History of MijiKenda People of Kenya and Tanzania .

History of MijiKenda People of Kenya and Tanzania .

Mijikenda people can be found in Kenya and some parts of Tanzania , they are part of the Bantu speaking .

 They are related the Pokmo ,  Chonyi , Digo and Jibana people and they Inhabit the coast of Kenya between Sabaki and Umba rivers.
 In an area stretching the border with Tanzania in the south the border near Somalia in the north.

  Mijikenda were called Nyika or Nika meaning the people live in the bush , Mijikenda is made up of nine sub-groups such as Chonyi,Kambe , Duruma , Kauma , Rabai , Jibana  and Giriama. 
 Mijikenda include the Northern Mijikenda and Southern Mijikenda furthermore , Digo are the Southern Mijikenda which can be found in also Tanzania.

 According to other account , Mijikenda traced to the Southern regions of Somalia , It is believed they fled from the Oromo and other Cushitc ethnic groups , and settled in the coastal ridges that were easier to defend.
 Mijikenda means “ nine homes or nine homesteads , referring to the common ancestry , Mijikenda is a Bantu dialect cluster and they grow crops such as Sesame , corn , rice , beans and palm wine.
  According to the oral tradition , Mijikenda originated from Singwaya , which was to the north of Somali coast . They were driven south by the Oromo and Mijikenda is mostly spoken in Present day Kenya and Present day Tanzania while they were driven south by Oromo until they reached their Present day homelands , where they built their kayas within a protective setting and others believed they originated from the north and later migrated southwards to their Present day homelands.
 Traditionally , they follow a common practice of age- sets, with various Initiation rituals performed every few years to move each group to the next level and the first such Initiation ritual is circumcision. In their tradition, elders are responsible for the management of kaya , as well as for bringing rain and It is believed leaders were removed sometimes from power during long droughts, they were unable to make it rain with their usual rituals without the power to bring rain, they could not lead the kaya. 
Each homestead also keep goats , sheep , duck and cows and Mijikenda clan consists of groups with a several common patriarchal ancestor. 
Traditionally , each clan lived in one fortified village built in an area of the forested ridges .  
Each  Mijikenda clan had their own scared place known as Kaya , a temple for prayer , sacrifices and other religious rituals . Kayas were located deep in the forests and It was considered taboo to cut and the trees and vegetation around them .
 Agriculture is very important products include oil extracts and palm wine. Its frond are also used for roofing and as material for making baskets , mat brooms and other weaved products.  
Other crops Include cashew nut , oranges , watermelons and mangoes as well and Wali is a Mijikenda dish is made up of rice , coconut milk as well as giving it a good taste.
  According to Independent Kenya ‘s account on Mijikenda People of Kenya and Tanzania , They all speak the same Mijikenda language this include Kauma , Chonyi , Giriama , Kamabe , Ribe , Rabai , Duruma and Digo .  In Mijikenda Culture , each group lived in a village called also known as  Kaya , within Kaya were various clans and family groups , their villages are built in cleared areas heavily wooded hills. 
Their main occupation is farming with more and being devoted to cash crops such as coconut and palm nuts are their most Important crops .  The Kaya forest sacred and is being used for tourism in order to protect their diversity in Kenya , palm wine is produced from the palm tree and Fingo of Kaya forest are cared by elders who protect the traditions of Mijikenda .  Mijikenda reflect Africa’s nature , spirit , rhythm and music including dancing.
  It is believed Mijikenda are Bantu residing on the coast of Kenya and Tanzania .  It is believed in Swahili language the word “ Mijikenda” means nine homesteads “ . Thus explains why Mijikenda tribe consists of nine closely related sub- tribe their language is similar to swahili.
It is believed they are descendants of Somalia , they migrated to Kenyan coast and Tanzanian coast and they were escaping from the Cushitic ethnic groups and Oromo in what is now Present day Southern Somalia.
 Coconut palm is considered to be crop , and homesteads , compounds usually consist of three generations and can house up to 70 family members .  Kifudu is  a traditional dance performed by a group of men.

According to Maina Kiarie’s account , They came from Shungwaya in Southern Somalia hinterland at the turn of the 17th Century and settled initially in six Individual fortified , hilltop Kaya or villages along the ridge behind Southern Kenya coast while they migrated and settled behind the Kenyan coast and Tanzanian coast .  

According to Anthropologist Jordan Alexander , Mijikenda is made up of nine different sub-tribes this include Giriama , Digo , Chonyi , Duruma , Jibana, Kambe , Kamua, Rabai , amd Ribe .  It is believed they were originally in the north but because of war , they later moved to the south and Mijikenda region would have been to the east also Kwale district south of Mombasa . On the coast of Kenya hot and humid in the northern part of Kenya , It is also hot but very dry .  
It is believed Mijikenda have had close interactions with Persians , Arabs  and the Portuguese  and the economy of  Mijikenda ethnic group is Intricately linked to the Indian Ocean now just like in the past .  
For about 2,000 years merchants have acted as the middleman between eastern and central Africa.  In the 19th Century they played a huge role in the trade routes were built across Tanzania into Modern day Congo and Mijikenda were captured to Brazil , Pakistan , India , Iran , Iraq and other parts of America and Asia sold by Arabs and Europeans then It is believed Arabs crossed the Indian Ocean.
  According to Abengo account on Mijikenda People of Kenya and Tanzania , Mijikenda literally means ‘’ the nine cities ‘’. Mijikenda subgroups include Kauma , Chonyi , Jibana, Giriama, Kamabe , Ribe , Rabai , Duruma and Digo . Mijikenda language has different dialect ,out of the nine dialect , out of the nine ethnic groups , Digo also live in Present day Tanzania owing to their proximity to a shared border .  
The Mijikenda are said to have originated from Northern Somalian coast called Shungwaya , and migrated south 300 years ago due to the attacks.
  The Giriama and Digo are the biggest groups of Mijikenda and live in along the coast of Kenya and Tanzania .  Mijikenda has expanded , Kilifi has become one of their most Important towns and  others believed the Kaya Kinondo the sacred forest formed by their ancestors and Mijikenda migrated from the Southern parts of Somalia .  
The word “ Kaya’’ means home or village in Mijikenda .  Chonyi , Giriama , Jibana , Kauma , Ribe , Rabai and Kambe are located in Kilifi county while Duruma are located in the Kwale county . Mijikenda Vigango known as Vigangi was  a sculpture carved between the 5th and 19th Centuries.

Vigangos are wooden effigies made to honor a deceased member of Gobu or Society of the Blessed . Their role is not Indicate a burial but to provide a new home for spiritual power of the deceased member .  These stylized human forms would be left to naturally decay and fall over as the spiritual power within the object diminished .  

According to Dr. Elimu Asilia account , Circumcision is a big celebration just like  weddings or Edd celebrations in or communities .  Children especially the boys from 7 or more families within the family or the neighbourhood are Identified , the family then put the heads together to organize for the celebration and date .  
Each family contribute animals to be for slaughtered or grain example rice for the big day and boys are circumcised between the ages of 4- 10 years and circumcision take place in a forest in the early morning and traditional doctors are Identified by his way of dressing , and would be carrying traditional medicine for healing . 
  During healing , boys would be taught many things such as being responsible , obedience , respecting their elders , to hunt for animals and the healing takes 2-3 weeks before they heal properly however most of the time it depends with the wound , and Individual but traditional healers have to  come every 4 days for cleaning . 
 During occasion animals would be slaughtered and food family members are Invited the neighbours and friends to the celebration .  
 In Mijikenda Culture , naming of child is done in two or three ways such as child given a name by a relative like the auntie would like the baby to bear her name or to be named after her alongside naming ceremony and cleansing rituals are performed.
In Mijikenda tradition , Marriages are arranged by parents , relative and elders .  Parents Identify the bride with reputation , the family would gather Informations on family tribe , relatives and clans .
 The Son’s parents would then send a message to the bride’s parent to pay them visit and schedule a date for the visitation . 
 The son parents would then pay a visit to the family of the bride or parents accompanied by relatives and elders in society to propose to the bride which is known as “Kutafuta jiko Kuposa “.  
Among the Groom’s family they would inform their  families and elders in the community to attend the occasion . The Occasion is marked with songs , food preparation for the groom family and other visitors.
 Kilemba ya baba is the act of giving money to an old man to appreciate the upbringing of the bride and groom as a way to say Thank you .  Maziwa ya mama is the act of giving to the bride’s mother as an appreciation and Mahari is the bride price giving 3 to 4 goats to the bride’s parents and Inheritance passes from the father to the son so , they Inherit from their patrilineal side of the family.
 They celebrate festivals such as Menkatili Wa Menza which lasts up to 4 days , harvest festivals and different kinds of festivals , they performed cultural dances such as Sumanga , Chela rabai dance , Giriama wedding dance , folk dance and many different dances .
A Mijikenda Warrior who fought the British one of Kenya’s brave woman ( Mekatilili Wa Menza).

Mekatilili Wa Menza was born around 1860 at Present day Mutsara wa Tsatsu in Kilifi county in Present day Kenya .  She was a native Mijikenda and she belong to the Giriama which is the sub-group of Mijikenda ethnic group . 

 Mekatilili  was the only daughter of five siblings one of her brother Mwarandu was captured by Arab Slave masters and It is claimed Mwarandu was captured to what is now Present day Pakistan from  Kenya  and others claimed he was captured from Present day Kenya to Present day India . Mekatilili was 53 years old when British colonization began in Kenya .  
The British was successful establishing a number of rubber plantations in the Giriama area .  Metatili Wa Menza was very brave and brilliant woman who spoke harsh  and threatened British Colonialism in 1913.

She held a meeting and it was organized by her and Giriama people which they planned to rebel against British Colonial government , later she was described by British as a devil who made herself a Prophetess and She was never made herself a Prophetess and she was not a devil .  British wanted to tarnished her image but British feared her so they spread Catholicism and their other religions in Violence.   
   It is believed Mekatilili escaped and crossed the north to Somalian border then walked her entire way back to her home .  She led Giriama resistance and moved towards open revolt with resources stretched thin due to the World War I , British ceased colonization efforts in the region.
 According to  African Researcher  Kwame Selikem Okatakyie’s account, Mekatilili Wa Menza was considered to have the same bravery being compared to Jamaica’s Queen Nanny  and Ghana’s Yaa Asantewaa , She led her people which is Giriama in a rebellion against British colonial administration and policies actively in 1913- 1914.

  Giriama are part of the Mijikenda subgroup who Inhabited the Kenyan coast , they had a sacred dwelling places known as Kaya , located in a forested areas , one of which British Colonial administration destroyed by dynaming in 1914. 
According to Dr. Mussah Chekai account ,  The destroying of dyanaming in 1914 was known as Kaya Fungo .  Mekatilili the Mijikenda Warrior witnessed her brother being captured and enslaved by Arabs followed by British oppresing her people and white supremacy Violence. Mekatili fought tirelessly but was captured by British and was exiled to Mumias.
 Mekatili never gave up but provoked the British and escaped from exile then return back home again .  Mekatili Wa Menza finally declared a war and was engaged in a cultural dance known as Kifudu . She was one of the first Kenyan woman to rise up against British and She took oaths and gave offerings to her Ancestors to restore their sovereignty.  
The Rebellion lasted from 1913 to 1914 between British and Giriama and It is believed some Mijikenda warriors died before she died around the age 70s in 1925.
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