Four major waves of Bantu migration into East Africa

The term Bantu refers to a group of people who speak related languages. They constitute the
largest language group in Africa and occupy two thirds of the sub-Saharan region.




the origin of the Bantu.

  • The original homeland of the Bantu was between eastern Nigeria and the Cameroon highlands.
  • They moved from Cameroon through the Congo forest into the lake region of east Africa, Zambia and Shaba province of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • They then spread into east, central and southern Africa.
  • Due to their size and strength, they managed to conquer and now occupy two thirds of subSaharan Africa.
  • They form the majority of Kenya‟s population.

Bantu migration.




  • Bantu migration was slow and gradual, involving small groups at a time.
  • Around 500BC, they were living in the Congo forest, which was a major dispersal point from where they began to migrate.
  • Their movement was in four major waves, two of which led to their settlement in Kenya.

In what four waves were the Bantu divided as they migrated into east Africa?

  • That which moved south-eastwards through the area west of lake Victoria, which became the second dispersal point and from where some groups, especially the Western Bantu, passed through present-day Uganda and eventually settled in Western Kenya from 1000AD as others, such as the Banyoro and Baganda, settled in Uganda.




  •  That which moved and entered east Africa at a point south of lake Victoria and proceeded eastwards across northern Tanzania up to the area between Taita hills and mount Kilimanjaro. At this point, some Bantu groups such as the Sukuma, Kuria, Nyamwezi and Haya were left in Tanzania.
  • That which proceeded northwards from the area between Taita hills and mount Kilimanjaro up to Shungwaya.
  • That which proceeded from Shungwaya up to the Kenyan coast. These became referred to as the Eastern Bantu.