Kikuyu culture is the Kikuyu tribe’s way of life, the largest ethnic group of the Kenya people.
There are still some traditional beliefs and customs widely practiced by the Kikuyu today. This is evidenced in the food, language, and marriage rituals among others.
It’s hard, to identify the Kikuyu by how they dress, unlike the Turkana, Maasai, Samburu and some other tribes.
The Kikuyu traditional culture comes alive as I join a group of German tourists on their visit to the Riuki Cultural Centre on this significant Sunday morning.
I arrive at 8:30am and on entering the main compound, I meet two gentlemen sitting by a fireside (hearth) dressed in kikuyu traditional costumes.
One is Dr. Kinuthia Njoroge the founder of the centre with an elderly man, who’s part of the Riuki community.
On the visitors’ arrival, we walk to meet them away from the main homestead.
Dr. Njoroge and the centre's manager welcome the guests and after the introductions from both parties, the learning tour begins.
The centre’s manager is our guide of the day, he narrates about the early life of a Kikuyu nucleus family.
This begins with the symbolic items at the entrance, Kikuyu generosity is shown by the travelers’ granary which stands next to the entrance.
We learn of some of the food crops growing on either side of the pathway that leads to the main homestead area.
On reaching the main homestead we find elders sitting by the fireside. Here we get a taste of Muratina (traditional Kikuyu brew).
The tour continues with more of the rural life.
The community demonstrates preparations of Muratina and porridge. We also taste the porridge which is served in calabashes.
The guests participate in some of the preparation activities after seeing how it’s done.
The activities in the huts of the man and one of his wives end up with one of the guests playing a part of being the man or wife.
Whereas there are many ways of learning, interacting, and experiencing Kikuyu culture, a visit to Riuki Cultural Centre is an opportunity for you to sample the rich history of Kikuyu traditions and customs.
Set at the centre of a Kikuyu (Gikuyu) homestead as it were in the ancient days.
It depicts traditional Kikuyu rural life, though in a modern setting since much of the landscape has changed with time.
The centre was opened in 1988 and has since been a boon to Kenya students, Kenyan cultural heritage enthusiasts and tourists alike. It’s run by a community group that promotes the various aspects of this African culture.
Riuki Cultural Centre is about 30 Kilometers from Nairobi city into the rural Kiambu (Kikuyu land) that neighbors Nairobi city.
The different programs differ in time length, depending on what sort of experience you are seeking. This can take you a few hours, a full day or even a week or more.
We were treated to Kenya coffee and tea with sweet potatoes, arrow roots and other Kikuyu traditional food at the end of the guided tour.
This was crowned with a Kikuyu (African) dance.
As I left Riuki Cultural Centre I realized how much I learnt of this Kikuyu culture traditions and customs.