Origin of The Nubians

Who are the Nubians?

English: African black Nubian woman, Egyptian ...
English: African black Nubian woman, Egyptian Sudan 3/4 lgth., standing, facing right. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nubians are non-Arab Muslim tribes from the Nubia region in Sudan. This is an area between Aswan in southern Egypt and Dongola in northern Sudan.

Most Nubian groups speak their own dialect of the Nubian language mixed with Arabic, (Arabic being the common language of business and trade in Sudan).

Although this group of people essentially speak different languages, they are identical in social, economic and cultural organization. This was the reason why those of them who relocated to East Africa – i.e. in Kenya, Uganda and parts of Tanzania found it easy to identify themselves as Nubians with one common language,(Nubian language).

Nubian lives

The Nubians are traditionally settled farmers. They are characterized mostly by dark skin. Although some of them have what might be called “Arab” or ” Mediterranean ” features, while the others have more ” Central African ” features.

Clearly they are not and never were ” pure race “. Since from ancient times they have intermingled with people from both northern Sudan and southern Egypt.

The Nubians are unified however by their strong cultural allegiance, by their language and by recognition that they are people with a very ancient and glorious past.

 

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Nubians Kibra Life – Past and Present

 

In the 19th century, the British established the British East Africa territory which comprised the land which sits astride the equator, which is today’s Kenya.

English: A Ten Cent and One Cent British East ...
English: A Ten Cent and One Cent British East Africa piece from 1952(10) and 1924 (1). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To be able to settle in these new found territories, the British brought with them soldiers from other parts of the world, which included soldiers from the Sudan. This was done to ensure their security. And these soldiers later fought alongside the British army in the first
se soldiers were a formidable force and and second world wars.
These Sudanese soldiers were the spine of the early British army in this part of the world.
The Sudanese soldiers mentioned above were the Nubians settled in a military reserve in Kibra, which is located on the outskirts of the city of Nairobi, after conscription from the British army.
The Kibra land was a gift to the Sudanese soldiers in recognition to their distinguished service.

What kind of life did the Nubians live?

The first Nubians who settled in Kibra lived a communal life similar to the medieval village life. A village life consisting of a population comprised mostly of farmers, houses, barns, sheds and animal pens, clustered around. This was surrounded by ploughed fields and pastures.
This village was a home for the Nubians. Most were born, toiled, married, had children and died within the village. Most rarely venturing beyond its boundaries.
The Nubians had their own language, dress code, cuisine, ceremonies, ( birth, circumcision, wedding, etc ), dances, arts and artifacts.
The typical Nubian house architecture featured four bedrooms, a visitor room, a large sitting room, with large windows overlooking flower/tree gardens on the outside. The kitchen was located on one side at the back, while the bathrooms and pit latrines were on the other.
The houses were built with poles and wooden planks and frames bought from forest owners around Kibra.
The roofs of the houses were made from flattened oil tins and oil drums, (typically 20 lt kerosene containers were used in those days).
The walls of these houses were made of mud, and cow dung collected from the livestock keepers around. The wall finishing was so smooth that it had the appearance of cement plaster. These walls were often patterned with flower paintings that made them very attractive. Some of those houses, over 90 years old, are still standing there today.
Vegetable gardens and farms for other crops and livestock were developed further away from the main house.

Recreational facilities.

Kibra had enough recreational facilities, particularly playing grounds for children. These grounds were also used for wedding ceremonies and other communal activities. For indoor activities a central hall was built in the centre of the village, which was also used as a cinema.

Post independence life.

Life in Kibra changed gradually after Kenya attained independence in 1963 from outside influences. New comers from outside Kibra for economic and political reasons. By 1980s and 1990s, the number of outsiders grew so big. The Nubians then became a small minority in the ratio 1 to 12.

Changes in sociocultural environment.

The big inflow of outsiders in Kibra had a bad effect. It is known that social and cultural influences cause changes in attitudes, beliefs, norms, customs and lifestyle. Inability of the Nubians in Kibra to foresee changes in these areas and react timely was devastating.

Challenge facing the Nubians.

The biggest challenge now facing the Nubians of Kibra is whether the government of Kenya will honor the promise of giving the Kibra land ownership documentation.


Writing this article was never about making money. However, the donation I plead for is to help me cover my blogging expenses in the long journey I intend to make advocating for the reforms of the marginalized minority, and also in engaging in other community matters.

 Donation can be made via PayPal using the button below.

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The Voice of the Marginalized People

Marginalized people of Kibra

Kibra is an area on the outskirt of Nairobi, the capitol city of Kenya. This piece of land, measuring approximately 4100 acres was a reward given to the Nubian soldiers by the then British colonial government. The Nubian soldiers fought alongside the British army from the 19th century up to the two world wars of 1914 and 1945.
Although the politics of this country has changed Kibra to what it is now, the largest slum in Africa. The Nubians who live in Kibra, which is their home, are now a small minority in the ratio of 1 to 12, after their land was invaded by outsiders brought in by selfish politicians.

The Nubians still cherish and have passion for Kibra, even with the faint hope of obtaining the land ownership document from the government. And even as the number of poor and excluded people among the community is increasing rapidly.

Expression of Passion for Kibra
1. We all know that there is a great ‘passion’ among our community for out Kibra. People love the ambiance, the natural setting, the country side, the history, the heritage and much mote. These feelings have unfortunately been largely destroyed by the politics of this country.
2. There is a strong sense of community. We ate proud of ourselves, our community organizations and our neighborhoods.
3. There is a sense of entrenchment. As people say, ‘we all love progress, it is the change we hate’.
4. Nonetheless, we recognize the opportunity in pursuing fresh ideas/ attitudes. There is a desire to create a new vision, plan for the future and coordinate efforts across the community.
5. Too much focus on issues and weaknesses. We need to promote our strengths among ourselves. Then we will be better able to present our strengths to visitors and others outside our community.
6. There are specific issues that are foremost in our minds:
a. To unite our people so that we speak from same voice.
b. To get the ownership documents for the Kibra land.
c. To protect our quality of life and address the well being of our people.
7. There are strengths to build upon in the community and opportunities to pursue:
a. Coordinating the talents and energies of our people to achieve a common vision.
b. To promote our arts, culture, recreation and leisure
c. Heritage.
d. Under utilized resources
e. Honesty.
8. Our people are knowledgeable, experienced and brimming with interesting and innovative ideas. The challenge is to make good use of these valuable resources.

Donation

Writing this article was never about making money. However, the small donation I plead for is for helping me cover blogging expenses in the long journey I intend to make advocating for reforms of the marginalized minority,  and also engaging in other community matters.

Donation can be made via PayPal using the button below.

 

 

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