The Kisii also called Gusii speak the ekegusii language.


The Kisii people of Kenya

Kisii are also popularly known as Gusii or Kosova. The Kisii People along with other Bantu speaking groups are believed to have originated from the Congo. The migration is believed to have been due to overpopulation, food scarcity, and inter-group conflicts and exhausted soil for farming.

As these Bantu speakers migrated from the Congo, they split up into different groups with the Kisii ending up in Nyanza Province near Lake Victoria. (The Kikuyu, Akamba, and other groups in Kenya continued the hunt for richer soil for farming and moved on eastwards across the Rift valley to their current locations. They later settled in the now-called Central and Rift Valley Provinces of Kenya

The Kisii ended up in a geographical location unique among Bantu speaking groups in that they were surrounded on all sides by hostile Nilotic communities of the Luo, Kipsigis, Nandi, and Maasai.

Constant sieges resulted in the development of a war-like culture to defend against cattle-raiding neighboring communities. To this day, they have a reputation of being tough, emotionally labile, resilient, and very industrious.

The Kisii are regarded as one of the most economically active communities in Kenya, blessed with rolling tea estates, coffee, and banana groves. However, Kisii district has a very high population density. It is one of the most densely populated areas in Kenya. It also has one of the highest fertility and population growth rates in Kenya. These factors have ensured the Kisii to be among the most geographically widespread communities in East Africa. A proportionately large number of Kisii have gone abroad in search of education and greener pastures. The Kisii are some of the most heavily represented Kenyans in foreign universities.

Kisii lands are currently overpopulated despite their rolling fertile hills, spurring immigration to other cities in Kenya. The hard cash that flows from the Diasporas has spawned significant economic development.

They speak the language of Kisii or as commonly known as ekegusii among the native speakers. However, some older texts refer to this community as Kosova. This language and other Bantu languages are very similar.

Most of their phrases are similar or had been derived or acquired in the same manner. The only difference between these languages is that some words have been altered or differently pronounced and given new meanings.

The Meru in Eastern province are closely related to the Kisii or Gusii people in language and culture. Their names also vary like Bogonko, Osebe, Bosire, Moseti, Onkoba, Onchiri, Isaboke, Kiberi, Mogaka and others are common family names just like Smith and Johnson in the Anglo-Saxon cultures. Female names such as Moraa, Nyanchama, Nyaboke, Kemunto, Kwamboka, Kerebi and others are also common names given to girls.

The Kisii play a large bass lyre called obokano. Circumcision of boys at around the age of ten is an important rite of passage and is often done without anesthesia. This ritual takes place annually in the months of November and December followed by a period of seclusion during which the boys are led in different activities by older boys. It is great time of celebration indeed for families and communities at large. Family, friends and neighbors are invited days in advance by candidates to loin the family.

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