Kenya: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Kenya, the age of the population, jewelry and status, women and politics, white supremecists.



Half of the population is less than 16 years old.

Women figure strongly in Kenya's politics. Bantu women generally have been freer than their Muslim counterparts. And though the African males "believe" in polygamy, it's actually on the decline. Marriages are not prepackaged and a woman can refuse a suitor. Nevertheless, women still hold a lower status than men. The Kikuyus not only practice female circumcision, but defend and extol it as a way of binding the tribe together.

Among the Kikuyu the more ornaments a man can carry on his ears--earrings, bells, others' ears--the more his community will respect him. But if he loses an earlobe, he loses face as well.

In 1904 the British passed a law barring all nonwhites from owning or managing land in the highlands. By the end of the year 220,000 acres had been transferred to 342 Europeans. Eventually the one million Kikuyus were squeezed into an area 1/10 the size of that owned by 1,000 whites. The Kikuyus reacted by forming the Kenya African Union with Jomo Kenyatta as its head. An extremist group--the Mau Mau--later spun off from the KAU and began a guerrilla war against all non-African domination. Mau Mau members were bound to each other by secret oaths and mystic ritual and swore to rid Kenya of white domination by using terrorism. Their terror tactics became a rampage. All members participated in the killing of a European, an Asian, or a white-oriented African to share the common guilt and hide individual responsibility. The brutal Mau Mau uprising, which produced white retaliation that was just as brutal, lasted from 1952 to 1959. Its outcome was greater black participation in government, eventual general elections which frustrated European hopes for a white supremacist state, and final independence from Britain under Jomo Kenyatta in 1963.

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