Mijikenda Tribe comprises of 9 indigenous tribes, the Giriama, Digo, Duruma, Chonyi, Ribe, Rabai, Kambe, Kauma and Jibana.These were the first people to settle at the Coast and speak Kiswahili.
In an era long gone, between the Sabaki and the Umba rivers settled nine tribes of a people, having finally found their promised land in what is now the modern day Coast of Kenya. These people were the Mijikenda.
The settler tribes consisted of the Giriama, Digo, Duruma, Chonyi, Ribe, Rabai, Kambe, Kauma and Jibana.
Over the time they lived here, they interacted with people from all walks of life and traded with emissaries from far away civilizations such as Persia, Arabia, China, India, Portugal and Europe. These interactions would later give birth to the Swahili culture and paint an enchanting history of the region. One can relieve the experience of these times by participating in the spectacular Sound and Light show held at the Fort Jesus.
The Mijikenda people were organized around clans which were formed by families with a common patriarchal ancestor. These clans lived in fortified villages built in cleared areas of forested ridges.
Each clan had their own sacred place known as a ‘kaya’, a shrine for prayer where sacrifices and other religious rituals were done. These ‘kayas’ were located deep in the forests and it was considered taboo to cut the trees and vegetation around them. The kaya elders were deemed to posses supernatural powers including the ability to make it rain.
Today, the Mijikenda people have been assimilated into modern cultural practices, with a majority being either Christian or Muslim and form part of the cosmopolitan population of Mombasa County. However some still practice their traditional ways and live on hinterlands in the outskirts of the city.
The culture of the Mijikenda people is rich in history and tradition. Reflecting the true nature of the African spirit, seen through their lively and vigorous dancing coupled with rhythmic, dramatic drumming.
Just as they have done since the beginning, Mijikenda dancers perform their exhilarating dances in various events today, attracting both domestic and international tourists like myself, during the Mshikaki Festival held under the Tusks in Mombasa_ a distinct landmark which was a commemoration to Princess Margaret of England when she visited Mombasa in 1956_ The festival is held every month in celebration of coastal culture and cuisine
This is just one of the many reasons why you should visit Mombasa, Your international destination of choice. Come and be part of a truly beautiful and historic culture.