Embu in Kenya

Joshua Project has identified the Embu only in Kenya





Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Embu are a farming community on the southern slopes of Mt. Kenya. They live together with the Mbeere people and they and the Mbeere speak two dialects of the same language.

Christianity was brought by CMS (Anglican) missionaries who set up a camp at Kigari in 1910. They started schools, health clinics, and helped with agricultural concerns in addition to evangelism and starting churches. Because of the advantages of education available to them, the Embu and Mbeere peoples have had reasonable development in physical facilities, education, agriculture, animal husbandry and housing.

To the people of old, God, Mwenenyaga, lived on Mt. Kenya which they called Kirinyaga, and had to be appeased by animal sacrifice in special groves left sacred for that purpose. Only the old men could offer sacrifices. This, however, has been replaced by Christianity and the groves dismantled and converted to farmland.

In the early evangelism, the CMS missionaries came to Embu from working with the Gikuyu people. The missionaries had learned the Gikuyu's language, and their helpers were invariably Gikuyu speakers. As a result, they introduced Gikuyu as the language to be used in literacy work, and when Gikuyu scriptures were translated (the New Testament in 1926 and the Bible in 1951), there did not appear to be need for KiEmbu/KiMbeere scripture. It is evident however, that the languages spoken by the people are significantly different from the Gikuyu. Pastors and evangelists normally translate the Gikuyu into KiEmbu/KiMbeere as they preach, the quality of translation being dependent on the level of understanding of Gikuyu by the speaker.

The KiEmbu language has been put in print and several literacy books have been developed, but not introduced in schools. Other works include riddles and proverbs in KiEmbu, and the history of the Embu people. The literacy level in Embu District is above the average for the nation.

Profile Source:   Anonymous  

People Name General Embu
People Name in Country Embu
Population in Kenya 372,000
World Population 372,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 3.2
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Embu-Mbeere, Mbere
Affinity Bloc Sub-Saharan Peoples
People Cluster Bantu, Gikuyu-Kamba
People Name General Embu
Ethnic Code NAB57e
People ID 11750
Country Kenya
Region East and Southern Africa
Continent Africa
10/40 Window No
Persecution Rank 19  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Eastern Province, Embu District.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010

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Enthologue Language Map

Ethnolinguistic map from University of Texas or other map

Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Kiembu: Embu (372,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Kiembu: Embu 372,000
For Primary Language: Kiembu

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Jesus Film: view in Kiembu Film / Video
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Christianity
Religion Subdivision: Protestant

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 48.00 %)
95.00 %
Ethnic Religions
5.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
20.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
60.0 %
Roman Catholic
20.0 %
Photo Source: Anonymous  
Profile Source: Anonymous  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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