The Aembu or Embu people are one of the 43 ethnic organizations present in Kenya. They are a fascinating branch of the Bantu that is closely related to the Kikuyu, Meru and Mbeere tribes, all residing in and around Central Kenya. Here is a brief introduction to this small but powerful community.
They reside on windward Mt. Kenya
The Embu people can be found in large concentrations on the windward slopes of Mt. Kenya. Their folklore explains that they made the mountain slopes their home after being pushed out of the coastal area where they originally dwelled.
They are a small group
The total number of Embu people is approximately 650,000, which is not even a quarter of their Kikuyu counterparts. The Embu have remained small in number because of high rates of intermarriages and absorption into other communities including the Kikuyu, Meru and Mbeere.
They depend on agriculture
Although education has allowed for other options, most Embu people rely on Agriculture. They are both crop farmers and livestock keepers, with each homestead having at least one of the two. Major crops grown in Embu include bananas, arrowroots, beans, millet and sorghum. The dependency on agriculture is highly attributed to the fact that Embu County hardly experiences drought or famine.
They have a strong culture and traditions
The Embu people, being a small community, have been able to hold tightly to their traditions and customs. They have very high regard for the elderly, and all people shun any form of disrespect. Rural Embu, like the Meru, have a council of elders who help in solving community problems and giving advice and guidance where needed. An Embu bride is only given away after the groom has paid dowry. Failure to follow this custom could lead to a cursed and sometimes childless marriage.
They occupy the richest lands
The Embu district and county at large is ranked the richest in Kenya. This is inclusive of natural and aesthetic resources. Embu district has preserved nature and wildlife and limited amounts of air pollution making life in this area most conducive than most. In fact, scientific research showed that the atmosphere in Embu District is so good that it boosts the immune system and increases life expectancy. As such, many Kenyan athletes train in the Embu highlands prior to big races. Hunger and poverty are also low in the Embu community thanks to the abundance of food and communal way of life.