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People and Culture

People and Culture

Kenya is a land of great diversity in its people and cultures. We have about 42 tribes in Kenya with different languages and cultures that all merge to become the unique mix of Kenyan culture. The biggest six tribes comprises about half the Kenya population and hence there is a higher influence to Kenyan culture from the people of these big tribes.

The diverse cultures in Kenya give rise to very interesting mix of traditional dresses and clothing. Most people have their own traditional way of dressing which makes it very interesting. Different people have different cultural beliefs and practices. Traditional marriage ceremonies are big events for all Kenya tribes although they are all done with their own unique flavor.

All Kenya people speak the national Language of Swahili and most people speak English too. Therefore, all Kenyan people can communicate with each other with ease. Most people speak their own traditional languages too.

Language, however, is the main criteria for a tribe. There are three main language groups in which the tribes in Kenya can be divided:


Bantu-speaking tribes:

Central Bantu: Kikuyu, Akamba, Meru, Embu, Tharaka, Mbere

Western Bantu: Gussi, Kuria, Luhya

Coastal Bantu: Mijikenda, Swahili, Pokomo, Segeju, Taveta, Taita


Nilotic-speaking tribes:

Plains Nilotic: Maasai, Samburu, Teso, Turkana, Elmolo, Njemps

Highland Nilotic: Kalenjin, Marakwet, Tugen, Pokot, Elkony, Kipsigis

Lake River Nilotic: Luo


Cushitic-speaking tribes:

Eastern Cushitic: Rendille, Somali, Boran, Gabbra, Orma

Southern Cushitic: Boni