Ithanga: Kikuyu Heartland

Ithanga: Kikuyu Heartland

Traditionielle Wohngegend


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The ancestors of the Kikuyu can be said to have come from the region of the Nyambene Hills to the northeast of Mount Kenya (Kirinyaga), which was the original homeland of all the central Kenya’s Bantu-speaking people. The kikuyus are believed to have arrived in the hills as early as the 1200s.

Ethnologists believe that the Kikuyu came to Kenya from Central Africa together with the other Bantu groups. On reaching present Tanzania, they moved east, past Mount Kilimanjaro and into Kenya, finally settling around Mount Kenya, while the rest of the group continued migrating to Southern Africa. They, unlike the Nilotic tribes who were pastoralists, were farmers and began farming the very fertile volcanic land around Mount Kenya and the Kenyan highlands

While the Kikuyu can be found throughout Kenya, the heaviest concentration being in Central Province, known as the traditional Kikuyu homeland. They traditionally identify their land as bounded by these mountains or ranges: Mt. Kenya (which they call Kirinyaga — the shining mountain), Ol Donyo Sapuk, the Ngong Hills and the Aberdare (Nyandarua) Range. Many Kikuyus also live in Uganda and Tanzania, some having risen to national leadership.

Regardless of their early origins, it is generally accepted that starting from around the 1500s, the ancestors of the Kikuyu, Meru (including the Igembe and Tigania), Kamba, Embu and Chuka, began moving south into the richer foothills of Mount Kenya. By the early 1600s, they were concentrated at Ithanga, 80 km southeast of the mountain’s peak, and at the confluence of the Thika and Sagana rivers.


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