Culture and Customs of Kenya

Culture and Customs of Kenya

Culture and Customs of Kenya

Culture and Customs of Kenya


Kenya, a land of safaris, wild animals, and Maasai warriors, perfectly represents Africa for many Westerners. This peerless single-source book presents the contemporary reality of life in Kenya, an important East-African nation that has served as a crossroads for peoples and cultures from Africa, the Middle East, and East Asia for centuries. As such, it is a land rich in cultural and ethnic diversity, where unique and dynamic traditions blend with modern influences. Students and general readers will be engrossed in narrative overviews highlighting Kenyan history, as well as the beliefs, vibrant cultural expressions, and various lifestyles and roles of the Kenyan population. A chronology, glossary, and numerous photos enhance the narrative.

Kenya today struggles with nation building. Its society comprises the haves and the have-nots and faces the challenges of the trend toward urbanization, with its attendant disruption of traditional social structures. For Kenyans, the preserving of traditional cultures is as important as making the statement that Kenya is a modern nation. Chapters on the land, people, and history; religion and worldview; literature, film, and media; art and architecture; cuisine and traditional dress; gender roles, marriage, and family; and social customs and lifestyle are up to date and written by a country expert. A chronology, glossary, and numerous photos enhance the narrative.


Africa is a vast continent, the second largest, after Asia. It is four times the size of the United States, excluding Alaska. It is the cradle of human civilization. A diverse continent, Africa has more than fifty countries with a population of over 700 million people who speak over 1,000 languages. Ecological and cultural differences vary from one region to another. As an old continent, Africa is one of the richest in culture and customs, and its contributions to world civilization are impressive indeed.

Africans regard culture as essential to their lives and future development. Culture embodies their philosophy, worldview, behavior patterns, arts, and institutions. The books in this series intend to capture the comprehensiveness of African culture and customs, dwelling on such important aspects as religion, worldview, literature, media, art, housing, architecture, cuisine, traditional dress, gender, marriage, family, lifestyles, social customs, music, and dance.

The uses and definitions of “culture” vary, reflecting its prestigious association with civilization and social status, its restriction to attitude and behavior, its globalization, and the debates surrounding issues of tradition, modernity, and postmodernity. The participating authors have chosen a comprehensive meaning of culture while not ignoring the alternative uses of the term.

Each volume in the series focuses on a single country, and the format is uniform. The first chapter presents a historical overview, in addition to information on geography, economy, and politics. Each volume then proceeds to examine the various aspects of culture and customs. The series highlights the mechanisms for the transmission of tradition and culture across generations:

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