Socio-political organization of the Kenya Bantu during the pre-colonial period


  • They were divided into clans, with the clan as the basic unit in the community.
  • They practised circumcision.
  • They believed in the existence of a supernatural being: God.

  • Diviners and medicine people were highly valued. Some communities had seers.
  • They had rituals that marked different stages of life, e.g. birth, naming, circumcision, marriage and death.
  • They had a regimental (Age-Set) system. circumcision formed the basis for an age-set and age-grade system.


  •  They were divided into clans, each with a clan head.
  • They had councils of elders, who settled disputes and presided over ceremonies.
  • Some like the Wanga were centralized under monarchs. The Wanga was led by a King (Nabongo).
  • Some, like the Mijikenda, lived in fortified villages.

  • They were organized into Age-sets and age grades.
  • They had warriors chosen from the Age-sets to defend the community or enrich it through cattle raids on their neighbours.