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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Masai and Kikuyu: an historical analysis of culture transmission
Author:Lawren, W.L.
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic term:Kenya
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/180145
Abstract:There have been only two attempts to establish a hypothesis or series of hypotheses while might explain the tendency of the Bantu tribes of Kenya and Tanzania to borrow cultural practices and organizational features from their 'Nilo-Hamitic' neighbours. One of these attempts, by M.J. Herskovits ('Cattle comlex in East Africa', 1926) tends to be synchronic in its approach. The other, by R. LeVine and W. Sangree ('The diffusion of age-group organization in East Africa', 1962) makes an effort to see borrowing as a phenomenon which is conditioned by history. The tentative history of relations between the Bantu Kikuyu and the 'Nilo-Hamitic' Masai suggests that both these theories err. Borrowing went on almost without interruption since 1750 when Masai and Kikuyu first met. The actual nature of that borrowing was very different from the process which Herskovits imagined. Rather than being influenced by the way in which cattle functioned in Masai society, the Kikuyu were much impressed with the Masai as militarists: the Kikuyu borrowed far more from the Masai military system than from anything relating to cattle. Notes.