The Kikuyu are very interesting people. They hold on to their traditions and beliefs very strongly though outwardly, you would think that they do not. The family is the central and most important unit in this community. This includes the nuclear family surrounded by the extended family in one compound. When one takes a wife, the wife does not belong to him unless he has paid the dowry. In fact, if nothing is paid, this is like eloping. Even the children that you will have, though they might bear your last name, they traditionally belong to your wife’s family. If she happens to die, she or her children cannot be buried in your home, whether you have lived together for a day or fifty years.
When a couple gets the first child if it is a girl, it is named after the guy’s mother. If a boy, he is named after his father. After you are through with naming guy’s parents, you start naming the lady’s parents. The children’s names interchange. The first girl is named after the man’s mother, the second daughter after the wife’s mother. In case you get a set of twins, both can only be named after the same line. You cannot split them and name them after the two sides.
Circumcision is a must for every man who is above the age of thirteen. It is a taboo for one not to go through the cut. In ancient times, even the girls were circumcised but the practice has so far died out. Men do not associate with uncircumcised boys, ‘kihii’, as they are called. In a family, the men are served first before the boys and women. The best is given to them and once they are satisfied the rest is shared among the other people in the group.