The Taita Tribe

The territory of the Taita is in the south-eastern end of Kenya, in the Taita-Taveta district of the Coastal Province.

The tribe has a small population of around 250,000, which includes 10,000 closely related Sagalla people. Other names for this tribe include the Kitaita, Dawida, or Kidabida. There are 6 sub-groups to the tribe.

This tribe has embraced a modern lifestyle and many of their traditional ways and practices have been abandoned.

History of the Taita

Unfortunately, very little is known about the history of the Taita tribe. The language of the Taita (which is called Kitaita) is very similar to Swahili, and has led some to believe that the tribe once had great contact with the caravan trades of the area that came from Tanzania. The British railway eventually came through the same region, which thoroughly disrupted the Taita way of life. Most of the Taita tribe's ways were "modernized" and today very few Taita live in any traditional manner.

Their Culture and Lifestyle

The Taita are a Bantu-speaking tribe, and like others in that group, are mostly farmers. Cattle is still kept, usually as symbols of wealth and to be used for bride payments. They have great agricultural skills, which include sophisticated irrigation systems throughout their lands. With food being in good supply, the population of the Taita has always grown at a fast pace. Their territory is now quite overpopulated. More and more Taita are leaving their lands to live in the cities.

It's likely that their society was very loose and not as structured as other tribes, which contributed to the ease of change to Western ways. They lacked the formal age-sets and other social frameworks that are commonly found in Kenyan tribes.

Related pages:

Tribes in Kenya - Main page
List of Kenya tribes with short descriptions

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