Mijikenda language

Mijikenda is a Bantu dialect cluster spoken along the coast of East Africa, mostly in Kenya, where there are 1.9 million speakers (2009 census) but also in Tanzania, where there are 100,000 speakers. The name Mijikenda means "the nine settlements" or "the nine communities" and refers to the multiple language communities that make up the group.[4] An older, derogatory term for the group is Nyika which refers to the "dry and bushy country" along the coast.[4]

Native toKenya, Tanzania
RegionMombasa and Kwale districts in Kenya; Muheza and Tanga districts in Tanzania
EthnicityMijikenda, Chonyi, Digo, Giryama, Jibana, Duruma, Kambe, Kauma, Ribe, Rabai
Native speakers
1.9 million (2009 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
coh – Chonyi
dig – Digo
dug – Duruma
nyf – Giryama
seg – Segeju


The New Updated Guthrie List from 2009[5] lists the following varieties and Guthrie codes as part of the Mijikenda cluster:

  • E72 – North Mijikenda (Nyika)
    • E72a – Giryama [nyf]
    • E72b – Kauma
    • E73c – Chonyi [coh]
    • E73d – Duruma [dug]
    • E73e – Rabai
    • E73F – Jibana
    • E72G – Kambe
    • E72H – Ribe
  • E73-732 – South Mijikenda
    • E73 – Digo [dig]
    • E731 – Segeju [seg]
    • E732 – Degere

The Degere are former hunter-gatherers like the Cushitic Waata, and are said to have once spoken a Cushitic language.

The Ethnologue[6] lists the following variety groupings:

  • [coh] – Chonyi, Jibana
  • [dug] – Duruma
  • [dig] – Digo
  • [nyf] – Giryama, Ribe, Kambe, Chwaka, Rabai, Kauma
  • [seg] – Segeju

Ethnologue's 'Duruma' may refer to the same thing as Maho's 'Degere', as the Degere are variously reported to speak Duruma, Digo, or a similar dialect of their own.


Clicks have been reported in ideophones from two dialects of Mijikenda: Digo and Duruma. (It is not known if they occur in the others.) These are tsya! /ʇ̃ǎ/ 'scram!' and /ʇ̃akule/ 'minute'. It is not known if these have any connection with the neighbouring Cushitic language Dahalo.


  1. ^ Chonyi at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Digo at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Duruma at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Giryama at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Segeju at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Mijikenda". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  4. ^ a b Heine, Bernd; Möhlig, Wilhelm J.G. (1980). Language and Dialect Atlas of Kenya vol 1. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag. pp. 17–22. ISBN 3-496-00144-5.
  5. ^ Maho, Jouni Filip. "New Updated Guthrie List" (PDF).
  6. ^ "Ethnologue".

Duruma is a settlement in Kenya's Kwale County.

Duruma is the local dialect of Mijikenda language.

Johannes Rebmann

Johannes Rebmann (January 16, 1820 – October 4, 1876) was a German missionary and explorer credited with feats including being the first European, along with his colleague Johann Ludwig Krapf, to enter Africa from the Indian Ocean coast. In addition, he was the first European to find Kilimanjaro. News of Rebmann's discovery was published in the Church Missionary Intelligencer in May 1849, but disregarded as mere fantasy for the next twelve years. The Geographical Society of London held that snow could not possibly occur let alone persist in such latitudes and considered the report to be the hallucination of a malaria-stricken missionary. It was only in 1861 that researchers began their efforts to measure Kilimanjaro. Expeditions to Tanzania between 1861 and 1865, led by the German Baron Karl Klaus von der Decken, confirmed Rebmann’s report. Together with his colleague Johann Ludwig Krapf he also discovered Mt. Kenya. Their work there is also thought to have had effects on future African expeditions by Europeans, including the exploits of Sir Richard Burton, John Hanning Speke, and David Livingstone. After losing most of his eyesight and entering into a brief marriage, he died of pneumonia.


Mijikenda may refer to:

Mijikenda peoples

Mijikenda language

Mijikenda peoples

Mijikenda ("the Nine Tribes") are a group of nine related Bantu ethnic groups inhabiting the coast of Kenya, between the Sabaki and the Umba rivers, in an area stretching from the border with Tanzania in the south to the border near Somalia in the north. Archaeologist Chapuruka Kusimba contends that the Mijikenda formerly resided in coastal cities, but later settled in Kenya's hinterlands to avoid submission to dominant Portuguese forces that were then in control. Historically, these Mijikenda ethnic groups have been called the Nyika or Nika by outsiders. It is a derogatory term meaning "bush people."

The nine Ethnic groups that make up the Mijikenda peoples are the Chonyi, Kambe, Duruma, Kauma, Ribe, Rabai, Jibana, and Giriama. They are the northern Mijikenda while the Digo are southern Mijikenda. the Digo are also found in Tanzania due to their proximity to the common border.

Palm wine

Palm wine is an alcoholic beverage created from the sap of various species of palm tree such as the palmyra, date palms, and coconut palms. It is known by various names in different regions and is common in various parts of Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, South America, and Micronesia.

Palm wine production by smallholders and individual farmers may promote conservation as palm trees become a source of regular household income that may economically be worth more than the value of timber sold.Palm wine is known as matango, mbuh, tumbu liquor, white stuff in Cameroon; emu, nkwu, in Nigeria; poyo in Sierra Leone, nsamba in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; "Manjenvo" in Cabinda Angola; nsafufuo in Ghana; "Taadi" in North India,sendi in Kannada,"Thati Kallu" (కల్లు) in Telugu, "Kallu" (கள்ளு) and "Kallu" (കള്ള്) in Tamil and Malayalam respectively; Htan Yay (ထန်းရည်) in Myanmar; and Toddy in Malaysia; mnazi in the Mijikenda language of Kenya; bahar (Kadazan-Dusun) and goribon (Rungus) in Sabah, Borneo; vino de coyol in Central America; tuba in the Marianas; and tubâ in the Philippines and Mexico as well as in Borneo. On the island of Leyte in the central Philippines, the red tubâ is aged with the tan bark for up to six months to two years, until it gets dark red and tapping its glass container gives off a deep hollow sound. This type of tubâ is called bahal (for tubâ aged this way for up to six months) and bahalina (for tubâ aged thus for up to a year or more). Toddy is also consumed in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, where in Sri Lanka it is known as thal ra (තල් රා), kithul ra ගල් රා), or pol ra (පොල් රා) according to the plant used to make toddy.

Swahili people

The Swahili people (or Waswahili) are an ethnic and cultural group inhabiting East Africa. Members primarily reside on the Swahili coast, in an area encompassing the Zanzibar archipelago, littoral Kenya, the Tanzania seaboard, and northern Mozambique. The name Swahili is derived from Arabic: سواحل‎, romanized: Sawāhil, lit. 'coasts'. The Swahili speak the Swahili language, which belongs to the Bantu branch of the Niger-Congo family.

Taita Cushitic languages

Taita Cushitic is an extinct pair of South Cushitic languages, spoken by Cushitic peoples inhabiting the Taita Hills of Kenya, before they were assimilated into the Bantu population. Evidence for the languages is primarily South Cushitic loanwords in the Bantu languages Dawida and Saghala (which are sometimes grouped together as the Taita language), as well as oral traditions of the Dawida and Saghala.

Official languages
Sign languages
Urban languages


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