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Taita people

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Taita people by Kenyans247(1): Thu Dec 2019 04:22pm
The Taita people (the Wataita or Wadawida) are a Kenyan ethnic group located in the Taita-Taveta County.[2] They speak Kidawida which belongs to the Bantu languages. The West-Bantu moved to the area of the Taita-Taveta County first approximately in 1000-1300.[3]

The Taita people migrated to Kenya through Tanzania. They migrated to Kenya in five groups each settling at different places in the present Taita-Taveta District in Kenya. While settling in these areas the Taita-speaking people interacted with other communities or tribes particularly the Taveta, the Pare of Tanzania, and the Maasai.

There are subgroups or subtribes of Taita. They can be divided into Wadawida who traditionally lived around the Dawida, the Wasagalla who lived around the Saghalla and the Wakasighau who lived around the Kasighau massif of the Taita Hills. The Saghalla people speak Kisaghala which is much closer to Kigiriama or Mijikenda (nine tribes who speak almost same language). The Kasighau are more closer to the Pare and Chagga of Tanzania but are a Taita-speaking people.

Traditionally the Taita tribe consisted of lineages/clans (vichuku; singular kichuku). Each lineage occupied its own territorial area of the hills.[4] These lineages were autonomous political units and before colonialism there did not develop an idea or a consciousness of a unified Taita tribe.[5]

While some cultural traits among the Saghala, Kasighau and Dawida were shared, like the skull "burials" in caves and rock shelters, there were small variations among the Dawida and the Saghalla. While the Dawida only kept the skulls of old men above seventy years, the Saghala kept women and children skulls as well as the men. In some parts of Saghala they had places where they kept skulls of any other communities that died in their territory.

There were also other traditions such as the secret cult of the Wabasi. While the origin of this tradition is not very much known it thrived in Taita. The Wabasi were a feared group of people (cult) in Taita. Anybody who joined the Wabasi cult can not be buried by a non-Abasi (singular). They had their sacred forests and meeting places.

Mwangeka, a legendary figure for the Taitas, resisted the British colonists from approaching the lands of the Wataita.

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