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Religion in Kenya: Wikis


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Traditional African religions

African religions are typically based on natural phenomena and reverence to ancestors. The dead are presumed to merely transform into another state of being and capable of bringing good fortune or calamity to the leaving. Most religious rites are therefore centred on appeasing the dead through sacrifices and proper burial rites. The dead's wishes must also be followed to the letter.

Contrary to popular belief, africans do not worship many gods. The kikuyu worship ngai, who is called nyasaye by the Luos and Luhyas whereas the swahili call him mungu. God therefore has close to 40 names in kenya alone!

The kikuyu believe ngai resides on Mt. Kenya and say their prayers facing the mountain.

The mijikenda have their holy shrines in the forests where they offer sacrifices and pray.


Gospel Revival Centre Church, Ruiru, Kenya

Christianity was first brought to Kenya in the fifteenth century by the Portuguese and spread rapidly during the nineteenth century, when it experienced a revival. Today, the main Christian denominations in Kenya are Protestant confessions, which make up 38% of the country's religious composition. They include the Anglican Church of Kenya, and the Presbyterian, Reformed, Baptist, Lutheran and Pentecostal churches. The Roman Catholic Church represents 33% of the population.


There are a large number of Hindus living in Kenya, approximately 500,000. They are mainly located in the capital Nairobi, and areas such as Mombasa, Eldoret, Kisumu etc.


The Sunni path of Islam is the religion of approximately 7% of the Kenyan population. However, estimates for the percentage of the population that adheres to Islam vary widely.[1] The North Eastern Province is predominantly ethnic Somali and Muslim. The Coast Province also has a significant Muslim population. Nairobi has several mosques and a notable Muslim population.

Religious Shari'ah courts, called Qadi Courts, are given jurisdiction over certain civil matters such as divorce and inheritance under the constitution of Kenya.

Muslims have complained that they are targeted and discriminated against by the government, particularly since the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Nairobi and elsewhere. The religions subsiding in Kenya do not display the distinctions between the 42 cultures. They mainly display the traditions of the larger "umbrella" cultures.

Baha'í Faith

Present in Kenya from 1945, in its brief history the religion grew to an estimated of 308,000 in 2005[2] or about 1% of the population.[3][4] In the 1990s the Bahá'ís in Kenya participated in a nation-wide community health project including vaccinations, maintaining latrines and developing clean water sources.[5]


  1. ^ CIA the World Factbook
  2. ^ Year 2000 Estimated Baha'i statistics from: David Barrett, World Christian Encyclopedia, 2000; Total population statistics, mid-2000 from Population Reference Bureau [1]
  3. ^ "WCC > Member churches > Regions > Africa > Kenya". World Council of Churches. World Council of Churches. 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  4. ^ "Background Note: Kenya". The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affair. 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  5. ^ Community health workers in Kenya stir broad changes Volume 7, Issue 4 March - January 1996
  • History of the World's Religions (12th Edition), Noss S. David: ISBN 978-0136149842


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