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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.
..... Click the link for more information. , 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.
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).
(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.
REFERENCESMiddleton, J. The Central Tribes of the North-Eastern Bantu (The Kikuyu . . . ). London, 1953.
Kenyatta, J. Facing Mount Kenya. New York, 1962.
(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.
REFERENCESDoke, 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.