Kenya is an East African country that holds approximately 50 million inhabitants. It is a home of diverse people and culture and as such a great destination for tourists. Being a third world country, the living standards are much lower than most of Europe’s and American countries. This, in turn, makes it good for retirement or working abroad. There is so much more to this country however and here are some interesting facts about it.
Kenya is an ancient land despite it being only 56 years free of colonization. The Rift Valley, for example, is estimated to be over 20 million years old making Kenya one of the oldest places to have existed in time. Apart from that, the fossils of a number of early man individuals have been found and collected from different parts of Kenya including Turkana and Kariandusi. This goes to show that Kenya was home to man, millions of years before the rest of the world was inhabited. Pretty cool right?
As mentioned above, Kenya was once a colony of a foreign empire; the British. They invaded the country in the 1800s as missionaries, resource exploiters and traders but in the 1920s, the British turned Kenya into their colony. This reign lasted over 40 years with the country finally gaining independence in 1963.
As a result, Kenya picked up many traits from its colonizers. The English language being the most evident example. The country drives on the left, take tea and uses words like ‘boot’ to mean trunk and ‘lift’ for the elevator. Kenya got its name from the Mount Kenya once Mount Kirinyaga. The Europeans were not able to pronounce Kirinyaga efficiently and thus named it according to their version; Kenia then Kenya.
The country’s biggest industry is telecommunications, which accounts for 61% of the country’s gross income. However, Agriculture is still the biggest employer having at least 75% of Kenyan workers in the sector. Tourism is the second-largest source of foreign revenue following agriculture that exports almost all its products. Coffee is the largest export good for agriculture.
Kenya was once unrivalled in terms of wildlife population in Africa. Being home to the big five and thousands of other flora and fauna, Kenya was once the gem of the continent. However, with increased industrialization and population, wildlife numbers continue to suffer thanks to land encroachment and poaching. However, Kenya still boasts of having rare animals such as the African Elephant, Flamingos, White Pelicans, White and Black Rhinos among others.
Kenya hosts 42 different tribes and over 60 languages in its borders. This is to show that the country holds an interesting mix of culture, traditions and beliefs. The former list can be seen in the song, food, and clothing that the different people use to express themselves.
Despite or thanks to this large diversification, Kenya is one of the most peaceful countries in Africa. Apart from the 2007 ethnic clashes, the country stays clear of civil wars and threats. It is in fact home to refugees from neighbouring countries including South Sudan, Congo, Rwanda and Somalia.
Kenya is a predominantly Christian country with 85% of its population being either Catholic or Protestant. The protestant banner, however, carries hundreds of smaller groups and organizations including ethnic-based sects. Muslims make around 12% and the remainder consists of Hindus, Bahai’s and other beliefs.
Kenya is not 100% black Africans as believed by most of the world. Kenya has been home to different races of people including Arabs, Indians and Europeans for decades thanks to the trading activities that have happened along the Kenyan coast. Although Black Kenyans make 90%, there is still a significant number of AfroAsians, AfroEuropeans and individuals of mixed races. In fact, Kenyan Indians are recognized as a tribe in Kenya.
Kenya has two official languages, Swahili and English. While the colonizers brought about English, Swahili developed as a lingua franca between the Bantu and Arabs who traded with each other for centuries pre-colonialism. Swahili has words borrowed from the Bantu language, Arab, and other Middle Eastern languages. Sheng is also a significant language, especially to the youth. It is a slang and lingua franca in its own rights as well.