Mijikenda literally translates to "the nine cities". The Mijikenda is a broader grouping that includes the coastal Bantu sub groups of the Kauma, Chonyi, Jibana, Giriama, Kamabe, Ribe, Rabai, Duruma and Digo. All of them speak the Mijikenda Language only with different dialect. Out of the nine ethnic groups, the Digo also live in Tanzania owing to their proximity to a shared border. The Mijikenda people are said to have originated from the north of Somalia coast called Shungwaya, and migrated south 300 years ago due to attacks from the hostile Oromo tribes. The Giriama and the Digo are the biggest and famous groups. The Mijikenda live in the areas along the coast of Kenya and Tanzania. Since they have close links with the Coastal Swahili tribe in trade, their languages have a lot of similarities.
The Mijikenda people have a sacred forest, the Kaya used as a place of prayer conducted by chosen elders of the specific ethnicities. This forest is a World Heritage site. They are officially"national monuments" in Kenya with the aim of protecting their diversity. Having been untouched for years; they contain many rare or endangered species. They integrated the fables of their origins, as well as a narratives of their kaya-based, stratified societal structure, into a documentation of their Culture , and is thus passed on to their children.
The kaya, a shrine for prayer, sacrifices and other religious rituals are individually owned by each Mijikenda clan. The kayas are situated deep inside the forests and it was seen as a taboo to cut the trees or vegetation surrounding them. Members of the oldest age-set; the Kaya elders, often were believed to posses mystical powers like the ability to make rain. If they weren't successful in bringing rain during droughts, sometimes it meant being fired from the hierarchy of power since they couldn't head the Kaya without the ability to bring rain. Most Mijikenda are nowadays either Muslim or Christians due the assimilation into modern cultures some on the other hand still stick to their indigenous beliefs.
Coconut palm is the major item in the Mijikenda farming activities. Now they grow others crops like Cashew nuts, sweet potatoes, cassava, yams and millet. To meet the demands of the tourist industry has amplified the pace of development: more and more Mijikenda are taking up commercial farming to supply the demand of the hotel industry. Today, their architecture comprises of coral blocks and corrugated aluminum sheeting. They prefer building the rectangular houses with rooms on either side of a central corridor, replacing the grass thatched old age building style. They have an exciting folk music culture. Their music is largely Percussion and quite rhythmic.