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Facts About the Maasai & Kikuyu Tribes

Updated April 17, 2017

The East African nation of Kenya has a diverse ethnic population that includes multiple tribes. In addition to being Kenyans, most citizens also identify with their respective tribe. Among the most well-known tribes in Kenya are the Maasai and the Kikuyu.

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Maasai Tribe

The Maasai tribe lives in Kenya and neighbouring Tanzania. The small tribe, according to Kenya Information Guide, accounts for 0.7 per cent of the Kenyan population. The tribe speaks a language called Maa. The Maasai live in the Kakiado and Narok districts and are surrounded by several Kenyan game reserves.

Additional Massai Facts

The Maasai live a seminomadic life in rural environments. Their houses are created using mud, grass, wood and cow-dung. The Maasai tribe still embraces the warrior culture. Young Maasai men are taught to embrace the responsibilities of being a warrior, which includes protecting their animals from predators, provide security to families and hunting nearby game. The tribe has a near-sacred appreciation for cattle. The Maasai measure an individual's wealth by the amount of cattle they own.

Kikuyu Tribe

The Kikuyu tribe is another tribe that resides in Kenya. According to Kenya Advisor, the tribe accounts for 22 per cent of the total population of Kenya. Some members of the Kikuyu have achieved political and economic positions in Kenya because of the size of the tribe. The tribe speaks its own Kikuyu language. The Kikuyu mainly live in the urban city of Nairobi, the central highlands and around Mount Kenya.

Additional Kikuyu Facts

Today, most Kikuyu are Christian. In the past, the tribe worshipped a single god named Ngai that was believed to provide from the top of the mountain. The Kikuyu primarily work as large-scale farmers that primarily cultivate tea and coffee, two of the main cash crops in Kenya. Because of their economic success, many members of the Kikuyu tribe have been able to receive good education. The tribe has adopted many practices and aspects of modern Kenyan culture due to their high economic and social status.

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About the Author

Derek King

Derek King is an undergraduate student attending the University of Austin. King was editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper for four years. In addition to online instructional articles, he also creates content for the music and entertainment blog GetFreshKid.com.

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