Taveta in Kenya





Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

Tavetas inhabit the area at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. Their homeland covers the swampy area from Lake Jipe along the Tanzania border and Lake Chala across the Maktau plains. Lake Chala is a crater lake, whose waters are crystal clear. Tsavo National Park is found in the Maktau plains. Lake Chala has crocodiles and Lake Jipe has hippos. The area has plenty of wildlife, which is now protected by the Park. The Tavetas are only linguistically related to the Taita and have no relation whatsoever with the Mijikenda. They appear to have elements of Kamba and Maasai cultures but maintain a separate identity.

Among them are other subgroups, namely, Kasigau, Sagalla and Dawida. Tavetas are popularly known as agriculturists and for their skills as smithies and craftsmen. Those near the waters practice some fishing. Plantations of pineapples, tea, coffee and sisal are common sights. On a subsistence scale, they grow vegetables, bananas and mangoes. Houses are either round or square huts, wooden poles and mud-plastered walls. The roof is thatched with banana palm leaves.

The most important types of traditional property were land and livestock, which provided the means to sustain life. Individual ownership rights were vested in the family head, who allocated usage rights as required. Females could not own land, even through married sons until the father's death. Plots are allocated to women for them to cultivate, sometimes including allocation to unmarried daughters.

A lot of reverence for spirits of ancestors pervades the society. Family and community prayers are conducted in shrines as they chant incantations to the spirits. The skulls of ancestors are kept in the clan caves. Prayers are made over the skulls for they are believed to bring good favor. Tribal spirits are revered but they guard and affect their territory, only. Today only a few Taveta follow these traditions, because many have integrated with the national culture.

Profile Source:   Anonymous  

People Name General Taveta
People Name in Country Taveta
Population in Kenya 24,000
World Population 29,000
Countries 2
Progress Scale 3.2
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Taita-Taveta, Tubeta
Affinity Bloc Sub-Saharan Peoples
People Cluster Bantu, Central-East
People Name General Taveta
Ethnic Code NAB57e
People ID 15298
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 Coast Province, Taita District, Taveta area; Tanzania.   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)
Taveta (24,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Taveta 24,000
For Primary Language: Taveta

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1892-1905)
New Testament Yes   (1906)
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
None reported  
Primary Religion: Christianity
Religion Subdivision: Anglican

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 37.00 %)
72.00 %
Ethnic Religions
13.00 %
0.00 %
15.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
60.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
10.0 %
Roman Catholic
30.0 %
Photo Source: Anonymous  
Profile Source: Anonymous  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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