Kenyan Tribes and European Peoples: We are much closer than we think!

19 Apr

After living for one year in this wonderful country I came to know Kenyans in depth, understanding the peculiarities of its largest tribes. Something funny is that, the more I get to know them, the smaller is the gap that I perceive between Kenyans and Europeans.

As an Italian, I came to understand that the tribe which is closer to my country is certainly the tribe of LUOS, populating Nyanza region. In what are we similar? First of all, as Italians we love to brag and to show off our status with fashion clothes, expensive cars, huge plasma screen and hi-tech phones. The Luos are the same: they love to buy huge Hi-Fi system, expensive things which show how cool they are.

Sometimes, when they lack something to brag about, they will go at the higher level by associating themselves to successful people. Typical Italian man: “Who? Balotelli? Yes, I schooled with him! We were drinking together last month!”. Same applies to Luos: every luo in the whole region of Nyanza will always tell you that the grandmother of Barak Obama lives just few steps away from their home. “We were having tea together last week!”

Another thing, both of us (Italians and Luos) love to enjoy life, at any cost. We love good things and most of the time we live beyond what our pockets can afford. Typical example is the Italian which goes to the bar and pays drinks for everyone shouting at the bar tender (so that everyone can hear that he is the one buying!) – even if usually he is the most broke among the presents. With Luos applies the same: it’s very difficult to pay a drink when you go out with them. This is also very good sign of generosity. In fact, both Italians and Luos are known to be very generous: if you are in their house they always share their food with you. This happens even when the person in question is poor, or extremely poor.

Another thing which Luos and Italian men have in common is the obsession with football. Everytime a football match is screened, you will see them flocking in large number to bars, drinking and shouting at the football players. Luos supporters are almost crazy in Kenya, just like Milan or Inter fans. Yes, football is a reason of life and if you are an italian or a Luo woman you have to accept this since tender age, otherwise you’ll face problems in your marriage! Another thing which I can add on italian men will always tell you that they were the best football players in the school, but due to an injury they could not pursue their bright career as football champions.

Moving to another tribe, I found many similarities between Kikuyu and German people. As our extreme opposite, they like to save money and live a humble life. They are hard workers and they party with moderation. Even if usually Germans have more money than Italians ( as Kikuyus have more money than luos) they will not show off with expensive clothes or gadgets. Most of the time you will think that they are poorer but in real sense they are full of properties and cash! Also when you go out with them, it’s very difficult that they will buy drinks or food for you – and this is something which pisses us off so much!!! Just to make an example, the typical german tourist will go camping, on a very low budget, to explore the nature, while the italian tourist will rent the most expensive hotel with a swimming pool, even if the hotel is located few steps from the beach! But in the end of the day, Germans are ruling European economy , like Kikuyu are ruling Kenyan one! Us, as Italians and Luos, we prefer to enjoy life!

And what about the Luhyas? Luhyas are the Spanish people of Kenya. They are very similar in culture and lifestyle to the Luos, just like the Spanish are similar to the Italians. But they differ in one important thing: pride. Luhyas, like Spanish, are much more humble and down to earth compared to us. Both of them like bullfight (in Spain this traditional game is called CORRIDA – a man fighting against an angry bull) and eating a lot of food. In Italy, we always say that spanish people are our best cousins: we share most of the lifestyle. In particular, spanish people love to party until morning. Usually their parties are running for the whole night with a lot of food and traditinal alchool (called SANGRIA). Unlike italians, they are much more realistic and down to earth when it comes to showing their social status.

Another tribe which I have analysed is the Kalenjins. This tribe can be compared to the Swiss people in Europe. Rich, farm oriented people and very genuine. In Switzerland, you can find old herders still walking in the mountains with his cattle, rather than retiring and enjoying his properties. As italians, if we had the same money, we would have spent it already in drinks, cars and holidays, but them, they prefer to live traditionally in their green land. There is an aspect which is the most beautiful: they are genuine. Also Kalenjins are like that. Very genuine and honest people, but when it comes to fight, especially for their people and their land, they can become very aggressive! Both Swiss and Kalenjins like to produce milk derived products, such as yoghurt and cheese. Actually the Kalenjins are the sole tribe in Kenya producing this kind of products.

In italian we have a says which goes like this: “Tutto il mondo è paese”, “All the world is just like a village”. Well, these are the proofs!


Nairobi, Kenya


2 Risposte to “Kenyan Tribes and European Peoples: We are much closer than we think!”

  1. Robato Msafiri 20 aprile 2014 a 08:33 #

    Articolo interessante, hai buon occhio. but what about the ” Mijikenda”? Please, you need to come in the coast and discover them 🙂

  2. Kenneth 21 aprile 2014 a 05:58 #

    Its such a realistic theme which has got no foriegn addition,but all are facts and true! Luos of Kenya actually share many things with Italianas and to mention; Names too almost fitting both sides i;e Delpiero similar to Obiero…….


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