Tracing the roots : the unknown about AKAMBA


Akamba Tribe
This is one of the most populous Kenyan Bantu communities occupying the eastern part of the country ranging from Tsavo to east of Nairobi.The community dominates Machakos (Masaku in Kikamba), Makueni, Mwingi and Kitui Districts that constitute Ukambani (Ukamba their original name for their place) region.

However, the community extends habitation to Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Embu, Taita Taveta, Kwale and Mombasa among other counties.

The community entered Kenya through the south west door, through Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanganyika.This served as one of the tribe’s major dispersal point within the East African Region. Like the other Bantu communities, Akamba are said to be among the last groups to arrive from Congo Forest in Zaire.

Ukambani is one of the most dry regions in Kenya characterized by water inadequacy, unreliable rainfall and the scorching sun that leaves the land crackly. The ethnic community speaks in a universal language called Kikamba. Akamba is the plural of Mukamba, a person born from the community.

Akamba community share the historical ties with the Mt. Kenya Bantus such as Agikuyu, Aembu and Ameru since the trio communities share some words in their languages alongside having 7 alphabetical vowels as opposed to the usual five.

Uniqueness of Akamba Language
Unlike many communities in Kenya, the Kamba language is special and distinctive from the rest since the community alphabet lacks letters “c”, ”f”, ”j”, ‘r”, “p” alongside unpopular “x” and “q”. The second last alphabetical letter is never used by any Kenyan community but the last one is mostly used by the pastoralist communities occupying the northern parts of the country.

Child Naming
Like any other African community, Akamba named the children after their grandparents. The eldest boy or girl was named after the paternal grandparent and thereafter the younger one would be named after the maternal grandparents.This was assumed to keep the spirits of the living dead from their lineages alive.

Failure to name the child after one of the grandparents was assumed to accompany the consequences to the family and the clan at large.

Tracing the roots ; 1

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