unique character in Kenya. Other consequence of this is the difficulty to establish percentages for each of the religions, reason why different sources are usually not unanimous. For the statisticians’ terror, adding the rates for each religion often results in more than 100%.

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