5 Interesting Facts About Kenyan Culture You Probably Didn’t Know
5 Interesting Facts About Kenyan Culture You Probably Didn’t Know : Kenya is one of the worldly known perfect destinations for pure cultural safaris and this is due to various tribes found in Kenya, most of the tribes found in Kenya still posses their traditions, customs and norms and up to date they haven’t been destroyed by technology.
Some of the most famous tribes in Kenya include the Maasai Mara, Luhya, Luo, Kalejin, Kikuyu among others, as a foreigner it is good to be cautious of the local people and their culture so as not to anger them. The local Kenya people are very protective of their culture and its considered unacceptable to disgrace it in any kind of way, so as to peaceful explore the Kenya culture here are few interesting facts you should know before visiting the local tribes on a Kenya cultural safari.
- They thrive on community cooperation
The Kenyan local people flourish on community cooperation, they believe in staying together as a source of their strength and because of that they rarely isolate themselves. Kenyans use their community as a safe haven to solve their problems and this is seen in the way they always stink together during times of death and many others.
Kenyans have a local slag “Harambee” meaning “Pull together”, this term is a Bantu tribal word in Swahili and it is usually used among the 13 ethnicities and 27 small sub-cultural groups of Kenya.
In Kenya communities sharing responsibilities such as farming, herding of livestock, forming of political agendas and safeguarding of communities is mutual among all Kenyans and no one is left behind in time of need. During your Kenya cultural safari in Kenya which offers you a visit to Kenya local communities you will be immersed in the spirit of group cooperation, mutual responsibility is high respected in caring for the land and its people and you are offered assistance as a tourist.
- Tardiness is not a thing
To Kenyans tardiness is not a thing and it should be known they are very loose about time, though in the western country it is very paramount to keep a tight schedule and considered to be rude to show up late with no phone call, Kenyans don’t track and very loose about time.
In Kenya and to Kenyans themselves, time is more casual so if you are planning on meeting a friend for lunch it is high time you know that timing is fluid and if the one you are waiting for ends up being 30 minutes late then don’t get mad. And don’t expect an apology or an excuse as being late is a norm in Kenya.
The only perfect timing you should except in Kenya is a Kenya safari and other Kenya safari activities which have a perfectly timed time frame
- Kenyans respect and remember ancestors
The large portion of Kenya customs and traditions involve recognizing and remembering their ancestors, in their daily life activities and larger nucleus family Kenyans include their passed loved ones and is done through remembrance.
As per African culture including Kenyan culture, ancestors are believed to exist/they are alive in a sense that they are alive until the living forgets them. The ancestors are believed to be stuck in limb not in this world but as part of it, they get trapped in between an afterlife and mortal life. Kenyans believe that the ancestors are close to God and also believe the ancestors have abilities to navigate events.
As a way of displaying respect and worshiping the ancestors, Kenya ask for ancestral guidance and giving offerings such as prayers and sacrifice as a way of showing ancestors what they are in need of. To Kenyans and African culture at large, ancestors act as a medium connecting their families to the higher power.
In the local Kenyan communities, naming of babies is commonly done in honor and this act shows tremendous respect as the next generations remember them.
- Dining is a formal affair
During your Kenyan safari except to share meals with the local Kenyan people and as a tourist it is very essential to know the proper etiquette so as not to offend the host, regardless of the fact that Kenyans live in extreme poverty it is in their customs to offer you food when you enter their home. Kenyans and their culture indicate that a guest is a blessing and it is explained by the term “Mgeni ni Baraka”, it is a privilege and duty to offer a guest food.
Refusing food upon your visit in a Kenya homestead offering food is a mutual respect and refusing it is considered an insult, as a traveler it is very important to accept food from the host and if you just ask for a small portion. Inform them that you recently ate but you would love to try their food.
Following formal dining rules is a must in Kenya, forming dining rules vary according to the tribal tradition so be ready to cope up with social queues revealing expectations. Dining is a very special occasion and a guest of honor is assigned a special seat and serving of food begins with the honored person followed by the eldest male, other men, children then women.
While on the table you are not allowed to begin eating until the eldest male in the family start his meal, meals are served family –style by servants who offers communal bowls to each person. It is very respectful when you finish you plate so don’t overload unless you want to be seen as wasteful.
Another important thing to note is that, drinks are not served with meals since it is considered very impolite to drink as you are eating. In case you are not sure of what you are eating, it doesn’t hurt to ask in a very appreciative and curious tone.
- Communication is kept respectful and indirect
Communication in Kenya is very different from other parts of the world as speaking directly or being openly critical is considered rude and unacceptable, culture in Kenya is very different and aims at preserving relationships through passive and polite communication.
As a foreigner/traveler in Kenya is may appear to be odd that Kenyans commonly use metaphors and analogies as a way of getting appoint across instead of bluntly calling someone a liar or explaining they did something wrong. This way of communication is used to protect the image of others as it is clear that to insult a member of the community is equal to insulting one’s self.
In an occasion where someone wants to be openly critical or show anger they do it in private, in Kenya culture displaying anger in public is seen as a consequence of the instability of character. Unless there is a business dispute, yelling is not acceptable. Before any business transaction a form of small talk is expected by asking about each other’s health and family.
Most important of all, even though English is your mother language, it doesn’t hurt to learn important Swahili terms as a way of enriching your communication and interaction in the locals
Exploring Kenya culture is a very entertaining and educative experience, check through our safari blog for our Kenya cultural safari or send us your Kenya cultural safari inquiry at info@Wildlifekenyasafaris.com