Aspects Of Current Kikuyu Culture

1627 Words May 6th, 2015 7 Pages
Aspects of current Kikuyu culture were molded by modern demands impressed upon them by British colonization. British colonists brought western ideas about living standards and health care, as well as projecting British ideals of family life upon the Kikuyu people. In the 1950’s, as a reaction to this imposition of western beliefs and practices upon the people of Kenya, the Mau Mau began to fight the existing British infrastructure. This uprising was a final divide in the Kikuyu tribe based on the members’ desire to either adapt to modern customs or continue to try to live with their old culture. In many ways, British colonization continues to have a lasting and substantial cultural impact on the Kikuyu today.
To comprehend the effect that British colonization had on the Kikuyu people, first we have to examine the pre-colonial Kikuyu society. The ancestors of the Kikuyu participated in the Bantu expansion, a millennia-long phenomenon during which Bantu speaking peoples migrated from Western Africa to various regions in Southern and Eastern Africa (The Bantu Migrations). Prior to European intervention, the structure of Kikuyu society was relatively egalitarian. The people of the Kikuyu did not practice slavery, and made no attempts to garner prisoners from neighboring tribes or villages. The political structure of the Kikuyu tribe was divided among nine separate clans. These clans were all related along maternal lines, and oftentimes lived in very close proximity to one…

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