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Title: A history of the Kikuyu to 1904
Author: Muriuki, Godfrey
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1969
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This thesis is the first systematic attempt, so far undertaken, to collect and analyse the historical traditions of the Kikuyu. It demonstrates that among the Kikuyu the genealogies of the mbari or kinship groups are a more fruitful source of historical evidence than the popular myths of origin which are practically worthless. The former indicate that the Kikuyu are an amalgam of diverse elements drawn from a wide area. An analysis of Kikuyu society, which was based on kinship groups and the mariika system, shows that it was moulded by the mode of the initial Immigration and pattern of settlement. The mariika system provided manpower for public duties and was a vehicle for education and social control. This society was also highly competitive and egalitarian. Relations between the Kikuyu and their neighbours are also examined. It is shown that there was no basic difference in the relations existing between the Kikuyu themselves, the Kikuyu and the Maasai or the Kikuyu and their cousins around Mount Kenya. The bad reputation of the Kikuyu is shown to have emanated from the Kamba and coastal traders with disastrous results to the relations existing between the Kikuyu and all the newcomers. Finally, the initial establishment of the British rule, by force, is examined. The whole ambit of the western civilization descended on the conquered with far-reaching repercussions to their way of life.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral