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Friday, July 29, 2016

Sacred Sites of the Mijikenda People


Living mostly in southeastern KENYA near the Indian Ocean, Mijikenda tribes constructed and formed fortified villages beginning in the 16th century. These Kayas in the forested lands of coastal Kenya were and are still regarded as sacred ancestral homes. In 2008, UNESCO established the Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests (« UNESCO World Heritage webpage ») as a World Heritage Site. Kayas have been abandoned by the 1940s when the Mijikenda people resettled, but their former homes are now preserved by tribal elders for the sacred significance of these lands and structures. The eleven Kaya sites protected by UNESCO — some of which are named Duruma, Giriama, Jibana, Kambe, Kauma, Kinondo, and Ribe — occupy 1,538 hectares (about 3,800 acres) of land and are spread out about 200 kilometers near the southeast Kenyan coast.

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