History form 1 simplified lesson notes 18 - 22 January 2011 - KCSE REVISION E LEARNING
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History form 1 simplified lesson notes 18

The social, economic and political organisation of the Akamba in the 19th Century.


Social organisation

The Akamba were organised into clans made up of several related families. They had age-groups and age-set system. They practiced circumcision as an initiation rite.

They believed in witchcraft and had medicinemen and diviners. The Akamba conducted traditional ceremonies. Finally, they worshipped God and performed sacrifices to him.





Economic organisation

Some Akamba practiced crop cultivation and planted sorghum, millet, potatoes and beans while others kept livestock such as cattle, sheep and goats. The Akamba were skilled hunters and they also gathered fruits and roots to substitute their diet.

They traded with the Kikuyu, Taita, Mijikenda and later with the coastal people. The Akamba sold honey, arrow poison and tobacco to them while they bought beads and cloth from the coast and also ivory and foodstuff from the interior communities like the Samburu and Mbeere respectively. They smelted iron and made spears, arrow-heads, hoes, knives, cattle bells and jingles.

The Akamba were efficient beekeepers and they harvested a lot of honey. They were engaged in traditional industries where they manufactured pots, baskets, mats, stools and shields.

Those who lived close to river Tana did some fishing. They made carvings from wood and sold them to the people in exchange for cloth, snuff boxes and beads.


Political organisation

Politically the Akamba were organised into clans made up of several related families. They had councils of elders each entitled to "Nzama Sya Utui”.

They practiced the age-set system and they were ranked in age grades such as junior elders, medium elders, full elders and senior elders. The Akamba were decentralised. Akamba warriors defended the community. Judgement of cases was done by the council of elders.


How the Abagusii were organised socially, economically and politically.


Social Organisation

The Abagusii were organised into clans. Their social organisation was based on the extended family whose members claimed to have a common ancestor. They conducted initiation ceremonies in form of circumcision for boys and clitoridectomy for girls. Polygamy was a very common social practice among the Abagusii.

The Abagusii worshipped one supreme God called ‘Engoro’. They prayed through ancestral spirits. The Abagusii sacrificed to their God, Engoro who they regarded as the creator of the universe. They had medicinemen, rain makers and prophets. Lastly, they also conducted ceremonies marking birth, initiation and death.




Economic organisation.

The Abagusii were pastoralists and they kept cattle, sheep and goats. They cultivated crops such as millet, sorghum, pumpkins, potatoes and beans. Men hunted wild game while women gathered wild fruits and roots.

They conducted trade with their neighbours such as the Luo and the Luhyia. Finally, they were engaged in traditional industries such as making stone curvings and iron hoes for cultivation.


Political organisation.

The Abagusii were politically organised into clans made up of related families and each clan was ruled by "Omogambi”. They had age-set systems and councils of elders which led the clans in wars and judged cases.

The Abagusii were politically decentralised. They had warriors who defended their territory from the enemies.


The social, economic and political organisation of the Mijikenda in the 19th Century.


Social organisation.

The social organisation of the Mijikenda was based on the clan. They practiced the age-set system. Initiation of boys took place after every five years. The elders were the clan leaders. Inter marriages between Kayas existed.

There was division of labour. Children looked after cattle, sheep and goats while young men built houses and cattle sheds, hunted and cleared the bush for cultivation.

The Mijikenda worshipped God and offered sacrifices. They conducted ceremonies during the time of birth, initiation and marriage.


Economic activities.

The Mijikenda fished in the Indian Ocean. They kept livestock such as cattle, sheep and goats and hunted and gathered fruits, honey and vegetables. They were engaged in traditional industries such as weaving and basketry.

The Mijikenda grew crops such as millet and also traded with the Swahilis and the people of the interior such as the Akamba.


Political organisation

The Mijikenda political set up was under the control of the clan. There were councils of elders who sorted out all matters concerning the ‘Kayas’.

Age-set system existed. The Mijikenda had warriors who defended their territory and ensured that there was law and order. Cases were judged by the council of elders.

The Social, economic, and political organisation of the Luo in the 19th Century.


Social organisation

The Luo were organised into clans composed of families with a common ancestor. The clans were grouped into larger territorial units called ‘Gweng’ which were occupied by foreign lineages entitled ‘Joka’ and clansmen. A council of elders existed which presided over religious ceremonies.

The Luo worshipped a God called Nyasaye through their ancestral spirits. This was conducted in the sacred places. Priests existed who linked the people with the ancestral spirits. They had diviners who interpreted God’s messages to the people. The Luo sacrificed for thanks giving and for appeasing their God.

They initiated boys and girls into adulthood by removing their six lower teeth. They also prepared them for marriage. Finally, the Luo conducted other ceremonies and celebrations such as burial ceremonies, naming, beer drinking and wrestling.


Economic organisation

The Luo cultivated crops such as beans, sweet potatoes, peas, millet, groundnuts and sorghum. They hunted wild animals and collected fruits, vegetables and roots. The Luo businessmen traded with their neighbours for example Abaluhyia, Abagusii, Nandi and Kipsigis.

The Luo smelted iron and made iron tools and also engaged themselves in the traditional industries such as pottery, basketry and cloth making. They fished in Lake Victoria and in the rivers passing through their territory e.g. Rivers Sondu, Nzoia, Nyando, Kuja and Yala.


The political organisation

The Luo were politically organised into clans and they were decentralised. The clans were made up of families headed by "Jaduong”. Several clans merged together formed a ‘gweng’. There existed a council of elders made up of clan heads and other remarkable elders. Related clans formed alliances and defended their territory. Each Luo alliance (Oganda) had a political leader entitled Ruoth. There were individual clan councils, doho, controlled by Ladito.

Also there was a council called Buch Piny made up of elders who advised the Ruoth for example the military leader, Osumba Mirwayi. The council of elders was made up of clan heads and other remarkable elders. It solved internal disputes over land, declared war and performed other political and religious functions.

Doho was a smaller council which operated under smaller regional sub-divisions. There were warriors referred to as Thuondi who raided the neighbouring communities.


Category: HIISTORY | Views: 1934 | Added by: mikenjue | Rating: 1.6/8
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1 willy   (30/06/2012 9:08 PM)
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