Facing Mount Kenya: The Traditional Life of the Gikuyu

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African Books Collective, Dec 29, 1978 - Social Science - 260 pages
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Facing Mount Kenya, first published in 1938, is a monograph on the life and customs of the Gikuyu people of central Kenya prior to their contact with Europeans. It is unique in anthropological literature for it gives an account of the social institutions and religious rites of an African people, permeated by the emotions that give to customs and observances their meaning. It is characterised by both insight and a tinge of romanticism. The author, proud of his African blood and ways of thought, takes the reader through a thorough and clear picture of Gikuyu life and customs, painting an almost utopian picture of their social norms and the sophisticated codes by which all aspects of the society were governed. This book is one of a kind, capturing and documenting traditions fast disappearing. It is therefore a must-read for all who want to learn about African culture.

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Chapter 1 Tribal Origin and Kinship System
Chapter 2 The Gikuyu System of Land Tenure
Chapter 3 Economic Life
Chapter 4 Industries
Chapter 5 System of Education
Chapter 6 Initiation of Boys and Girls
Chapter 7 Sex Life among Young People
Chapter 8 Marriage System
Chapter 10 Gikuyu Religion Ancestor Worship and Sacrificial Practices
Chapter 11 The New Religion in East Africa
Chapter 12 Magical and Medical Practices
Chapter 13 Conclusion
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Chapter 9 The Gikuyu System of Government

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About the author (1978)

Jomo Kenyatta was born in 1889 in Gatundu of Kiambu County in Kenya. As a boy, Kenyatta assisted his grandfather, who was a medicine man. This greatly contributed to his interest in Gikuyu culture and customs. He received his preliminary education at the Scottish Mission Centre at Thogoto, Kiambu. He also received elementary technical education at the same institution. In the 1930s he studied Anthropology at the London School of Economics. His first work was on a monthly Gikuyu journal called Muigwithania ("One Who Reconciles") first published in May 1928. Jomo Kenyatta was among the foremost leaders of African nationalism and he became Kenya's first president. He died on 22 August 1978 at the age of 89 years.

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