Kenya


Figure 1.--This photograph is unidentified, but we believe is a Kenyan Massai boy, probably photographed about 1960. Notice his traditional clothing. The East african country since indepence has made substantial economic progress.

Kenya is an east-African country at the equator. It is bordered by Somalia on the east, Ethiopia to the north, Tanzania to the south, Uganda on the west, and Sudan to the northwest. The climate is varied. In the north along the Somali-Ethiopian border the land is quite arid. Kenya's southwest touches the fertile, well watered Lake Victoria Basin and part of the Great Rift Valley. This separates the western highlands from the lowland coastal strip. It is in the Great Rift Valley that valuable finds of ancient huminoids have been made. The fertile highlands are part of the extensive greasslands of East Africa. This includes the Serengeti with its renowned population odf wildlife. We are working on a history of Kenya. One of the best know tribes is the Massai. Kenya is primarily Christian with a Muslim population in the northeast along the Somali border. Kenya has become the refuge for 0.3 million people fleeung conflict or persecution in perhaps a dozen different countries in the region. Most come from war-torn Somalia. The American ship attacked by pirates (2009) was bringing relief supplies these refugees. A reader has orovided some information about a Kenyan boy and his pet. We also have some information on Kenayn schools. There are over 55 national parks and reserves located all over the country. Kenya is famous worldwide for its game viewing in parks and reserves. The Wildebeest migration is one of the most amazing natural spectacles. Some are major international tourist sites, others are primatily used by Kenyan families.

Geography

Kenya is an east-African country at the equator. It is bordered by Somalia on the east, Ethiopia to the north, Tanzania to the south, Uganda on the west, and Sudan to the northwest. The climate is varied. In the north along the Somali-Ethiopian border the land is quite arid. Kenya's southwest touches the fertile, well watered Lake Victoria Basin and part of the Great Rift Valley. This separates the western highlands from the lowland coastal strip. It is in the Great Rift Valley that valuable finds of ancient huminoids have been made. The fertile highlands are part of the extensive greasslands of East Africa. This includes the Serengeti with its renowned population odf wildlife.

History

Kenya was a British colony. The liberation struggle was led by Jomo Kenyata. He was Kenya's first president (1963). Kenyata developed a system of a one-party state, although there were at first multi-party trapings. Like many African leaders, Kenyata did not understand the value of multi-party democracy. The Soviet single-party system was aluring and of course made the job of president permaent. The ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) made itself the sole legal party in Kenya (1969). When Kenyata died, Daniel Toroitich arap Moi became president (1978). Moi became not only the next president, but the KANU leader--essentially a dictator. MOI eventually reacted to both internal and external pressure for political liberalization (1991). The ethnically fractured opposition failed to defeat KANU which also had the ability to use the organs of the statec to help win elections (1992 and 1997). While these elections had incidents of violence and fraud, they were more fair than those held in many other African elections. President Moi finally stepped down following universally agreed fair and peaceful elections (2002).

Economy

Kenya was divided into tribl areas befire the arival of the British. Economic activity was mostly agriculture and livestock raising. The are was ravaged by the Arab slave trade which the Royal Navy worked for decades to end. European colonialism in East Afric came later than West Africa. There was interest in the port of Mombasa, but little penetration of the interior. The British established the East Africa Protectorate (1895) which after World War I became the Kenyan Colony (1920). The rich farm land an tmperate climate of the interior attracted British settlers who with the support of the colomial government acquired land from tribal areas. Native resistance inspired the Mau-Mau Rebellion (1950s). Britain granted independence (1963). The country's economy has done better than most of the newly independent African countries and is the East African success story. Kenya has reported generally positive with a few poor years since independence. Immediately after independence, Kenya reported impressive growth rates of about 6 percent (1960s) which gradully declined to viut 4 prcent (1970s-80s). Kenya then experienced wide fluctutions in growth rates (negative to 4 percent) (1990s). After the new century, we see some very high growth rates, peaking at 7 percent (2007). The global financial crisis combined with a diputed election, hit the economy. Exports and remitences were affected. Growth fell below 2 percent which was not as bad as many other countries experienced (2008). The economy quickly rebounded, resuming a healty growth rate. Kenya was soon reporting growth rates over 5 percent (2010-11) and most economists see generally positive prospects. The Islmicist violence in Somalia to the north has advrsely affected important industries like tourism. Kenya is on tract to become the first East African country to make the transition from low-income status to middle-income status. The per capita GDP is over $750. While low by European standards, it is an impresive achievement by African standards, especilly as Kenya does not have any major exportable raw materils like oil. The country has been adversely affected by high inflation rates. The Government is promoting policies to increase exports and invest in infrastructure (transport and energy). There has been succes to increase regional trade through the East African Community (EAC) trade bloc. This includes Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. The EAC like Kenya is pursuing pro-market, pro-private sector and pro-liberalisation. While Kenya has pursued those policies since independence, other EAC counties have not. Thus there is a significant integrtion process underway and as a customs union and the common market are being forged. Kenya is the EAC leader and the most most industrialised country, not only in East Africa, but Central Africa as well. Agriculture has been and continues to be the keading economic activity. The agicultural sector, unlike quite a number of African countries, is not dominated by aingle or small number of commodities. This is in part because of Kenya's vrious regions have different climaric conditions. Keny's agricultural sector produces aide range of horticultural products. Tourism is another important sector. Important parks nd wildlife are the major attraction. There is a gowing manufacturing industry. Kenyan exports are primarilt agricultural and raw mateials, but value added manufcturing is increasing. Kenya has had to import oil. Declining oil prices since 2014 have been a benefit and there are indications that oil fiekds could be develped in the north. ,

Tribes

Kenya, as in other African countries, has aomplex mix of tribal groups. The precise number varies depending on the various authors addressing the topic. Most suggest somethibg like 40-70 different tribes. Coming up with a precise number is complicated because many of the tribes are related and thus it is dificult to assess if they are actually a separate tribal group. Kenyan tribes have never been closed units. Tribal elements like language, culture and appearance commonly overlap. Kenyan tribal families often include members of different tribes. And the situation is further complicated by the fact that the various tribes have du\iffering traditions a to whether a personís tribal identity is determined by the paternal or maternal line. The Kenyan tribes are commonly divided into five major groups: 1) Hunter-gathers, 2) Banu, 3) Niloti Parniloti, 4) Cushiti, and 5) Swahilli. The Hunter-gathers include the Dahalo, El-Molo, Ndorobo, and Sanye. The Bantu are divided into three major geographic groups: Ovest, Centro, and Costa. The Niloti Paraniloto include four major groups: Niloti, Teso, Maasai, and Kalenjin. The best known tribe is the Maasai one of the Niloti Parniloti people. They are noe of the best known tribes not only in Kenya, but all of Africa. As a result they have become virtually a symbol of African tribal life. The Maasai are a hearding people famous for their red garments. The Cushiti include the Somali, Rendille, Galla, Boni, Borana, Gabbra, Orma, and Sakuye. The Swahilli include the Bajun, Pate, Mvita, Vumba, Ozi, Fundi, Siyu, Shela, and Amu.

Religion

Kenya is primarily Christian with a Muslim population in the northeast along the Somali border.

Refugees

Kenya has become the refuge for 0.3 million people fleeung conflict or persecution in perhaps a dozen different countries in the region. Most come from war-torn Somalia. The American ship attacked by pirates (2009) was bringing relief supplies these refugees. They are one of the Niloti Parniloti group.

Activities

We also have some information on Kenayn schools. There are over 55 national parks and reserves located all over the country. Kenya is famous worldwide for its game viewing in parks and reserves. The Wildebeest migration is one of the most amazing natural spectacles. Some are major international tourist sites, others are primatily used by Kenyan families.

Individuals

A reader has orovided some information about a Kenyan boy and his pet.








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Created: 12:02 AM 4/10/2009
Last updated: 8:59 PM 10/6/2012