Culture

 

Kenya is endowed with a rich historical, cultural and natural heritage and is popularly known as the Cradle of Mankind. Kenya is also one of the most cosmopolitan countries in Africa - no one single cultural element can be used to describe the people as a whole. You could say that the country’s local population easily represents more diversity than many other African countries. Most importantly Kenyans are united under the Red, White and Black colours of the flag and the spirit of Harambee - which means pulling together as a community.


Traditional African beliefs play a significant role in the lives of Kenyans in spite of adapting to modern values. Kenyans practice traditional values of humility, concern for neighbors and maintenance of kinship ties. Beliefs in superstition are not common except deep in the rural areas. Activities such as marriage, child naming, burials and other rites of passage are still heavily influenced by traditional beliefs and practices and range from community to community.


Some communities have retained more of the traditional African lifestyle than others. They live in huts, walk barefoot, dress in robes and decorate their hair with colored soils. The Maasai tribe is famous for maintaining a nomadic way of life revolving around cattle and the search for pasture. This fiercely proud tribe of warriors has resisted numerous attempts at modernization and consequently has gained great respect (and curiosity) internationally.

A visit to the bustling cities, towns and villages of Kenya will be an eye opener to the determination of the people. Right from casual workers in sprawling industrial complexes to executives at the stock market and further onwards to the roadsides where men and women of all ages are earning a living for their families. Everyday has its fortunes: sometimes business is good, other times they walk home with nothing. Entrepreneurship is the locomotive engine behind these attributes of hard work and perseverance as Kenyans remain united in the quest for success and fulfillment.


Languages
Kenya is a linguistically diverse country where majority of population speak at least 3 languages. In addition to the 42 ethnic dialects, English is the official language while Swahili (Kiswahili) is the national language spoken by almost every Kenyan.  Sheng a mixture of Swahili and English, with a bit of other indigenous languages is also commonly spoken in urban areas and has gained popularity amongst politicians and advertisements agencies who try to diversify their audience and target the youths.


Common Foods
Staple foods include; Ugali, rice, bread, chapati Nyama (Meats): Beef, chicken, Goat, Samaki (Fish): Tilapia, Omena(sardines) and Vegetables.
When in Kenya, most people will invite you to enjoy Nyama Choma- open fire grilled red meat with ugali (Cornmeal) and Sukumawiki (Collard Greens)

 

Arts & Crafts
Kenya is a hub for beautiful culturally inspired arts and crafts. Some of the items are sold as memorabilia to our visitors and they include:  sisal baskets, Maasai bead jewelry, musical instruments, soapstone sculptures, animal wooden carvings, tribal masks, paintings  and prints on batik clothes, sculptures, kangas-women’s wraparound skirts with beautiful patterns with swahili proverbs printed on them, kikoi textile sarongs and more.