Kikuyu

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Kikuyu

(kĭko͞o`yo͞o), Bantu-speaking people, numbering about 6 million, forming the largest tribal group in Kenya. The Kikuyu live in the highlands NE of Nairobi. Before the British conquest they were the most influential people in the country. During the 1950s, under the leadership of Jomo KenyattaKenyatta, Jomo
, 1893?–1978, African political leader, first president of Kenya (1964–78). A Kikuyu, he was one of the earliest and best-known African nationalist leaders.
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, the Kikuyu fought the British colonialists in what was known as the Mau Mau Emergency. Although the Kikuyu traditionally lived in separate family homesteads, most were moved into villages during the rebellion. After the removal of the colonists, a large number chose to remain in the villages. The Kikuyu economy centers mainly around agriculture, with little or no hunting or fishing.

Bibliography

See H. E. Lambert, Kikuyu Social and Political Institutions (1956, repr. 1965); R. M. Gatheru, Child of Two Worlds (1964, repr. 1972); J. Davison, Voices from Mutira (1989).

Kikuyu

 

(Akikuyu, Giguyu), a people inhabiting central Kenya. They number 2.2 million (1969, census) and speak the Kikuyu language. The Meru (554,000), Embu (118,000), and Mbere (49,000) are related to the Kikuyu in language and culture. According to legend the Kikuyu came from the east (northeast of the Tan River) about the 16th century. Christianity is widespread, along with traditional beliefs. The Kikuyu are mainly agriculturalists, raising coffee for export. A working class is emerging, and the ranks of the national bourgeoisie and intelligentsia are growing.

REFERENCES

Middleton, J. The Central Tribes of the North-Eastern Bantu (The Kikuyu . . . ). London, 1953.
Kenyatta, J. Facing Mount Kenya. New York, 1962.

Kikuyu

 

(Giguyu), the language of the Kikuyu people of central Kenya. Kikuyu, a Bantu language, is spoken by 2.7 million people (1970, estimate). The phonetic system is characterized by interdental consonants: voiced ð and voiceless λ; the Dahl law of the dissimilation of consonants is applicable to Kikuyu. A characteristic morphological feature is the relatively complete system of nominal classes (16). The class prefixes are monosyllabic. In addition to the three conventional locative classes with the prefixes pa-, ku-, and mu-, the locative prefix e- is used. Word order is subject-predicate-object, and class agreement is strictly observed at the syntactic level.

REFERENCES

Doke, C. M. Bantu: Modern Grammatical, Phonetical and Lexicographical Studies Since 1860. London, 1945.
Armstrong, L. Phonetic and Tonal Structure of Kikuyu. London, 1940.
Gecaga, B. M., and W. H. Kirkaldy-Willis. English-Kikuyu and Kikuyu-English Vocabulary. Nairobi-Kampala, 1956.
References in periodicals archive ?
In the preface to Facing Mount Kenya, Kenyatta presents his boyhood experience and traditional Gikuyu education as credentials for writing his expert account of the Gikuyu.
It provided the foundation for the much briefer version of his life that was finally published by East African Educational Publishers in Nairobi in 1994 as I, the Gikuyu and the White Fury.
Muoria recounted how in 1944 he took the finished Gikuyu manuscript to an Indian printer in Nairobi with a photograph of himself--a self-portrait.
Peterson (2003:iv-vi) reports that one such collection of tales rewritten in Gikuyu by missionaries from the Old Testament, Mohoro ma Tene Tene, was the best-selling publication among the Gikuyu, next to the New Testament.
Muoria's recounting of the episode confirmed his standing as his people's rightful guardian, the meaning of the Gikuyu word mumenyereri.
For a while Kenyatta and Muoria, who were the embodiment of Gikuyu and African nationalist journalism, collaborated to great political effect.
His projection of himself as a representative of the Gikuyu, and by extension of the Colony's African population in matters relating to the public sphere, was recognised by the colonial regime a year after he had started the publication of his newspaper.
An important journalist predecessor for Muoria was James Beauttah, a controversial politician from Murang'a in central Kenya, who edited one of the few Gikuyu newspapers of the 1930s, Muthiathu (Treasure).
Furthermore, after 1952, government offices were in charge of the production and dissemination of regular propaganda in the form of anti-Mau Mau pamphlets and leaflets, targeted particularly at Gikuyu communities.
Gikuyu politicians led by Kenyatta were now hegemonic and the country was in political turmoil owing to the disappearance and murder of the popular left-leaning Gikuyu politician, JM Kariuki.