CULTURE – A RAINBOW COUNTRY

What is culture? It is characteristically knowledge taught to the young generation, which is practiced by those who are well known to it and thoughtfully remembered by those who time has gracefully aged. When you hear the word Kenya, what comes to your mind? Is it the athletes and their outstanding performance or tourism boasting of the famous big five and scenic landscapes we have all heard about or the fact that we are the only country in Africa with a United Nations headquarters( UNEP) in its capital. Well, there is one feature that we usually forget, our cultural diversity.




Cultural diversity is the existence of many ethnic groups or cultures in a society or a given geographical region. With the recent census done by the government of Kenya, it was found that the population was approximately forty-seven million people and a tally total of forty-seven ethnic communities. In fact, Kenya is ranked among the top ten countries with the highest number of ethnic groups worldwide. One of the culturally rich communities is the Maasai, who are part of the larger group of the plain Nilotes. Being a cultural community, the Maasai are far and well known for livestock herding and mainly nomadic pastoralists. For centuries, this has been their primary source of livelihood, a culture passed on from their ancestors to data. In the past, one of the exciting practices among their community was at the initiation. For a boy to be initiated into manhood, they had to prove their courage and readiness to defend their community, how you may ask? Well, it was a matter of facing off with the mighty kings of the jungle, lions. Although due to wildlife conservation, such practices were banned as the government put up barriers to prevent human and animal conflict. As for the Maasai fashion, much has to be desired from their beaded ornaments, plastic sandals “Akala” which to be truthful very long-lasting and not forgetting their major “colourful leso’.



Going through, we will highlight some of the other exciting activities from a few of the communities. The Kikuyu are recognized by their cultural practice, namely “ruracio”. It’s a practice of bridal pay where the groom compensates the bride’s family in exchange for the bride. Traditional songs, foods and dances accompany the celebration itself. The Luhya from the western side of Kenya, like the Maasai, are well established in the initiation practices. Every season, a group of young men are initiated into manhood through rites used by their ancestors. They were also famous for animal wrestling, yes, the bullfighting where many came from far and wide to witness whose bull had been well fed and trained to be victorious.




I want to note with interesting cultural practices down, but I believe experience is the best teacher, and each of you should experience them first hand. So, in your free time, go outside and take a tour to find the secrets hidden behind each community in Kenya. It’s with no doubt that we are a rainbow country, a mysterious land, and without doubt, a magical Kenya.