By Maina Kiarie
Bantus are the single largest population division in Kenya. The term denotes widely-dispersed but related people that speak south-central Niger-Congo languages. Originally from West-Central Africa, Bantus began a millennium- long series of migrations referred to as the Bantu expansion that first brought them to East Africa about 2000 years ago. The Swahili people descended from Bantu people that intermarried with immigrant Arab and Persian traders.
The Bantu include:
• The Central and Eastern Kenya Bantu;Kikuyu, Meru, Kamba, Embu, Mbeere, Chuka, Tharaka and Mwinbi-Muthambi who inhabit the Central region of the country;
• The Western Kenya region Bantus: The Luhya, Kuria, Kisii and Abasuba who inhabit the Western region;
• The Coastal Kenya region Bantus: The Mijikenda, Taita, Taveta, Malakote, Swahili, Pokomo who live in the Coastal region.
The Bantu ethnic group is the largest ethnic community in Kenya. They make up about 70% of the country’s population. They live mainly in the coastal, central, western and eastern regions of the country.