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The Agikuyu Cultural Heritage

The Agikuyu are one of communities among forty two in Kenya. They originally occupied the Nairobi province and the central province of Kenya. They form the largest population of the Kenyans and are renowned for their creativity and business mindset. The first African Kenyan president, as well as the third and current one, was Agikuyu by origin. They formed the largest rebellion against British colonialism, and formed the widely known MAUMAU rebellion that was instrumental in the quest for Kenyan independence.

Cultures and Traditions

This community, just like other African communities, has its own set of traditions followed to this day. Circumcision is one of these traditions. Traditionally, both boys and girls were initiated into adulthood through circumcision. However, this is not the case now since only boys are circumcised, as soon as they enter their teenage years. In the past, the task was maintained by the elders and diviners or the medicine men, but today even the medical doctors are allowed to perform it. After the practical part of the initiation, the elders taught and explained the importance of responsibility in adult life.

Another tradition is marriage. If a man met a woman, who suited him, he would go back to his father and tell about his intention to get married with a girl. The father would then make arrangements to be sure that the girl was well mannered and acceptable. If she met the standards, then the arrangements would begin by making introductions and dowry payments. Today, things have changed. If the man knows a woman he gets impressed, he will introduce her to his parents. The negotiations for the dowry payments will begin after the meeting with the family. Dowry payment is an indispensable part of the kikuyu tradition.  It is still maintained to do the negotiations with only the men. A girl is allowed to be present. However, her role is a passive listener.

The Agikuyu are religious people who believe in one Omnipresent God, Ngai. They believe in Him as the creator of all living and non-living. Ngai is not evident visually, but his existence is manifested through the sun, the moon, life, and everything else beautiful in this world. The oral literature of the Agikuyu states that this community came from one man, Gikuyu, from whom the tribe got its name, and his wife Mumbi, the mother of the tribe. Ngai is believed to have his resting place on the earth at the summit of Mount Kenya (Kirinyaga), where He called Gikuyu and gave him all the land around Kirinyaga.

The Africans use different languages with an aim to have meaningful communication with the rest of the world.   People study Spanish in schools, and this is one among the foreign languages that the Agikuyu use. However, other languages have been introduced such as English and German.

Being away from home has given me the noble opportunity to interact and get useful experience from people, other nationalities, and backgrounds. This has helped me to think and reason globally. It has developed my scope and enlarged my knowledge. I have no problem interacting with the people I meet. I feel that most of the people appreciate me, and they respect my pedigree. Some of them are even thrilled by the stories that I tell them about my homeland. I am proud of my origin and my traditions.

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