Kenya: General Information

Prehistoric remains have been found in Kenya which show that humans have lived in this region for 2.5 million years. Nowadays, the Republic of Kenya has more than 40 (47?) different ethnic communities that include most of the major ethnoracial and linguistic groups to be found in Africa [Bantus (67%), Kalenjin (12%), Kamba (11%,) Kikuyu (22%), Kisii (6%), Luhya (14%), Luo (13%), Meru (6%), Nilotes (30%), other Africans (15%), non-Africans (Asian, European and Arab; 1%) and Cushitic groups (<1%).

Even though the republic has no specific national dress, there are many outfits that can be assumed to form the traditional types of clothing of Kenya. In general, the modern population use Western clothing as the men usually wear suits with ties while the women wear skirts and blouses with a khanga (a 1.5 m x 1 m piece of material wrapped around the waist and torso).

(1) Khanga materials
(1) Khanga materials

The khanga is screen printed with beautiful designs and sayings in Swahili or English. Modern Kenyan children wear American-style clothing.

(2) Kenyan sandals woth tyre-tread soles
(2) Kenyan sandals woth tyre-tread soles

The traditional dress of Kenya also includes the sandals, sometimes soled with pieces of motorcycle tires. Adult tribal men traditionally dye their hair red with ochre and fat in order to achieve the warrior look.

 

(2) Various styes of kitenges
(3) Various styes of kitenges

The kitenge is a popular traditional dress worn in Kenya, made of cotton in various colourful patterns and decorated with heavy embroidery. Although the kitenge is not the official dress of Kenya, it is commonly worn during ceremonies and non-official functions.

 

(4) Maasai shuka
(4) Maasai shuka

The world-famous Maasai are one of the Nilotic peoples. Maasai women wear vast plate-like bead necklaces and colourful khanga. The men are famous for wearing a red-checked shuka (a form of blanket) and carry a distinctive ball-ended club. The colour red is the symbol of chivalry and bravery for Maasai.

 

 

(5) Kalenjin
(5) Kalenjin
(6) Kamba
(6) Kamba

 

(7) Kikuyu (Bantu) with a khanga around her waist
(7) Kikuyu (Bantu) with a khanga around her waist

 

(8) Kisii
(8) Kisii
(9) Luo
(9) Luo
(10) Luhya
(10) Luhya
(11) Maasai (Nilotes) men jumping
(11) Maasai (Nilotes) men jumping
(12) Maasai women
(12) Maasai women
(13) Meru
(13) Meru

 

(14) Cushite men
(14) Cushite men

 

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenya#Demographics

http://www.thelovelyplanet.net/traditional-dress-of-kenya/

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