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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Mijikenda Origins: A Review of the Evidence
Author:Walsh, MartinISNI
Periodical:Transafrican Journal of History
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Kenya
East Africa
ethnic groups
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Anthropology, Folklore, Culture
Nika (African people)
Social and cultural anthropology
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/24520417
Abstract:The subject of this paper is the precolonial history of the Mijikenda and neighbouring peoples on the coast of Kenya. According to their own oral traditions, the original homeland of most of the Mijikenda was in the north, in the legendary Shungwaya (Singwaya), located on what is now the Somali coast. With various modifications and refinements this has become the orthodox view of Mijikenda origins, argued in greatest detail by Thomas Spear, especially in his book 'The Kaya Complex' (1978). This paper challenges the orthodox view by reviewing in detail the different strands of historical evidence used by Spear and others. It concludes that this evidence is insufficient to support the tradition of a northern homeland, and proposes the alternative thesis that the Mijikenda developed in much the same area where they are to be found today. At the same time a number of directions for further research are suggested. Bibliogr., sum.