(i)The meaning of life and its wholeness in the traditional African society

  • In TAS, God is the source of life.
  • Life is a rhythm which recycles itself.
  • There are several dimensions of life i.e.
  • Physical dimensions.
  • Social dimension.
  • Spiritual dimension.
  • Environmental dimension.
  • Physical dimension of life refers to the material state of human beings.
  • Social dimensions comprises of relation of living with others in a community.
  • Spiritual dimensions link human beings with spiritual power e.g. God, spirits andAncestors.
  • Environmental dimension of life is the relation between the physical environment and humans.
  • Life is enhanced through observance of rituals, taboos and regulations.
  • Life is promoted through transitional stages e.g. birth, initiation, marriage anddeath.
  • It is perpetuated through marriage for the continuation of the community.
  • Death transforms an individual from physical life to the spiritual one.

(ii). The African concept of community and kinship system

(a)Meaning of a community

  • A community is a group of people occupying one geographical location and guided by common values.
  •  An African community consists of the living, living-dead and the yet to be born.
  • Each community is governed by specific rules, regulations and traditions.
  • Survival of the community depends on God and other spiritual powers.
  • A community believes that it is God who created the first human being.
  • God gave them a place to settle in and responsibilities to fulfill.
  • Leadership is provided by heads of families, elders and religious specialists.
  • Social structure of the community comprises family units which form a clan, and several clans make a community.
  • Members are expected to show concern for one another and foster the commongood.
  • The community promotes a sense of belonging and identity for its members thus making individuals feel secure.

(b)African concept of Kinship

  • Kinship refers to relationship between people through blood, marriage oradoption.
  • Kinship ties are strong bonds that exist among community members.
  • Those related by blood have common ancestors.  They feel a strong bond towards each other because they are tied by kinship relationships to one another.

Importance of kinship ties to TAS

  1. They determine how members relate to one another.
    1. They bond together the entire life of a community i.e. the living, the living dead, the unborn.
    1. They assist the people to live together in peace and harmony.
    1. They provide a sense of security to all members at all times.
    1. They regulate marital customs, rules and regulations.
    1. They give an individual a deep sense of belonging identity.
    1. They enable people to face hardship together.
    1. They safeguard the communities’ traditions and customs.
    1. They enhance unity among community members.
    1. They determine punishment for the offenders.


They include;

(i) Political ties.

  • Power and authority is exercised and shared among clan leaders and elders.
  • This enhances a peaceful co-existence among community members.

(ii)Communal ownership of property.

  • Land and other resources are owned by community.

(iii)Division of labour.

  • Done according to age, gender and social status.
  • Ensures that all members participate in the activities of the community.

(iv)Communal worship.

  • All members are to pray and worship together and during times of crisis e.g. when there is a disaster, epidemic or serious sickness, people gather to offer sacrifices toGod and ancestors/ spirits in order to appease them.
  • Common beliefs about God and spirits are passed on from one generation toanother and are held dearly.
  • Members of the community try to live in harmony and peace with the departedand unborn.
  • Every activity in life has a religious dimension.


  • Strengthens and fosters closer ties among different families.
  • Exchange of gifts is a sign of friendship, acceptance and mutual responsibility.

(vi)Leisure activities.

  • People come together to sing, dance and be entertained.
  • In TAC leisure is integrated with other activities although after work, people rest and share jokes.
  • In the evening, men are entertained by the youth.
  • Elders correct the youth accordingly and identify talents among performers.
  • Beer-drinking parties are forms of leisure activities.
  • During leisure activities people discuss family and community affairs.


  • The birth of children cements relationships, because in some communities, marriage is not complete without children.

(viii)Rites of passage.

  • Ceremonies marking birth, naming and initiation and bring families and community members together andcreate a source of unity and collective responsibility.

(ix)Observation of taboos.

  • Guides individuals in moral behaviour and maintains discipline and harmony.

(x)Rules and regulations.

  • Rules dictate and govern the roles and duties of all members in the community depending on age, gender and social status.
  • Breaking of rules results to punishment.
  • Elders maintain law and order by settling disputes and reminding members of what is expected of them.

(xi)Belief of a common ancestry.

  • This promotes a sense of brotherhood among members of the community.

(xii) Sharing.

  • Genuine concern for each individual within the nuclear and extended family is common.
  • Cooking and eating is done at household level and all share in feasting and rejoicing in some communities.
  • Marriage gifts such as animals and foodstuffs are shared among relatives of the bride’s family.
  • Land in T.A.C is communally owned and is used collectively by members of a given clan or family.
  • People work together on such land and share the proceeds.
  • This creates a strong bond of unity among the people.

(xiii)Social norms.

  • People grow in T.A.C. knowing what is right and wrong.
  • Rules and regulations are established to govern and regulatepeople’s behavior.
  • Everyone understands the virtues they should uphold i.e. Friendship, love, honesty, courage, bravery, compassion among others.
  • People are discouraged from developing vices i.e. cheating, theft, selfishness, greed and dishonesty.
  • -Social norms keep the community from disintegrating and they provide peace to the individual and society.


  • Are important events in a person’s life beginning from conception until after death.
  • They are marked by celebrations.
  • Most of the ceremonies are religious and have the following common characteristics;
  • All of them involvedseparation/ seclusion.  In death one is forever separated from the community.
  • Transitions.  An individual undergoes some physical, social and emotional changes.
  • Incorporation.  One is brought back to the community after seclusion and is given full rights in his/her new status.  An individual becomes an active participant inthe community.  In death he/she is incorporated in the spirit world.

Rites of passage are:

  • Birth and naming
  • Initiation
  • Marriage
  • Death



  • It is the 1st stage of life; the whole community is involved including the ancestors.
  •  Having children is considered so important that a barren woman is despised and made an outcast.
  • From the time of pregnancy, there isrejoicing in the community.  The expectant mother is accorded a lot of respect and is given special treatment including;
  1. Eating special food and avoiding some i.e. eggs and fatty meat which may make the baby too big hence creating complications during delivery.
  2. Refraining from heavy tasks e.g. splitting firewood, carrying heavy loads.
  3. Refraining from sexual intercourse because pregnancy is believed to make the woman ritually unclean.
  4. Avoiding handling iron tools in the house for fear that such tools may cause injury.
  5. Not speaking to her husband directly but can only do so through an intermediary.
  6. Returning to her home to give birth there and coming back after weaning her baby.
  7. The mother carries protective charms to protect her from people with evil eyes and bad omen such as sorcerers.
  8. The midwives assist the woman in delivery and the sex of the baby is announced i.e. 4 ululations for a boy and 3for a girl.

Rituals observed after child birth


  • The child belonged to the community.
  • The birth of the baby is witnessed by the elderly women who act as midwives.
  • Men are not allowed to go near the delivery place.
  • When the baby arrives, its sex is announced by shouts/ululations.

The rituals observed during childbirth are:

i. The placenta and the umbilical cord are disposed off ceremoniously. i.e.

  1. Thrown into a running stream/river
  2. Dried up and kept for rituals performed later
  3. Carefully buried near the homestead or in uncultivated field/shamba with bananas/cereals.
  4. Hung in the house to symbolize the continuity of life.

It should be noted that these ceremonies are observed so that the womb may remain fertile / to ensure continuity of life.

  1. A purification/cleansing ritual is done on the motherand the child by a medicine man/diviner to prepare the mother for the birth of the next child including ritualistic washing.
  2. Protective rites, performed by the local medicine person.  They are meant to protect the child from evils i.e. magic, malicious spirits, sorcery, witchcraft and evil eyes.
  3. The baby is committed to God for protection and to bring good fortune. An object is tied round the neck,waist, or wrist as a physical sign of the ceremony.
  4. Thanksgiving ceremony performed to show gratitude to God for the safe arrival of the baby.
  1. Prayers offered for continued blessings for both the mother and child
  2. The baby’s hair is shaved after sometime as a sign of purification and newness.  When new hair grows it will signify a new phase of life for the baby.
  3. Mother’s hair was also shaved to show that she has cast off that pregnancy. New hair symbolizes new life.
  4. In some communities the mother and the baby are secluded from the rest of the community, so as to give the mother time to rest.
  5. The whole community celebrates this rite of passage by rejoicing, singing, dancing and bringing gifts to the mother and the child.

The importance of rituals performed during a naming ceremony in Traditional Africa Communities

  1. Bathing of the child sets in the beginning of a new life.
  2. Shaving of the mother and baby’s hair symbolizes a new status.
  3. Choosing of an appropriate name to give to the baby is for identification/ incorporation into the wider community.
  4.  Feeding of the baby symolizes a new life/ growth.
  5. Holding of the baby by members of the community shows concern for it/ shared responsibility.
  6. Saying prayers/ words of blessings for the mother and baby signifies long life.
  7. Slaughtering of an animal signifies thanksgiving.
  8. Feasting is a sign of of joy/ socialism/ welcoming the baby.
  9. Giving presents to the baby and mother is a sign of goodwill.
  10. Wearing of charms signifies protection to the baby and the mother.


The significance of naming includes:

  1. Gives the new born baby an identity.
    1. Indicates that the child is an accepted society member.
    1. Through naming, they show gratitude to God.
    1. Reflects part of the personality of the child.
    1. Naming children after the departed relatives appeases the spirits.
    1. The name can reflect a remembrance of a certain event that was memorable at the time of birth.
    1. Naming customs differ from one community to another.  Some names are chosen before birth others are given immediately they are born, others are named after a few days.
    1. Sometimes children are given more names as they grow.

How names are given to children in T.A.S

  1. Children are named after relatives, e.g.
  2. Grandparents
  3. Uncles
  4. Aunties
  1. According to the time of day, season, and place.
  2. Named after great leaders and heroes.
  3. After important historical events.
  4. Animal names.
  5. Names that reveal physical features.
  6. Religious names i.e. names of God.
  7. Reflect the difficult time the mother experienced in labor.
  8. Names that reveal internal qualities of a child.
  9. Gender of the child.
  10. Parent’s choice.
  11. Twins had special names.
  12. 1st born child of the family could have a special.




  • It is no longer a communal affair.
  • The sex of the child is no-longer announced by ululations.
  • The role of a midwife is no-longer important.
  • The pregnant mother is no-longer secluded.
  • Some rituals are no-longer performed e.g. purifying rituals.
  • Shaving rituals are no longer practiced.
  • Wearing protective charms is no longer a common practice.
  • Some naming patters/models are no longer adhered to.
  • The attitude towards the sex of the child is no longer the same/discriminative.

Metods used to solve the problem of childlessnessin T.A.C

  1. Offering sacrifices to ancestors to appease them.
  2. Seeking the services of a diviner to find out the causes and offer solutions.
  3. Marrying another wife.
  4. Praying for God to reverse the situation.
  5. Allowing the woman to get children with a relative of the husband if the problem is with him.
  6. The couple may adopt children.
  7. Children may be given as a gift to a childless couple by relatives.

Role of birth in naming and inculcating moral values (virtues)

Respect:The mother is respected.  The traditions are respected through performing rituals.

Love:Through the acceptance of the baby.  The parents respect each other.

Care and mutual responsibility:  The mother and the baby are cared for.  Theparents have a responsibility to taking care of the newborn.

Obedience:To the community’s traditions.

Harmony:Is restored between community members i.e. joining the living and the non-living through naming.

Unity:   The people come together to celebrate the birth of a new child.

Patriotism:The people name their children after community heroes.


  • It mainly marks the transition from childhood – adulthood.
  • It prepares someone to face adulthood and gain skills.
  • The different forms of initiation  are:
  • Circumcision.
  • Removal of teeth.
  • Tattooing.
  • Piercing the chin and ears.
  • Clitoridectomy.


  1. Offering sacrifices to ancestors to appease them and bless the initiates.
  2. Blood wasleft to drain on the ground as a connection between the initiates and ancestors.
  3. Seclusion is done during initiation for several reasons that include;
  4. To receive education on;
  5. Human sexuality.
  6. The community’s secrets.
  7. Skills and knowledge.
  8. For healing.
  9. To give time for bonding together.
  10. To be well fed.
  11. Give time to allow preparation for celebrations to welcome them back to the society.
  12. Singing and dancing is done during initiation for the following purposes:
  13. Celebrate the occasion.
  14. Encourage them.
  15. As an act of worship.
  16. Express solidarity.
  17. Praise the heroes.
  18. Mock the cowards.
  19. Gifts and presents were given as a sign of appreciation and congratulation.
  20. Washing and shaving was done so as to:
  21. Shed off the former status.
  22. Cleanse the initiates.
  23. Giving names and wearing new clothes.


  1. To make them full members of a community.
  2. Introduce individuals to the community secrets and traditions.
  3. For them to acquire new life status i.e. adults.
  4. To give them an opportunity to access high responsibilities in life e.g.
  5. Become clan warriors.
  6. Be allowed to marry.
  7. Allowed to own property.
  8. Assume some leadership posts.
  1. Train the initiates to acquire important virtues of courage and endurance.
  2. To be linked with the ancestors through shedding of blood.
  3. For the unity of community members.
  4. Prayers and sacrifices offered are acts of worship.
  5. It is a gate-way to marriage.
  6. Creates a bond of unity and friendship between age mates which is lifelong.

-The three stages they undergo are:

  • Separation
  • Seclusion 
  • Incorporation

The reasons for singing and dancing during initiation ceremonies in Traditional African Communities

  1. The songs inform the participants of the history of the community/ preserving culture/ importance of initiation.
  2. They provide an opportunity for the members to socialise/ welcome ancestors.
  3. It diverts the initiates’ minds from the impending pain.
  4. The songs teach the initiates important moral values.
  5. The songs educate the participants of gender roles/ relationships.
  6. Through singing and dancing members exercise their bodies.
  7. The songs encourage the initiates to face the challenge/ rebuke cowardice.
  8. It exposes those with leadership qualities/ skills/ talents/ singers.
  9. They are used to mark the various stages of the initiation ceremonies.
  10. It is a form of prayer for the initiates/ drive away evil spirits/ invoking spirits.
  11. Singing and dancing is a form of entertainment.



  • The initiates gain respect and they are also expected to showrespect tothe community members.


  • Developed through the initiates keeping the community secrets.
  • Through the initiates becoming clan warriors.

(iii)Endurance and courage.

  • Developed during pain bearing, tolerance and perseverance.


  • Through sharing ideas, food and resources during seclusion.


  • Through the sex education they get.
  • Female cut to reduce sexual desire in women.

(vi)Self control.

  • Through being taught against unhealthy sexual relations.
  • Through pain bearing, endurance, tolerance and perseverance.


  • The community come together to sing and dance.
  • They come together to prepare the celebration.
  • They come together to welcome back the initiates to the community.


Ways in which initiation rites have changed today

  1. Some initiation rites have been abandoned, e.g. removal of teeth and
  2. The rites are less elaborate.
  3. Some communities have adopted initiation rites from others.
  4. The times for intiation have been shipted due to formal education.
  5. Many prefer to go for circumcision in hospitals.
  6. The age of initiation has shifted from adolescent to young children.
  7. It is carried out at family level and not communal level in most cases.
  8. Female genital mutilation (F.G.M) has been outlawed.


  • It T.A.C, marriage is looked upon as sacred and ordained by God.-It is a requirement and an obligation for every normal person to get married and have children

Importance of marriage:

  • Creates new relationship bonds when two families come together and so expand kinship ties.
  • Promotes social status of those involved.
  • Source of wealth due to dowry payment made by the wife’s family.
  • Meeting point of the departed, the living and the yet to be born.
  • Religious obligation through which human life is preserved, propagated and perpetuated since it is sacred.
  • Promotes immortality because parents are remembered by their children when they die.  They perpetuate the name of the family.
  • Gives identity, a sense of belonging and completeness.
  • Allows the individuals to have sex.
  • Gives men and women new roles and responsibilities.
  • It is in marriage that children are born into the community.
  • Communal affair that brings people to work and feast together.
  • Provides security to parents especially in their old age when their children take care of them and inherit their wealth.


  • Creates respect and confidence since it promotes the social status of those involved.
  • Promotes co-operation when two families come together to help sustain it.-Promotes hospitality and sharing when the families visit each other, share food, services             and bride wealth.
  • Brings together the living, the departed and the unborn encouraging unity.
  • When children are named after ancestors and the departed, loyalty and obedience is promoted.
  • It is compulsory for all which creates obedience.
  • Promotes chastity since sex is only allowed in marriage.
  • Encourages self control because adultery is forbidden and couples have to follow all the rules of marriage.
  • Marriage comes with new roles and duties thus promoting responsibility.
  • Those dishonest in marriage are punished; this helps to instill honesty, integrity and faithfulness.
  • The first duty is procreation which calls for love in the upbringing of the children.
  • All have roles to play.  This calls for handwork so that harmony is maintained.


-The last rite of passage.

-In many African communities, it is said to be caused by:

  • Witchcraft                     -Sorcery
  • Curses                – Evil magic
  • Diseases             – Evil spirits
  • Old age              – Breaking of taboos/binding oaths
  • Death is feared and resented.  The dead continue to be part of the family and they are remembered through naming of children after them.
  • The importance of the funeral rite is determined by the status, sex and the age of theperson being buried e.g.
  • Young children and unmarried people are simple and attended by few people
  • For leaders, the rich and heroes in the community it will be elaborate and attended by many people.
  • Normal duties are disrupted on the burial day so as to allow many people to attend such funerals.


  • In some communities, the corpse is washed using water and herbal medicine in order to preserve and send it clean to the spirit world.
  • In some communities, the dead are buried with their belonging e.g. food, animals, bows, arrows.  They believe that the dead will need those things in the spirit world.
  • Pregnant women and children are not allowed to touch or come in close contact with the corpse so that misfortunes do not befall them.
  • -The dead are buried in a carefully selected place in the ancestral land so that the spirits continue to be close to the family.
  • The body is carefully placed in the grave facing an appropriate direction according to the customs of the people.
  • In some communities the bodies are properly dressed before disposal while others e.g. amongthe Abagusii the dead are buried naked in the belief that they will be reborn in the spirit world.
  • -The grave is respected by being protected and made a family shrine particularly in caseswhere the dead were the head of the family.  People avoid walking over the grave.
  • -Before and during burial, the members of the family and all relatives enter a period of mourning.Normal activities are temporarily halted in some communities this period is marked by people smearing their bodies with white clay; others stop washing their bodies, stop eating or refrain from sexual intercourse.
  • During this period there is singing and dancing of mourning songs as a way of expressing sorrow and sending off the departed to the next world.
  • In some communities there is feasting and beer drinking.
  • After burial, close relatives shave their hair as a sign that one of their members has been separated from them and for cleansing impurities. The new hair grown shows that life continues after death.
  • Sacrifices are offered to introduce the deceased to the spirit world.
  • Most communities pour libation to their dead ancestors.
  • In some communities a symbolic fire is lit near the grave and the graveyard is guarded by the mourners.
  • A widow’s inheritance is divided by the husband’s kinsman.


  1. Creates co-operation since the whole community is involved.
    1. All mourners are given food supplied by the family of the deceased or outsiders also help in providing and promoting hospitality and sharing.
    1. Africans are careful to follow all the funeral rites so as to promote obedience.
    1. In some communities, the affected are not supposed to indulge in sexual intercourse encouraging chastity and self control.
    1. Members of the deceased mourn and have to come to terms with their grief promoting perseverance.
    1. By following all the wishes of the dead person, death encourages respect.
    1. The dead body is carefully disposed of to avoid any haunting and the grave is respected promoting respect.
    1. When the society takes care of the widows and orphans, they show love.
    1. Children, pregnant women and witches are not allowed near the corpse and this shows responsibility.

Reasons why death is feared in Traditional African Communities

  1. It disrupts the rhythm of humanactivity/ life.
  2. It is irrevocable/ inescabable.
  3. It brings impurity to the family.
  4. It deprives the community of members.
  5. It involves too many rituals.
  6. It comes unannounced.
  7. Seperates one from the loved ones/ end of life on earth.
  8. Nobody knows about the after liofe.
  9. It may cause misunderstanding in the community.
  10. Death rites reveal people’s characteristics.
  11. It may bring poverty to the family.

Practices in T.A.C that show their belief in life after death

       i.          Naming children after the dead.

     ii.          Invoking the names of the dead during problems./ inviting them to important occasions.

   iii.          Burrying the dead with some property.

   iv.          Offering sacrifices to the dead.

     v.          Pouring libation to the living-dead.

   vi.          Taking care of their graveyards.

 vii.          Fulfillingthe wishes / will of the dead/ carrying out the demands of the dead.

viii.          Talking of the dead as having gone for a walk.

   ix.          Washing the dead body/ oiling/ giving a descent burial to the dead.

   x.        Holding commemoration ceremonies.

   xi.       Burrying the dead in a particular position/ direction/ in ancestral land.   


The religious specialists include:

  1. Medicine people.
    1. Mediums.
    1. Diviners.
    1. Priests.
    1. Rainmakers.
  • Prophets.
    • Seers.
    • Blacksmiths.
    • Elders.

How the Religious specialists acquire their skills

The religious specialits acquire their skills through the following ways depending on their specialisation:

  1. Nheritance.
  2. Apprenticeship.
  3. Dreams and visions.
  4. Being possessed by the spirits.
  5. Receiving a call from God/ ancestors.
  6. Observation of the work of other specialists.

(a)Medicine people

 They are also known as healers, herbalists, traditional doctors.

They perform the following functions;

  • Identify illness and their causes.
  • Identify appropriate treatment and prevention measures for the illnesses.
  • They avert the effects of a curse.
  • Offer sacrifices and prayers to God and ancestors.
  • Prepare charms for protection against witchcraft and evil spirits.
  • Give medicine to increase fertility in both people and animals.
  • Act as counselors, guiding people on all issues of life.

Relevance in modern society

  1. Medical doctors and scientific researchers today work side by side with traditional healers to alleviate human suffering.  Herbs are used to make modern medicine.
    1. Some people still believe that there are some illnesses that cannot be treated in hospitals hence turn to herbalists.
    1. Some people also believe that medicine people who practice magic have the power to change their fate e.g. they are consulted to influence political fortunes, legal matters and enhance academic performance.


  • Are people though who spirits and ancestors communicated with the living.
  • They give the cause, nature and treatment of a disease or misfortune.
  • They reveal messages from the spirit world on behalf of the living.
  • They give information concerning lost articles or theft.  They only acted when they were spirit possessed.

Relevance today

  1. Are not common in Kenya today but they are in the West African countries.
  2. There are people who still believe in the messages revealed through mediums.  However, their role has been eroded by the influence of Christianity.


  • Are people who reveal secret information from the past or the future.
  • -Get their power through inheritance or divine calling.
  • The use divination objects, common sense and insight.
  • Unveil mysteries by interpreting the information received from the spirits.
  • Help the society to solve issues that are difficult for them to understand.
  • The do the work of counselors, judges, advisers, comforters, assurers during crises.
  • They also play the role of priests, seers and fortune tellers.
  • Diviners are still consulted in Kenya today particularly during moments of crises.
  • -They,however, face many challenges:
  • Divination is condemned in the Bible (Deuteronomy 18:10 – 11)
  • Science and technology have further diminished their importance since many mysteries can be explained through science and technology.


  • Are highly respected.
  • Get their power through supernatural endowment and apprenticeship.
  • They observe the behavior of plants, insects and animals.  They study the sky, stars, moon, clouds, wind movement and their body senses to predict weather.
  • They use sacred objects in rainmaking.
  • They act as intermediaries between God, the spirits and human beings.
  • They beseech God either to bring rain when there is a drought or to stop rain when there are floods.
  • Some rainmakers practice as diviners, medicine people, medium and priests.
  • They give offerings and sacrifices to God and pray on behalf of the people.

Functions of Rainmakers

  1. They perform rituals to cause rain.
  2. Have the ability to stop destructive rain.
  3. They predict weather conditions by studying the skies and behaviour of plants and animals.
  4. They preside over religious functions.
  5. They advise the community on both religious and social issues.
  6. They give blessings to the members of the community.
  7. They mediate between people and God.

Relevance today:

  1. Rainmakers are often engaged during public gatherings and other big events to delay the rain until the event is over.
  2. Christianity has eroded people’s believe in rainmakers.
  3. Christians believe that only God is able to resolve a difficult situation.
  4. Meteorological departments now give information on the weather and seasonal changes.


  • Perform religious duties.  They either inherit the position or receive a divine call.
  • Offer sacrifices and offerings and preside over rituals and prayers.
  • Take care of religious places i.e. shrines.
  • They act as judges, advisers and experts in traditional rituals and rules.
  • They pour libation, offer prayers of petition, repentance and thanksgiving to God.
  • They intercede for human beings before God, the spirits and the ancestors.
  • They are made to be in charge of royal graves.
  • They install kings and chiefs.
  • They symbolize God’s presence in the African society.
  • They act as guardians of community knowledge, taboos, religion and oral history.
  • Sometimes they perform rainmaking ceremonies and conduct fertility festivals.
  • They drive away witches, appease spirits, reverse curses and protect people from danger and harm.

Relevance today:

  1. Their roles has been diminished by several influences e.g. Christianity and formal education.
  2. African priests no longer play major religious roles in the community.  Their duties have been replaced by those of religious leaders i.e. bishops, pastors and priests in Christian         churches.
  3. Traditional priests are sometimes invited for national public functions to offer prayers.

(f)Prophets/ seers

  • Prophets are also referred to as seers.
  • A prophet is a person who can foretell the future by revealing visions, dreams or messages from God.
  • They foretell invasions i.e. war, drought or epidemics.
  • They communicate God’s message to the community and predict the will of God.
  • Prophets often play the role of political leaders, diviners, ritual leaders, mediums and legal and moral advisers to the community.
  • They perform religious duties which were beyond priests and medicine people.
  • They receive messages from the ancestors and the spirits through dreams and spirit possession.
  • They carry out cleansing rituals.
  • Tey advise people on religious matters.
  • They pray to God on behalf of the people.
  • They act as judges and preside over disputes.
  • They are guardians of the community’s customs and traditions.
  • They act as the spokesmen of their communities.

Relevance today

  1. People still consult prophets before making important decisions.
  2. Today people prophesy in churches or Christian fellowships through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Many people take their religious leaders as prophets because they act as the conscience of the society to tell the people what God expects from them.


  • Are senior members of the community.
  • In charge of families, villages and clans.
  • Are people who are morally upright.
  • They settle disputes in the community.
  • They are custodians of the community property and decide how it would be shared.
  • They are custodians of the traditional values, customs and history of the people.
  • They offer guidance and counseling to the members of the community.
  • Elders console the community in times of distress i.e. war, famine and other calamities.
  • They are consulted by the individuals before making families decisions.
  • They stipulate the rules and regulations to be followed for the maintenance of law and order.
  • They lead the community during important functions such as the rites of passage and religious ceremonies.

Relevance today:

  1. Elders today help in settling disputes which are too culturally defined for the courts e.g. family rows and land disputes.
  2. Elders have been called by the Kenyan government to help solve land disputes and ethnic clashes.
  3. Elders still carry out rites of passage i.e. initiation.
  4. Elders are useful in maintaining the African culture through oral narratives, songs, poetry, proverbs and riddles.
  5. Elders provide useful information to researchers in History and Anthropology.
  6. They give general guidance to individuals, family and the community as a whole.

Factors that have undermined the status of elders in African Communities today

  1. New government structures where administrative officials have taken over the roles of elders in law maintainance.
  2. Most of the judicial duties have been taken over by the law courts.
  3. Education has brought new values/ ideas and the authority of the elders is no longer regarded with high esteem or is even questioned.
  4. People have migrated to new areas where they do not respect local leaders.
  5. The influence from other religions ( Chritianity and Islam) with their leadership structures; with their adherents respecting their religious leadres more than the community leaders.
  6. Urbanization has undermined the role of of the elders as it becomes difficult for elders to operate as the people come from different backgrounds.
  7. Estern norms/ values which promote individualism.
  8. Schooling where children spend most of their time with teachers depriving them the time to be with elders
  9. Permissiveness in the society has eroded the respect of elders.
  10. Economic factors where the worth of a person is judged by the wealth/ property one possesses.
  11. Political power/ decision making has shifted from the elders to politicians/ political leaders to whom people look upon for leadership.

Factors that have negatively influenced the role of the religious specialists

  1. The influence of Christianity; it associates the practices of these leaders with magic and witchcraft. Christian leaders are also given prominence over the tradtional leaders.
  2. The new government structures and political systems have taken over the roles of traditional leaders.
  3. Formal education is used as a tool in choosing leaders as opposed to age, wisdom and experience used in traditional African communities.
  4. Through migration, people from different cultures mix up and may not recognise local leaders.
  5. Science and technology provides solutions to problems related to weather conditions and medical treatments. This disregards the work of rainmakers and herbalists.
  6. Increased poverty makes some people engage in work of specialists without the necessary skills in their effort to earn a living.


Moral values are acts/deeds that are acceptable or good in the society and they are;


  • This refers to generosity and kindness to guests and strangers in homes.
  • Africans welcomed visitors at any time.  They were treated to plenty of food, drink and entertainment.
  • Today there is a tendency towards individualism especially in the case of those living in urban centers.


-Means being truthful.

-It was taught to children as they grow up to ensure they become dependable people who always tell the truth.


  • Refers to politeness and good manners.
  • -In A.T.S there were rules that guided the behavior of individuals towards others based on age, gender and status of a person.

Tolerance and perseverance

  • Tolerance means to endure somebody/something without complaining.
  • Perseverance is a steady effort to achieve a goal without giving up.
  • People in A.T.S valued these qualities as they aided one to go through hardships courageously.
  • These values were reinforced during initiation.


  • Being true and faithful in supporting somebody or a particular cause.
  • Children are taught values of the community which they are expected to keep and protect.
  • They are taught not to betray the family and friends and always stick together.


  • This is having good sexual morals.
  • Unmarried people were expected to keep their chastity or virginity until marriage while adultery was forbidden for the married.


  • Polite behavior to oneself and others where one recognizes other’s rights and status.
  • Children are taught to recognize the status of their parents, elders and leaders.


  • Caring attitude towards others that leads one to help them.
  • Africans helped one another.


  • A strong feeling of affection towards somebody or something which was expressed inactions in A.T.S.
  • Love is equated with protection, loyalty, co-operation, generosity and hospitality which were important in T.A.S.


  • This is working together for a common purpose.
  • In T.A.S people worked together in all circumstances which made work and life easier for them.
  • In T.A.S, people co-operated to accomplish tasks for the good of all.


  • It is the quality of having strong moral values.
  • People of integrity do not give up on their beliefs and values even in the face of intense pressure.
  • People of integrity are respected and will often be given positions of leadership.

Unity solidarity

  • This is to join together.
  • Africans united in all aspects.



  • An African community consisted of the living, dead and the unborn.
  • Each community had common characteristics such as common ancestors, unique language, a particular geographical area, a culture and distinct social, economic andpolitical structure.           
  • Today, the understanding of community has changed due to such factors as; education, urbanization, migration, natural consciousness and religion.    
  • Urbanization has brought together people of different background.
  • Formal education has promoted new loyalties based on new social status and academic and professional qualifications.
  • New political systems and forms of Government have changed the traditional African community.

Old age and the aged

  • In A.T.C, old people were well taken care of and highly respected.
  • They did light duties e.g. looking after young children while others worked.
  • They were members of the council of elders who settled disputes and were consulted for advice.
  • The elders were custodians of community values, customs and religious beliefs.
  • Today due to urbanization, many elderly people are left alone in the rural areas with no- one to take care of them.
  • Sometimes they end up in homes for the aged or begging on the streets.
  • -Old people are important because they have wealth of knowledge to share.  We should take care of them.


  • Was special and highly valued.
  • It was a source of food for the people and their animals and herbs for medicine.
  • Land was believed to be God given.
  • Land was communal.
  • -There were land allocations to each family for farming.  The men were the guardians of the land.
  • Land was not sold and there were no landless people.
  • Today land is only communally owned in nomadic communities since most of it is individually owned.
  • An individual can buy land and settle anywhere and is not bound to the ancestral land.
  • Land ownership is evidenced by a little deed or land allotment letter issued by the Government.
  • Today, some land is set apart by the government for public use like establishment of game parks, roads, schools, cattle dips and market places.


  • is anything owned or possessed by a person.
  • In A.T.S., property could be individual or communal.
  • Women and children contributed to the accumulations of wealth by working on farms and grazing cattle.
  • Women and children were not allowed to own property.
  • Today, property can be owned by a man/ woman/ child.
  • There are various ways of acquiring wealth other than agriculture and keeping animals.
  • African economies have been influenced greatly by the western money-based economies where money is seen to satisfy or fulfill all needs.

Widows and orphans

  • A widow is a woman whose husband is dead.
  • An orphan is a child whose both parents are dead.
  • In A.T.S., a widow was inherited either by her husband’s brother or cousin to ensure that the late brother’s family would not suffer.
  • A woman not only belonged to her husband but also to his kin.
  • Any of his brothers takes over the household in his absence.
  • The children born after his death were still referred to as his children.
  • A man who inherits the wife takes over all the duties of the dead man e.g. protecting and providing for the family.
  • Today the spread of HIV/AIDS has raised a lot of debate over the practice of widow inheritance.
  • Due to individualism and lose family ties, it has become hard to care for members of the extended family.
  • A child who lost one or both of parents in T.A.C. was easily adopted into the family.
  • Orphans didn’t find it hard surviving because of the strong kinship system.
  • -Widowhood or being orphaned is very painful experiences for the people today.
  • Many widows have found themselves and their children going without food especially if the husband was the only provider.
  • Some children have dropped out of school to take care of their siblings.
  • Many orphans have ended up in the streets for lack of a caretaker.
  • A number of organizations have started to build children homes or orphanages to cater for the orphans especially with HIV/AIDS.


  • In TAC clothes were made from animal skin, bark, feathers, reeds/and sisal.
  • Every community had a way of dressing, depending on the climate in their region and their way of life.
  • Age, gender, status would always determine the type of clothing one wore.
  • Ornaments i.e. bangles, necklaces, anklets and ear plugs/ rings were part of the traditional dress.
  • The Maasai, Turkana and Giriama have to raid for livestock to maintain their traditional dress.
  • Today dress undergoes a lot of change because fashion changes with peoples tastes.
  • Today we have a national costume whose design is base on traditional costumes.


Dowry or bride price

  • This is a gift of property that a groom gives to the bride’s family.
  • Bride price was given in terms of cattle, goats, sheep, and honey and food stuff.
  • Today, the concept of bride price has been commercialized.
  • Sometimes conflicts arise between parents and those intending to marry.
  • Dowry should be used appropriately to cement relationship.


  • Medicine was provided by medicine people who diagnosed and treated sicknesses.
  • Their medicine was in the form of herbs, minerals, powder and seeds and also spiritual.
  • Today, people take the sick to hospitals for proper diagnosis and treatment by qualified medical doctors.
  • Christians also offer prayers for the quick recovery of the sick.


  • This is free time for one to enjoy/ spend.
  • In T.A.C. leisure was integrated in the daily life of the community.
  • People would work and have leisure at the same time e.g. singing while digging.
  • They had leisure in form of festivals and rites which involved singing, eating, drinking          and dancing.
  • Some leisure activities were free of charge and mostly communal.
  • Some leisure activities were specific to certain gender age group.
  • Today leisure is separated from work.
  • People engage in various activities e.g. listening to the radio, watching television, reading magazines or visiting friends.
  • Some leisure acts today are very expensive.
  • Some people misuse their leisure time abusing drugs or engaging in sexual immorality.
  • Some people help the needy visit the sick, do voluntary community and church work during their leisure time.

Revision questions

.     1990 Q 42

         a)  State the significance of the traditional African initiation rites.

         b) Explain the role of the sponsor during tradition African circumcision ceremonies

2.     1991 Q 45

         Give factors that are affecting the traditional African heritage.

3.     1992 Q 46

        Explain reasons why myths are important in traditional African Communities

4.     1992 Q 4a, b

        (a) Discuss how the rites with initiation into adulthood express traditional African beliefs in life after death

(b)  Ways in which ceremonies connected with death stress the importance of solidarity in traditional African communities 

5.     1993 Q 23a, b

        a) Explain ways in which traditional African communities demonstrate their belief in life after death

        b) Explain why expectant mothers are given special treatment in traditional African communities.

6.     1993 Q 5b

         b) Discuss the method of disciplining errant members in traditional African communities.

7.     1994 Q 4a

         Discuss what were some methods used in teaching the truth in traditional African communities.

8.     1994 Q 36

         Give the requirement which a man had to fulfil to become an elder.

9.     1995 Q 36

        Give five reasons why the newly initiated young men lived together in a community for sometime.

10.  1995 Q 4a (pp 2)

           (a) Describe how wealth was acquired in traditional African communities   (5 marks)

11.   1996 Q 12

         State the duties of a traditional African community helped bereaved families   (5marks)

12.     1996 Q 13

            State five ways in which people in the traditional Africa marriage               (5marks)

13.     1996 Q 14

            Give five reasons why courtship was as important aspect of traditional African marriage.                                 (5marks)        

14.     1996 Q 4(pp 2)

           a)          Give reasons why cleansing rituals were performed in traditional African Communities.             (16marks)                  

b)         Explain the factors which promoted harmony in traditional African communities.

15.     1997 Q 14

        Identify five occasions when oaths were administered in traditional African Communities                        (5marks)        

16.     1997 Q 15

         List occasions when the services of a medicine man were required in traditional African communities        (5marks)                                                                                                                                                                          

17.     1997 Q 4 (pp 2)

        a) Discuss the measures taken by the traditional African communities to discourage pregnancy before marriage.               (12marks)                              

18.     1998 Q 11

        With reference to African traditional communities, state five factors that promote harmony and mutual responsibility in Kenya today.                                     (5 marks)

19.     1998 Q 12

         Give five reasons why initiation rites were important in African traditional communities                        (5 marks)                               

20.     1998 Q 14

          State five reasons why, marriage in traditional African communities is regarded as a covenant                                                                                                   (5 marks)

21.     1998 Q 15

         List five responsibilities of priests in traditional African communities          .           (5 marks)

22.     1998 Q 16

          Give reasons why taboos are important in traditional African communities   (5 marks)

23.     1999 Q 11

Identify five occasions when prayers were offered in traditional African Communities                                                              (5 marks)                                   

24.     1999 Q 12

          State five rituals marking the birth of child traditional African communities         (5 marks)

25.     1999 Q 14

          List five factors that affected traditional African Education system  (5 marks)

26.     1999 Q 4b (pp 2)

         (b) Give reasons why people work in traditional African Communities         (5 marks)

27.     1999 Q 5b, c

(b)       Give ways in which traditional African communities show respect for the unborn Child               (6 marks)       

(c)       Explain how a child learns to be part of the traditional community (10 marks)

28.     2000 Q 16

           Identify five African cultural expressions used in Christian worship today.            (5 marks)

29.     2000 Q 5c (pp 2)

           a)How was marriage formalized in traditional African communities            (8marks)

           b) Why was polygamy common in traditional African communities?                       (8marks)

           c) State the role of parents in a traditional African family    (9marks)                    

30.     2001 Q 13

         State five reasons why the observance of the blood kinship is important in African traditional African societies  (5marks)                    

31.     2001 Q 14

            Give five reasons why the birth of a child is a joyous event in traditional African Societies.

32.     2001 Q 5 (pp 2)

           a) Explain the activities carried out in traditional African communities?          (6marks)

b) State ways through which the youth are traditional African communities?    (7marks)

     c) What is the role of a grandfather in traditional African communities?  (6marks)

33.    2002 Q 5

           a)          Give reasons why there was singing during the initiation ceremonies in traditional African communities.       (12marks)                                          

        b) How were the initiates prepared for adult life in traditional African communities?                        (7 marks)                               

       c) Why do some traditional African communities practice ignition rites today?            (6marks)                                                                                                                                

34.     2002 Q 12

         Give five reasons why oaths were administered in traditional Africa Communities            (5marks)                                            

35.     2002 Q 14

         List five occasions when sacrifices were consulted in traditional African

         communities                  (5marks)                                

36.     2002 Q 14

    State five factors that may hinder the traditional African practice of giving dowry                                                                                                                                     (5marks)

37.     2003 Q 15

           State five roles of elders in traditional African communities                                    (5marks)

38.     2003 Q 16

            Give five reasons why children are important in traditional African community                                         (5 marks)

39.     2003 Q 5 a, c (pp 2)

            a)         Give reasons why pre- marital pregnancies were rare in traditional African communities.              (12marks)                  

           c) What is the role of a midwife in traditional African communities?          (5marks)

40.     2004 Q 11

          Give five reasons why a naming ceremony is important in traditional African communities.                                                                                                              (5marks)

41.     2004 Q 12

            Write down five ways of solving conflicts in traditional African communities.  (5marks)           

42.     2004 Q 13

            Name five specialists in traditional African communities                            (5marks)

43.     2004 Q 5a, b (pp 2)

          a)           Outline ways through which a marriage partner is chosen in traditional African communities   (12marks)                              

       b) Explain why divorce is rare in traditional African communities      (6marks)

44.     2005 Q 11

          Write down five places where worship is carried out in traditional African communities.                        (5marks)                                

45.     2005 Q 12

            Give five reasons why seclusion after child birth is important in traditional African communities.              (5marks)                    

46.     2005 Q 13

            List five duties of diviners in traditional African communities                   (5marks)

47.     2005 Q 14

            Write down five reasons why disputes over land were rare in traditional African communities.              (5marks)                                

48.     2005 Q 5a,b ( pp 2)

          (a)         Discuss the factors that promote harmony and mutual responsibility in traditional African communities.       (8 marks)       

  • What changes are taking place in property ownership in traditional African communities                                                                                       (10 marks)

49.     2006 Q 6

          (a)         Explain the importance of rituals performed during a naming ceremony in traditional African communities.       (10 marks)                 

  • Identify the moral values acquire during marriage in traditional African  communities                                                               ( 5 marks)
  • Why is death feared in traditional African communities?                ( 5 marks)

50.     2006 Q 1c

           (c)        What are the consequences of breaking taboos in traditional African communities?             (5 marks)                   

51.     2007 Q 6

          (a)  What changes have taken place in the rite of initiation in Kenya today?     (8marks)

          (b)  Identify moral values taught to the youths during initiation to adulthood in traditional African communities                    (6 marks)       

         (c)Give reasons why female circumcision is being discouraged in Kenya today                            (6 marks)       

52.     2008 Q 6

          (a) Identify practices in Traditional African communities that show their beliefs in life after death                           (8marks)                                                     

         (b) State six requirements that one had to fulfill to be made an elder in Traditional African society       (6marks)                                                        

         (c) Identify the factors that are undermining the role of elders in Kenya today (6marks)

53.    2009 Q 2b

          (b)Give seven similarities between the Jewish and traditional African practice of circumcision.              (7 marks)                              

54.     2009 Q 6

          a) Outline six rituals performed during the birth of a baby in tradition Africa Communities.                         (6marks)                                                                    

         (b)Give six reasons why children are important in traditional African communities                                     (6 marks)                                             

         (c)Explain four ways children are made responsible members in traditional African Communities                         

55.     2010 Q 3c

           (c)       Why is killing condemned in traditional African communities?                  (6 marks)

56.     2010 Q 6a,b

            (a) Name six places in which sacrifices are carried out in traditional African communities.              (6 marks)                               

           (b) Give seven reasons why sacrifices are made in traditional African communities.                               (7 marks)                                          

57.     2010 Q 5a ( pp 2)

          (a)       State four similarities between the Christian and traditional African view on marriage.         (8 marks)                                                                                           

58.     2011 Q 6a

           a) Describe the traditional African view of a community.                             (8 marks)   

59.     2011 Q 6b ( pp 2)

          b) State seven methods of disciplining errant members in traditional African communities.    (7 marks)                                                                  

60.    2012 Q6 P1

 (a) Describe five ways in which people in traditional African communities communicate with God.         (5marks)                                                         

 (b) Give eight reasons for singing and dancing during initiation ceremonies in traditional African communities.

(c) Give seven reasons why witchcraft is feared in tradition African

      communities                                                                                             (7marks)



                                                MARKING SCHEME

1990 Q42

  • childhood to adulthood
  • Provide opportunity for the initiates to take their new duties/responsibilities and privileges
  • Give the initiates a feeling of new /higher status in the community
  • Bring families/communities/clan together to celebrate
  • Give the initiates identity/sense of belonging as they are initiated into a community e.g. age groups, secret society, council of elders


  • They offer guidance and counseling to the candidates
  • They educate the candidates on their new duties/and responsibilities as adults
  • They give candidates instructions in sex education
  • They encourage the candidates to face the operation with courage
  • They give moral / physical support during the operation
  • Act as a link between the candidates and their families
  • They nurse the initiated back to health
  • They play the. role of a mentor/father/mother/god-father/god- mother to the initiated
  • They ensure that the initiated are protected/well cared for
  • Foreign religions e.g. Christianity, Islam, Hinduism
  • Foreign cultures and values e.g. oriental western
  • Western education
  • High cost of living/inflation
  • New forms of employment
  • New forms of governments and politics
  • Science and technology
  • Urbanization
  • Improved infrastructure
  • Mass media

1992 Q46

  • They explain the origin of the people/ community/creation
  • They explain the occupation/culture of the people e.g. why people are agriculturalist, pastorists or hunters
  • Justify the ownership of the tribal land
  • Explain the origin of death
  • Describe the original status of God and human beings
  • They explain some religious status of God and human beings
  • They give people identity
  • They entertain people
  • They are a basis of unity/unifying factor as the people claim the same origin
  • They explain the origin of some practices, customs and traditions
  • They educate people/help in preserving culture and traditions

1992 Q47

  • They should pour libation to him
  • Sacrificed to the/give offerings
  • Name their children after the ancestor^
  • Offer venerations/pay through them
  • Should respect/revere them
  • Remember them/invite them to social functions/invoke their names
  • Teach their children about him
  • Obey them/carry out their wishes.
  • Appease them/keep them happy
  • Build shrinesfor them

1993 Q47

  • To thank God for the good he has done for them e.g giving rain, children, harvest, health
  • To implore to forgive them the wrong they have done/to ask for God’s forgiveness and mercy
  • To petition for help from God during difficult times/problems e.g. drought, famine, epidemics, barrenness, sickness
  • During the making of the covenants e.g. peace covenants, family/clan disputes, so that he can be a witness
  • The youth will take the teaching seriously when it is done by the elderly as they are taught to respect the elders
  • They have enough wisdom and skills to handle the youth and to communicate with them effectively
  • In some communities it is taboo for younger people to mention parts of the body connected with sex and acts connected with it, but the elderly were allowed to mention them

1994 Q36

  • One must have been initiated into adulthood gone through circumcision
  • Must be married
  • Must be able to afford the membership fee
  • Should be exemplary in dealing with the family community affairs
  • Should be of good conduct/earned respect  the community
  • Should have grown up children/should be of the right/specified age
  • Should have the support of other elders
  • Should go through the eldership rituals

1995 Q 13

  • They visited the bereaved/ stayed with them/ kept them company/ gave them moral support
  • Consoled them though singing, dancing, praying, giving words of comfort
  • Contributed food and other material needs and gave them moral support
  • Helped them by performing certain duties for them e.g. cooking, cleaning, welcoming mourners running errands
  • They attended the funeral to give the departed a good send- off
  • Helped in preparing the body for burial
  • Informed friends and relatives about the death
  • Made a eulogy to praise/ to testify the deceased’s contribution to the community
  • Participated in rituals/ ceremonies performed by the bereaved family e.g. slaughtering, eating, dancing, cleansing                    (5 x 1 = 5 marks)

1995 Q 14

  • It helps in identification of suitable  marriage partners
  • The two families involved in marriage negotiations ( of the boy and girl) established relationship/ familiarization
  • The boy and girl had the opportunity to learn one another and their families
  • Offered the opportunity to check/ establish whether the two people ( boy and girl) are related. Near kin to each other
  • Offered opportunity to establish whether the two people came from marriageable clans/ families
  • Cemented/ strengthened the relationship between the two families through exchange of gifts mutual visits sharing of food and drink
  • Gave the two families time to negotiate for dowry
  • Gave time to the family of the young man to look for and pay dowry or part of it.
  • Gave the two families time to arrangements
  • Gave time to the girl and boy to be instructed in family life education/ prepare them for a marriage relationship
  • Boy and girl were instructed on their duties responsibilities/ privileges in the community
  • Gave time to establish whether the boy and girl weren’t for marriage e.g. on virginity, impotency, infertility, frigidity (not marriage but courtship)                                                                                                                   (5 x 1 = 5 marks)

1996 Q 4 (PP2)

  • Cleansing rituals were used to expiate/ forgive wrongdoers of their sins
  • Cleaning ceremonies/ rituals were performed to protect individuals/ families/ community against repercussion for the wrong done
  • Helped to maintain good inter – personal relationship / cohesion in the community/ reconciliation of the parties.
  • For purification/ acceptance of members who had been declared ritually unclean/ or had broken taboos, so that they could continue with their normal activities in the society, (e.g. after childbirth/ those who had committed murder/ adultery/  after bereavement/ etc.
  • To appease the ancestral spirits
  • Cleaning rituals were part of the rites of passage. (Individual had to go through ritual cleaning to signify that they had left their old selves and acquired different status. (e.g. circumcision/ death.)
  •  The cleaning of the body before burial was prepared the deceased for the new life.
  • To rid individual/ families/ community of evil
  • To send away evil spirits/ forces
  • To protect against calamities/ problems/ sicknesses/ epidemics
  • Cleansing rituals were performed to persuade the spirits of the dead not to linger around the homestead/ cause misfortune to the family.        

                        (8 x 2 = 16 marks)

  • Sharing of resources among members of the community, (e.g. food and drink)
  • Participation in communal activities/ work (according to sex/ age/ status).
  • Participation of individual in social activities which through people together (e.g. during harvest festivals, communal dances and games)
  • Involvement  of all members of the community to celebrate the rites of passage/ rituals accompanying them (e.g. birth, initiation, marriage, death)
  • People in the community were governed by rules/ regulations and taboos/ which were strictly observed
  • Those who deviated from the norms  of the society were punished/ prescribed punishments for the wrong doers/ which discouraged vices

(such as cheating, dishonesty, greed, disobedience).

  • Children were educated on the values/ virtues/ their duties/ responsibilities obligations to the community.
  • There was continued education for all members of the community on what was expected of them.
  • Ancestral land was communally owned/ there were no landless people in the community.
  • Extended family system ensured that children / orphans and the widows were taken care of by other members of the extended family.
  • Communal way of solving individual/ family problems promoted understanding in the community.
  • Division of labour/ the roles of each individual member of the community were defined and adhered to.
  • A system of taking care of the needy/ the disadvantaged/ strangers existed
  • The people held the same religious beliefs/ traditions which promoted unity
  • The people believed that they had a common origin, the Kikuyu believed that they are children of Gikuyu and  Mumbi
  • The communities had their own mechanism of defending themselves  against outside invaders
  • Each community had its own social/ political  organization and the members simply fitted in the system

1997 Q 14

  • During reconciliation ceremonies
    • During marriage
    • After initiation
    • When preparing for a raid
    • When deciding on cases/ setting disputes
    • When a person was being adopted into a family clan or tribe
    • When a person was being initiated into a secret society
    • During installation of leaders ( oath of office
    • When a community was threatened member took oath to remain united against the enemy
    • During the making of peace treaties
    • When buying land
    • During naming ceremonies/ children dedicated to God/ ancestors.

1997 Q 15

  • During sickness
  • During  initiations into  adulthood
  • Before important undertaking e.g raid, war, marriage
  • During catastrophes e.g. drought, floods, death
  • When a person required charms for protection against evil ort a  portion to use to  achieve a desired  goal
  • When it was necessary  to dispel witchcraft/ magic/ sorcery and other  forces  of evil
  • In case  of impotence/ barrenness                                          (5 x 1 = 5 marks)

1997 Q 4(PP2)

  • Sex education was given to the youth in order to instill discipline/responsibility.
    • The youth were made aware /advised/sensitized of the dire consequences of irresponsible sex leading to pregnancy before marriage.
    • Sex before marriage was prohibitive in most traditional African communities virginity was highly valued.
    • Girls who became pregnant before marriage were severely punished/they were ostracized.  Disowned by he family/put to death/forced to marry old/useless men.
    • Young men who were found to have impregnated a girl before marriage were also punished /paid a heavy fine/reprimanded/banned by their age groups/ defamed in songs/ given nasty nicknames.
    • Parents, (especially the mothers) were held responsible for their daughter conduct/ girls’ movements were closely watched and their movements monitored. Limited
    • During social occasions(e.g dances) young  people were supervised so that they did not misbehave.
    • There was physical separation of sexes/boys and girls/ males, lived in separate houses.
    • There were taboos/rules/regulations on sex relationships
    • The entire traditional African community was concerned about the moral fiber /integrity.
    • Sexes were taught to respect each other/treat each other with respect/ to respect their own bodies/maintain their dignity/ honour.

1998 Q 11

  • The worship of god / a supreme being.
  • Belief in common ancestry/ origin
  • Sharing of material thins with the less endowed/ giving moral support in times-of need.
  • Adopting positive attitude towards work/communal work
  • Citizens have an obligation to obey the laws /rules of the country.
  • Developing and practicing acceptable leisure activities.
  • Conservation natural resources/land / environment /water/minerals
  • Promotion of a common language for easy/effective communication.
  • Respecting other people’s cultures.
  • Shunning practices that are incompatible with Christian values
  • Sharing respect for leaders/elders.                5×1=5marks.

1998 Q 12

  • Promote the youth into adulthood
  • Provided a learning forum for the youth to know the societies idea/ ideals.
  • Used as a method of preserving between the initiaties and the sponsor/age sets.
  • Used as a method of preserving between the society’s cultural heritage.
  • Enhanced a bond friendship/unity among the initiates
  • It made one a full member of the community / created a sense of belonging
  • One had the right to own property/ marry
  • Created a strong relationship between the initiates and sponsors/age sets.

1998 Q 14

  • Should be permanent /breaking of the marriage had serious consequences
  • Its binding/the couple/family /clans all who were separate before
  • Ceremonies are conducted where the concerned couple/family/clan take vows promising loyalty to each other.
  • Exchange of gifts/as a sing of lasting relationship/ cement the relationship
  • Certain conditions have to be fulfilled such as payment of dowry/bearing of children
  • Gods/spirit are evoked to bless and protect the marriage/prayers are offered to God
  • There are witnesses i.e. families/friends
  • There is sharing of a meal/ceremony to express unity/friendship

1998 Q 15

  • They offered sacrifices on behalf of the communities
  • Acted as mediators between God and the people
  • Offered prayers during religious ceremonies such as birth/initiation/marriage/death/war
  • Performed rituals of cleansing/healing
  • Reconciled warring parties/peace makers
  • Were part of decision making body especially during calamities such as war/epidemics/drought
  • Foretold the future/warned people of impending danger/calamities.

1998 Q 16

  • Guided people on moral behavior/discipline
  • Outlined social relationships/kinship ties
  • Faster respect for elders/leaders
  • Maintenance of respect for God
  • Help in maintenance of dignity/integrity.
  • Guided on acceptable eating habits/discourages vices such as gluttonness, greediness etc
  • Create harmony/maintain law and order/promoted peace in society.

1998 Q 4a (PP2)

  • Bride price was given as a token of appreciation to the girl’s parents.
  • Trough barter trade (exchange of commodities/ goods).
  • Through inheritance of property from parents /guardians/relatives
  • Gifts were given in appreciation of talents/goods conduct/loyalty.
  • Through warfare/raids
  • Through marrying many wives/getting many children who provided labour force.
  • Through use of skills like tool making/weaving /pottery/ welding (they were able to produce goods for exchange).
  • Those with talents like medicine men/dividers/rainmakers sold there services.
  • Those who worked hard (e.g through clearing forest/breading of verging land enriched themselves.

1999 Q 11

  • Breaking a new ground
  • Planting seasons
  • In times of crisis such as drought/epidermic/persistent diseases.
  • Rites of passage e.g naming /birth.
  • When preparing warriors for war.
  • When breaking a curse.
  • After abundant harvest. / in thanksgiving.
  • At day-break and sunset.
  • Before setting off on a journey
  • Installation of leaders.                                                            5×1= 5marks.

1999 Q 12

  • The new born was praised/ blessed.
  • There was feasting and celebrations
  • The father received praises.
  • There were ululations whose numbers was determined by the sex of the child.
  • Children were given names.
  • The mother’s hair was shave./ cleansing of the mother.
  • The mother and baby were kept in seclusion.
  • Protective were given to the child/mother                 5×1=5marks

1999 Q 14

  • Introduction of modern technology
  • Introduction of western education/schools
  • The coming of Christian missionaries.
  • The establishment of a colonial rule/ new systems of government.
  • Growth of urban centres/urbanization.
  • Rural –urban migration.
  • Rural-rural migration.
  • Western culture/westernization.
  • Money culture/economy.                                           5×1=5marks

1999 Q 4b (PP2)

  • To meet/satisfy their basic needs (food/clothing/shelter/any other example.
  • Divinely ordained to get blessings from God/the ancestors/religious/role/duty tradition
  • For community welfare (people work of the good of other/the family/extended family community.
  • For socialization (People work together/sing together/ eat together/communally/in unity/as they work.
  • As a duty everybody must work
  • To demonstrate special skills (as artisans/porters/rain makers/black smith etc
  • To raise one’s status / positions (the harder the works the more the wealth Prestige.                                                          5×1=5marks

1999 Q 5b,c

  • The expectant mother is given charms to wear to protect he the unborn child from harm.
  • The expectant mother is exempted from heavy work
  • The expectant mother observes certain taboos/avoiding certain foods people/places regulations.
  • The expectant mother is given special food
  • The expectant mother is checked occasionally/advised by traditional midwives
  • prayers/sacrifices/Libations are given for protection/consultation of medicine men/priest etc
  • Conjugal rights/sexual intercourse is not allowed during pregnancy.
  • Herbs/medicines is administered to the expectant mother.
  • there should be no harmful implements in the house/compound where the expectant mothers lives
  • Expectant mother should not treated cruelly.                        6×1= 6marks


  • There are taught the basic rules/customs.
  • They are told about the history of the family/clan/community
  • They are exposed to songs /dances.
  • By listening to stories/myths/tales/riddles/proverbs/from elders
  • Playing their roles in society/hunting/collecting fire wood/practically. 10Marks.

2000 Q 16

  • Use of vernacular in worship
  • Use of traditional musical instruments (drums, kayamba)
  • Use of body movements (e.g dancing, clapping /jumping)
  • Shaking of hands/hugging
  • Responding to prayers in unison/congregational involvement/ liturgical recitations
  • Spontaneous prayer
  • Performing cleansing rituals
  • Adopting family/ individual names at baptism.
  • Giving offerings in kind /agricultural produce
  • Use of African texture and design in dressing
  • Building churches using traditional African architectural styles.
  • Singing using traditional tunes and melodies.

2000 Q5 (PP2)

  • Giving of bride price/dowry as a token of appreciation to girls/brides family
    • Exchange of gifts among the family members performed religious rituals/sacrifices/blessings
    • Held ceremonies /celebrations where food and beer were shared among friend and families.
    • Exchanged visits by the families of the bride and the groom/exchange of mutual help and services.
    • Marriage negotiations/discussion were held .
    • Celebration through songs and dance
    • Oathing /vowing/pledge of allegiance/ making promises
    • Virginity of bride to be proved.
  • Many children were viewed as a source of pride/wealth/labour
  • Effective family planning
  • To ensure unity/harmony in the community
  • To acquire wealth through bride price
  • Children ensured security  in old age
  • The more the children the longer the immortality
  • To reduce irresponsible sexual behaviors such as prostitution/adultery/fornication
  • Curb barrenness/childlessness
  • Ones social status was measured by the number of wives one had
  • Co-wives worked as a team/boost the man’s wealth
  • Due to high mortality rate due to epidemics thus one needed to marry many wives
  • To avoid getting children of one sex
  • Land was plenty to accommodate large families.                  (8 marks)
  • Creating linkage with the wider community.
  • Bing role models for their children/set example
  • Encouraging and directing them to realize their potential self actualization
  • Enhancing family cohesion unity.
  • Settling disputes and quarrels that arise in families.
  • Making decisions on all matters.
  • Passing on inheritance to their offspring.

2001 Q 13

  • Prevents the spread of hereditary diseases
  • Provides a wide source of material help in case of need.
  • Provides unlimited source of advice to the members/Guidance &counseling
  • Promotes harmonious living as related people respect each other.
  • Serves as a check on one’s behavior/interrelationships/Discipline
  • Provides a wide source of security to members/belonging
  • Prevents incestuous behavior/marriages
  • Helps maintain the culture of the people (religion, customs, traditions, beliefs) marriage
  • Helps members to face challenges together /hardships/moral support 5×1=5marks

2001 Q 14

  • It ensures increase of labour force.
  • It provides for community continuity/immortality.
  • It enhances the social status of the family
  • It cements the relationships between the coupes/the families
  • It removes ridicule on the mother/father
  • Provides an opportunity for the people to give thanks to God/and the ancestors.
  • Provides a chance for the family to get together and celebrate
  • Provides a source of wealth
  • Provides a source of security.
  • Children are blessing in a marriage                                   5 x1=5marks

2001 Q 5 (PP2)

  • Baby is born in a secure/clean place (parent’s house)
  • Baby’s birth is first announced to family members
  • Placenta/umbilical cord is disposed off in a secret place (uncultivated field/banana plantation)
  • Prayers/sacrifices/libations are offered for the well being of the baby and mother
  • The umbilical cord is cut to separate the baby from the mother
  • Baby is cleaned using medicinal herb solutions/treatment by medicine men/witch doctor/shaving
  • Baby mother stayed in seclusion for a number of days
  • Baby/mother are given specific nutritious food to promote good health
  • Mother takes medicinal herbs to ensure good health for both
  • The baby is delivered by an expert/midwife
  • The baby is given a name
  • Through participation alongside adults
  • Through watching adults perform duties/observations
  • By being told stories/proverbs/maxims/riddles/singing songs relating to duty
  • By imitating adults/role play/imitation
  • By inculcating fear verbally
  • Through giving deterrent punishment for failure
  • Through apprenticeship
  • By rewarding/reinforcing the duty performed
  • They were given instructions during initiation
  • Through guidance and counseling                                         (7 marks)
  • He was a role model
  • He guided and counseled family members
  • He was a source of valuable knowledge/wisdom experience/traditions
  • He was consulted on matters affecting the family/society
  • He has a link between the living and the dead
  • He was a custodian of the morals/values of the community
  • He made decisions for the family/decision maker
  • He taught/provided entertainment by telling stories/riddles/singing songs
  • He officiated in some family rituals/ceremonies
  • He prescribed punishment for evildoers/disciplined evil doers
  • He controlled family resources.                                             (8 marks)

2002 Q 5

  • To remind the participants of their  past history
  • To provide socialization  opportunity for  participants
  • Divert the initiates minds from the impending pain
  • Teach/ remind the participants important moral values
  • Teach the participants important moral values
  • Teach the participants gender relations/ roles
  • Imbue the initiates with courage in order to face the challenge
  • To exercise parts of the body / dance
  • Welcome the initiates joyously into full membership of the community
  • Provides an opportunity for promotion of talents
  • To ask for blessings for the initiates with the ancestors by invoking their names
  • To condemn evil in society
  • To announce the season/ occasion for the initiates
  • To distinguish/ advertise/ identify the initiates
  • To entertain the participants
  • They were made to endure pain in order to develop perseverance
  • Assigned  duties similar to those to be performed in adult life
  • Given specific instructions to help them develop obedience/ compliance/ understanding
  • Exposed to hardship in order to develop coping mechanism
  • Told moral stories to help them develop deductive thinking
  • Punished for disobedience to learn about consequences of acts/ reward of courage
  • Made to share belongings to teach them communalism
  • Taught the history of the community to help them trace/ know their ancestry
  • Grouped into age- sets/ groups to help them develop collective responsibility/ attitude/ skills
  • Lived in seclusion in order to develop independence/ self awareness
  • They were taught gender roles/ responsibilities
  • To uphold traditional values and customs/ culture
  • To provide an occupation for initiators/ surgeons
  • In order to please/ appease ancestral spirits
  • To ensure acceptability by those who have undergone the initiation rites/ create a sense
  • of belonging
  • To prepare one for marriage
  • To promote African languages through song/ dance
  • To create a new age- set
  • In order to raise one’s social status
  • Provide an opportunity for  leadership
  • In order  to enable  one to inherit property

2002 Q 12

  • To ensure secrecy of the information known
  • As a binding symbol of members of the communities/ unite the parties concerned
  • To ensure compliance to the social norms
  • To deter people from telling lies
  • To link the living with the dead/ ancestors
  • To prepare the parties for tasks e.g. war, leadership
  • To make people remain loyal to each other/ group   (5 x 1 = 5 marks)

2002 Q 14

  • during marriage
  • During initiation
  • During burial rites
  • At times of calamities
  • When settling disputes
  • Naming ceremonies
  • In sickness
  • Times of war
  • When a baby is born
  • When a taboo is broken
  • Installation of leaders                                                 (5 x  1 = 5 marks)

2003 Q 15

  • Preside  over religious ceremonies
  • Judging cases
  • Punishing/ fining the offenders
  • Praying for the community
  • Overseeing the sharing of community wealth/ property etc
  • Mediating between God and people/ ancestors/ spirits
  • Advises and guides the community
  • Formulating laws governing the  community/ ensuring laws are kept
  • Facilitating reconciliation                                          (5 x  1 = 5 marks)

2003  Q 16

  • For  social status/ prestige
  • They are a source of labour
  • A source of wealth
  • For remembrance of dead relatives
  • For continuation of perpetual of life
  • To complete the marriage bond/ blessing in marriage
  • To strengthen the marriage relationship
  • To offer security in old age/ provide for old parents/ bury
  • To protect  the community against invasion
  • To inherit power of property                          (5 x 1 = 5 marks)

2003  Q 4

  • sexual education was given to the youth
  • Girls who became pregnant before marriage were severely punished
  • Sex before marriage was prohibited
  • Parents were held responsible  for daughter conduct
  • During social occasions such as dances, youths were supported so that they did no misbehave
  • There was  physical separation of sexes boys  and girls lived separately
  • There were taboos, rules and regulations on sex relationship
  • There was act of early marriage
  • The whole community was concerned about the  morale fibre
  •  The youths  made aware  of the consequences of irresponsible sex
  • Pregnant girls were forced to marry old man in the  community
  • The man who was responsible for the pregnancy was forced to marry the girl

2003 Q 5a

  • They helped pregnant women in delivery service
    • The midwife took care of the  weak mother and the child
    • They gave advice to the parents of the mother on ways of bringing up the   Child.

2004 Q 11

  • Thanksgiving for the new child
  • As a sign  of acceptance/ full member
  • Gives  identity to the  child/ sense of belonging
  • As a way of remembering  important event in  society
  • For  blessing the child
  • Welcoming the baby to the community
  • Security of the child/ brought  peace to the child/ appease ancestors
  • Showing the relationship/ link between  the living  and the dead
  • Brings unity  among the  people as they  come together
  • Provides  an  opportunity to teach the culture  to the youth
  • As a  sign of  continuity of society
  • As sign  of  remembrance/ honor of ancestors          (5 x 1 = 5 marks)

2004 Q 12

  • Through making peace agreement/ treaties
  • Returning what had been taken/ stolen
  • Sharing of meals/ bear parties
  • Sacrificing to appease the ancestors/ seeking guidance, intervention/ opinion among the community
  • Encouraging marriage between the children of the warring parties
  • Sending emissaries/  mediators between the parties/ elders/ chiefs to  arbitrate
  • Taking reconciliatory  oaths
  • Paying  a fine/ compensation/ punishment/ migration ( any  punitive  measures)
  • Shaking of hands/ initiating dialogue/ seeking apology forgiveness.

                                                                                              (5 marks)

2004 Q 13

  • Healers/ medicine men/  herbalists
  • Priests
  • Blacksmiths
  • Rainmakers
  • Elders/ kings
  • Diviners
  • Prophets/ seers
  • Circumcisers                                                               (5 x 1 = 5 marks)

2004 Q 5a, b

  • A relative/ mediator/ identifies a girl from a family and suggests to the family of the young man
  • Parents  make the decision for children when still young
  • Parents  of the boy  the parents  of a girl to ask for her hand in marriage
  • The young  people  could court and choose who to marry
  • The first wife chooses a girl for her husband
  • The young  man and his age- mates waylay a girl  and take  away for marriage
  • Bride- process could be paid to a family well in advance
  • A young girl can be given as gift  to another family
  • Some exchange the girls from the two families
  • One could inherit a brother’s  wife
  • A yough girl could be given as a way  of setting a dispute/ replace one who had died/ setting debts
  • Marriage is  permanent/ highly valued
  • There is investigation concerning the  families  to be involved in the  marriages/courtship  allowed in some  communities
  • Many people are involved in marriage negations
  • The wife belongs to both the husband  and the wider community
  • Payment of dowry/ getting children seal the marriage
  • Elaborate marriage procedures/ ritual make it difficult for one to divorce
  • Fear of paying fines/ returning bride wealth in case of divorce/ lose of dignity
  • Marriage disputes are handled by the parents/ elders
  • In case of  bareness / impotence an  alternative is sought e.g.  polygamy
  • Boys/ girls are taught about sex/ family life
  • Gender roles are clearly observed

2005 Q 11

  • Under sacred trees
    • In caves
    • A river bank
    • On rocks
    • On mountains
    • At waterfalls
    • In shrines
    • In homes of religious  leaders
    • At grave yards

2005 Q 12

  • It gives  the mother time to regain  the lost  energy
  • It keeps the mother/ baby evil  eyes/ witchcraft
  • It gives the mother time to rest
  • It enables the mother to be trained  on how to care for the baby
  • It enables the mother to feed well  produce enough milk
  • It enables the baby to adjust to new  life
  • It enables the mother to take  maximum care of the baby
  • It marks the end of pregnancy at the beginning of new life 

                                                                              (5 x 1 = 5 marks)

2005 Q 13

  • They predict the future
  • They warn  people  about calamities
  • The pre- intercede for the  community/ individual  during calamities
  • They heal  the sick
  • They  interpret messages from  spiritual world
  • They act as  judges in society
  • They mediate between God/  Spirits and  people
  • They comfort the sick in society
  • They counsel  people  with problems
  • They use various objects to reveal secrets in society/ expose the wrong  doers

2005 Q 14

  • The elders  disciplined  greedy people/ land  grabbers
  • There were  clear  guidelines  on the use of land
  • Those  without  land were  assisted to acquire it  by  the clan/ community
  • There was enough  land  assigned  to individuals by elders. The wish/ will of
  • Parents/ clan  on property  ownership was respected people  were  hesitant to acquire  land unlawfully for fear  of curses justice  fairness by elders was adhered in land ownership  allocation
  • There were  clear guidelines  on land  ownership

2005 Q 5a, b (PP2)

  • People participated in communal work
  • There was sharing of resources among members of the community
  • All members took part in rites of passage
  • There were rules/ taboos to regulate behavior
  • Deviant members in the community were heavily  punished
  • Children were educated on the  moral values/ social ethics/ customs/ traditions of the community
  • People were educated  on their responsibilities/ obligations  in the society
  • The role of each member of the community was spelt out/ upheld/ there was division of labour
  • The extended family system ensured that all  members  of the  community were provided  for
  • The people had some origin/ religious beliefs/ traditions which  promoted unity
  • There was  communal worship
  • The community had methods of defending the members against external attacks
  • The community had  social/ political organization which were  respected by all
  • There was communal ownership of land
  • There were proper guidelines on the use/ disposal  of community wealth 8 marks
  • Women/ children can now own property
    • Wealth is  longer determined by the  number of wives/ children
    • The introduction  of money economy has reduced the value attached to land
    • The roles of elders in sharing of property has been eroded
    • Land is individually  owned through the issuance  of title deeds
    • People write wills to share/ decide who should inherit their property
    • Property can be  owned  outside one’s ancestral home
    • Land can now be sold/ auctioned                   5 x 2 = 10 marks

2006 Q 6

  • Bathing of the baby sets in the begging  of new life
  • Shaving of the  mother and baby’s hair symbolizes new status
  • Choosing of the  appropriate  name to give the  baby  is for identification/ incorporation into the wider society/ honour to the ancestors
  •  Feeding  of the baby  symbolized  new life growth
  • Holding  of the baby  by members of the  community shows  concern for it/  shared responsibility by the extended family
  • Saying  prayer/ words of blessings for the  mother and baby signifies  long life
  • Slaughtering of animals  is a way of thanksgiving  to ancestors/ God
  • Feasting  is a sign of joys/  socialialism/ welcoming the baby/ acceptance
  • Giving  of presents to the baby/ mother is a sign o f good will/ ownership  of property
  • Wearing  of charms signifies  protection for the  baby/ mother

                                                                                   (5 x 2 = 10 marks)

  • Faithfulness/ loyalty/ obedience
  • Respect/ courtesy
  • Responsibility/ hard work
  • Hospitality/ kindness
  • Tolerance/ perseverance/ endurance/  patience
  • Love
  • Co-operation/ unity
  • Humility
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Courage                                                                      ( 5 x 1 = 5 marks)
  • It disrupts the rhythm  of human life/ activity
  • It is  irrevocable/ in escapable
  • It brings impurity to the family
  • It deprives the community of the individuals
  •  It involves too many rituals
  • It comes unannounced
  • It separates one from the loved  ones/  marks the end of life on earth
  • Nobody  knows  about  the  life after death
  • It may  cause misunderstanding in the community
  • Death rites reveal  people’s characteristics
  • It brings  poverty to the family  involve                    ( 5 x 1 = 5 marks)

2006 Q 1c

  • Paying of a fine
  • Excommunication/ banishment/ ostracized/ Exile
  • Punishment/ ridicule/ pain to the body
  • Being killed
  • Cleaning/ undergoing rituals
  • Making sacrifices to appease the ancestors/ God/ Spirit
  • Offering  compensation
  • Being cursed/  mysterious happenings
  • Denial  of privileges                                                   (5 x 1 = 5 marks)

2007 Q 6

  • Female circumcision/clitoridectomy has been discouraged
  • Circumcision can be done at any age/time
  • Some communities take their children to hospital for circumcision
  • Education of the initiates is offered by persons/bodies other than traditional sponsors
  • Some initiation practices like removal of teeth/tattooing of the body are being discouraged /discarded
  • Some communities have minimized /stopped elaborate ceremonies/rituals associated with initiation.
  • People are being discouraged from using the same circumcision instruments 
  • The role of age set/age group is fading away in some communities
  • Initiation practices are no longer a test of courage/bravery (4 x 2 = 8 marks)
  • Hospitality
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Tolerance/perseverance/endurance
  • Chastity/faithfulness
  • Loyalty
  • Respect
  • Love
  • Responsibility
  • Cooperation
  • Unity
  • Courage
  • It can lead to infections/STIs/HIV/AIDS due to use of some instruments
  • It can lead to injury/mutilation of the reproductive organs of the initiate 
  • It is against child/human rights
  • It can cause psychological torture/traumatizes the initiate
  • It can lead to irresponsible sexual behavior
  • It can lead to early marriages
  • It can lead to school dropouts among the girls
  • It can lead to bleeding/death
  • It can lead to separation /divorce
  • It can lead to disagreement / quarrels in families      (6 x 1 = 6marks)

2008 Q 6        

  • Naming children after the dead.
  • Invoking the names of the dead during problems/important occasions.
  • Burying the dead with some property.
  • Offering sacrifices to the dead.
  • Pouring of libation to the living dead/ancestors/leaving some food for the living dead.
  • Taking care of the graveyards.
  • Fulfilling the wishes/will of the dead/carrying out the demands of the dead.
  • Talking of the dead as having gone for a walk.
  • Washing the dead body/oiling/decent burial.
  • Holding commemoration ceremonies.
  • Burying the dead in a particular position/direction/ancestral land. 

                                                                                                 (4×2=8 marks)

  • Being initiated.
  • Must be married.
  • Being of good conduct/respected in society.
  • Should have children.
  • Having the right/specified age.
  • Ability to provide for others/wealthy.
  • Should be knowledgeable in matters of the society/confidential/wise.
  • Having support from leaders of the society.
  • Be of sound mind/good health.
  • Be a bonafide member of the community.
  • By undergoing the rituals of being an elder.             (6×1=6 marks)
  • Modern education/technology.
  • Urbanization/migration.
  • Intermingling of different cultures/intermarriage.
  • Laws are made in parliament/constitution of Kenya is applied.
  • Western way of  life tends to promote individualism.
  • Wealth has taken over ‘age’ as a symbol of status.
  • Most judicial duties have been taken over by the courts.
  • Christianity has influenced the members who listen to their church leaders other than the elders.
  • Permissiveness/modern decadence

2009 Q 2b

  • In both it promotes one into full membership of the community.
    • It is a mark of identification of a person to a particular community.
    • It is carried out on male children.
    • In both cases circumcision has a religious significance.
    • In both case special people / religious leaders / head of the communities carry out the   operation.
    • In both cases it unites the members it the ancestors.
    • In both cases members receive new names.
    • In both cases the rite is carried on from generation to generation/ out cost compulsory.
    • In both cases the ritual is a communal affair.
    • In both case it involved the cutting of the foreskin.  7 Marks)

2009 Q 6

  • There is feasting in family /relatives,
  • Prayers of thanks giving/blessing s /protection so offered,
  • Protective charms are given to the mother.
  • Sacrifices are offered to God.
    • The mother /baby are kept in seclusion
    • There is dancing /singing for the new life
    • The umbilical cord is cut to separate the baby from the mother. . .
    • The baby /mother are given gifts.
    • The mother hair is shaved.
    • Ululations are made to announce the sex of the baby.
    • The placenta is disposed off carefully.
    • The baby is washed.
    • The baby is given bitter /seat substance to take.        (6xl=6marks)
  • They ensure the continuity of the society.     
  • They inherit  the parent  property .
  • They take care of there parents during old age.
  • They cement the relationship between the husband and wife/ make the marriage stable.
  • They are a soiree of labor.
  • They offer security to the society/ act as warriors when they grow up.
  • They are a sign of God’s blessing.
  • They are a replacement of the dead relatives/ancestors.
  • Children are a source of wealth, to the family community.
  • They run errands for the community.            (6xl=6marks)

2010 Q 3c

  • Life is sacred and therefore should not be destroyed by anybody.
    • It brings hatred/revenge/ill-feeling among members of the community.
    • It destroys continuity of the family/community
    • It brings poverty/denies one the chance to take part in the community development.
    • It breeds suspicion/fear/anxiety.
    • It destroys harmony/undermines good relationships in the community.
    • It creates sadness/misery/sorrow to the relatives/community
    • To avoid being banished/ex-communicated by the community.
    • Avoid curses/being haunted

2010 Q 6a, b

  • Under trees/in forests
    • In caves
    • At river banks/seashore/lake shores
    • Near rocks
    • On mountains/hill tops
    • At waterfalls
    • In shrines/temples
    • In homes
    • Grave sides                                                                 (6 x 1 = 6 marks)
  • It is an act of worship.
    • It enables the people to maintain good relationship with God/Human beings.
    • As a way of asking for protecting
    • To appease ancestors/spirits/God for any wrongs done e.g( cleansing forgiveness)
    • In recognition /honour the ancestors of god’s power.
    • It is a way of acknowledging god as the source of life.
    • In order to seek God’s intervention in times of trouble.
    • As a thanksgiving to ancestors/spirits/gods
    • To invite/ancestors/spirits/God in the function/event.
    • To ask for blessings                                                   (7 x 1 = 7marks)

2010  Q 5a (PP2)

  • In both, marriage is ordained/blessed by God/gift from God.
    • In both marriage is for procreation
    • In both, marriage is for companionship.
    • In both marriage should be permanent.
    • In both, the husband and wife should respect/love each other.
    • In both, marriage gives a new status to those who enter/qualifies them for leadership, roles.
    • Faithfulness in marriage is encouraged.
    • In both, re-marriage is encouraged after the death of a spouse.
    • In both, the husband and wife should give conjugal to each other.
  • In both the husband is the head of the family.                       (4 x 2 = 8 marks)

2011 Q 6a

  • The  members of the community include the unborn/ the living/ living dead/ the ancestors
  • The members speak one common language
  • They are related either by blood/ marriage/ adoption
  • The community members occupy the same geographical area/ region
  • They carry out similar economic activities
  • The community is made up of smaller units/ clans
  • Each community has its own distinct rules/ taboos/ beliefs/ customs/ cultural practices
  • Members of a community are expected to show concern for the well being of others
  • The members are expected to participate in the life of the community.

2011 Q 6b (PP2)

  • Paying fines
  • Denying children food for sometime
  • Reprimanding wrong doers
  • Giving unpleasant names to reflect the wrong that the person has done
  • Denying culprits access to social occasions/ being detained/ isolation
  • Summoning an indisciplined member before the council of elders
  • Ex-communicating wrong doers from the community
  • Through caning / beating
  • Disowning by parents/ relative/ friends
  • Being cursed by elders
  • Refusing to name children after them

2012 Q6 P1


  • They make sacrifices to God
  • They sing and dance for God
  • They say prayers to God
  • Through chanting/recitation/invocations
  • They give offerings
  • Through burning incense                                                  (51= 5 marks)


  • The songs inform the participants of the history of the community.
    • They provide an opportunity for the members to socialize.
    • It diverts the initiates’ minds from the impending pain.
    • The songs teach participants important moral values
    • The songs educate the participants’ gender roles/relationships.
    • Through singing and dancing the members exercise their bodies.
    • The songs encourage the initiates to face the challenge/rebuke cowardice.
    • It exposes those with leadership qualities/skills/talents.
    • They are used to mark the various stages of the initiation ceremonies/ praising the initiate
    • It is a forum of prayer for the initiatives/drive away evil spirits
    • Singing and dancing is a form of entertainment.                   (8 x 1 = 8 marks)


  • Witchcraft leads to death/destruction.
    • It is the work of the evil spirits.
    • It leads to poverty/loss of property.
    • It involves cheating/telling lies.
    • In some cases people are forced to leave their homes/migrate to other places.
    • It can lead to break up of families.
    • A person can be banished/made an outcast.
    • Witchcraft causes suspicion hatred/mistrust amongst the people.
    • It leads to underdevelopment.
    • It can cause physical/psychological injury.
    • It can cause embarrassment to an individual/family.

(7×1=7 marks)

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