International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Pre-Colonial Traditional Organization of The People of Vihiga and Their Early Response to Friends’ African Mission’s Educational Initiatives in Kenya
Beatrice A. Namatsi

This paper describes the pre-colonial traditional organization of the people around Kaimosi, in Vihiga District Kenya, in terms of religion, and socio-economic organization. The paper also deals with the nature of early education in the area, the relationship that existed among Friends African Mission schools and lastly, the educational developments at Kaimosi Girls and Chavakali High Schools. Being a historical study, the historical method of inquiry into the past was adopted. Primary sources of data consulted included oral testimonies of actual participants or witnesses of events in Vihiga District. Other primary sources used were archival documents either personal or institutional such as correspondences, photographs, mission publications, minutes of meetings and colonial government annual reports. The main secondary sources utilized were published and unpublished articles and books. Prior to the coming of Europeans, the local community had a religious structure. One of the key elements of kinship structure among the Abaluyia was the family. Traditional education was largely informal since in most cases, there were no definite institutions such as schools. Information was mainly disseminated orally from acknowledged traditional authorities to the target audience. Learning was not systematized by adherence to a specific curriculum. Individuals simply learned by experience in the course of their interaction with members of the community and the physical environment. Every adult played the role of a teacher. Content grew out of the actual physical and social situation of the learner which made it relevant and meaningful. Thus education was a community responsibility. One of the chief responsibilities of adults was to provide the learning situation and the guidance necessary while children, on the other hand, were there to acquire the essential knowledge, responsibility, skills, attitudes and values from the learning environment be it physical, social or spiritual. There was a lot that children learned by listening to myths, legends, folk tales proverbs, riddles, folk songs, rhymes and other aspects of oral literature. Besides promoting mental development, oral literature was entertaining and it was a form of pass time. Then there were social ceremonies which gave children opportunities to learn about the social organization of the clan, the general mode of living, some aspects of tribal culture, customs and the laws that governed the way of life including taboos, religious beliefs and superstitions.

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