I read in a post of how Kenyans didn’t own to their tribes much that if and when they are asked “What tribe are you?”they answered “I am Kenyan” they didn’t actually want to reveal their identity in the lines of tribes in fear of being judged and placed under the typical stereotypical lines that normally come with being a certain tribe.
You ask me “what tribe I’m I from?” and I would confidently say “I am Kenyan” not because I don’t want to take pride in whatever biological tribe that claims me but because a tribe for is nothing more than a five letter word meant to bring destruction and unity all at the same time for the same kind of people.
I mean what rules state what tribe you are from? Is it the tribe that you grew from? The tribe’s language you can fluently speak? Or the tribe your father comes from considering Kenyan is a patriarchal country. Is it the tribe your mother comes from or the tribe you’re most likely to shema English words? Is it the tribe most of your family relatives are from? The tribe your body anatomy features resemble most? The tribe both of you names are from? I mean what guidelines are there to determine what tribe you are from?
In this era of intermarriages ,what are the odds you will get a clean uncontaminated tribe! Take me for example, my name is Wanza Andengah-most of you might actually not get it but I hold two different names from different tribes-Luhya and Kamba…YES Wanza Is actually Kamba and not Kikuyu. My father is Luyha and my mother is Kamba and as much as I should be more conversant with the patriarchal side I can only manage the simple and over used pleasantries, Kamba however I can speak a few words better than actually Luyha. This I attribute to its resemblance to the community I have been brought up in all my life-Kikuyu.I speak and understand more Kikuyu than I do any of my biological tribes. My immediate sister on the other hand is named to the luyha decent-Asiko Andengah, Akhaya Mwanaidi Andengah and Syombua Andengah. As you have seen the common name there is Andengah-that being our family name. Take a look at the second name from Akhaya which is luyha– Mwanaidi –is actually a name derived from one of the coastal communities(I can’t quite remember which but I remember the family stories from the coast ). This is the aunty to my grandmother who married a Luo and brought my dad and his brothers up all having different names from different decents and tribes. So if you were to put my external family together, it would consist majority of Luo and Luyha’s names, however, they all know very little of the Luo tribe and not so fluent Luyha either! My mum on the other side has a decent of Taita and Kamba and know more of Kamba than actually Taita which is the patriarchal tribe! Infact I don’t even know a Taita word because my mum father died when she was young and she lived with the mother since then so anybody who came in later dwelled on the Kamba which became the native language for my mother, her siblings and immediate bloodline.
This might not actually apply to direct blood connection but if you look deep into the family all my father’s siblings have married or been married from a different communities-kikuyu, Luo, Giriama and Luyha, my mum’s side-Kikuyu, Maasai, German, Kamba and Kisii. So imagine what language we speak when we go for a simple family get together!
A few years back during the last national conflicts that preceded the elections, my father and two of my sisters had gone to visit his mother in Kakamega, Asiko and Akhaya and Ashisoma- all luyha names. On their trip back, the conflicts had relatively increased to a point where there were roadblocks put in place in the Kisumu Nairobi highway-this is the normal route we use to come back to Nairobi-our Nairobi being Kabete(a Kikuyu’s native land).As any vehicle theirs was stopped and they were required to remove their ID’s and speak the required language-luyha or luo atleast two to three words. The men were inquest of “kikuyu blood” that’s what they said. Luckily my family members were not either kikuyu blood or Kamba for that matter-at least at the point in time and they knew the pleasantries! But imagine if I was to have travelled with them, maybe I wouldn’t be writing this because my name-Wanza would have betrayed me to the panga in the assumption of being part of the “other blood”! That I did not belong to! Better yet I know not of its customs, traditions or even the language itself, the same would apply to luyha or kikuyu or any other native language for that matter.
So you ask me what tribe I’m I and I cannot really give you a CLEAR answer but say I am Kenyan. I have all tribes in me, I believe in what makes us Kenyans and not what breaks us. I believe in the many bloodlines that run through my veins because if not Kenyan, what else would you have me be?