Tharaka in Kenya

Joshua Project has identified the Tharaka only in Kenya





Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

There are 100,000 Tharaka who occupy the low plains between the slopes of Mount Kenya in the west and the upper Tana River in the east. Their history of immigration dates back to the spread of the Bantu people from southern Africa. About one-tenth live in towns, the rest in villages. Village life is considered the superior lifestyle as it preserves their tradition and culture.

They are farmers, keeping cows, goats and sheep and growing cereal crops, cotton, and sun flowers. They trade with people all over the nation and the economy has developed quickly in recent years.

A sense of belonging is an important aspect of life among the Tharaka people. The most respected person is a "mukuru" (elder), who gives advice and settles disputes in the community. A man has to go through several stages in life and education before reaching this highest state.

Marriage brings the woman's family into close relation with the man's and involves a high bride price paid by the husband's father to the wife's father. During the ceremony itself there is a lot of celebrating and beer drinking. Other celebrations take place during circumcision ceremonies, on the birth of a child and in the harvests of June and January.

The first preaching of the Gospel was very opposed, but when one of their own people responded many more were encouraged by example to do the same. Christianity has spread rapidly since the arrival of the Pentecostals in 1960 and after Independence when mission schools were allowed to open. An estimated one-fifth are active Christians, but 70% have changed from traditional religion and believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

The current needs in Tharaka are for better roads and communication, better health care, provision for famine and drought relief and education. The translation of the Bible into Tharaka is also very important as 40% of the population speak only Tharaka.

Profile Source:   Anonymous  

Expanded PDF Profile

People Name General Tharaka
People Name in Country Tharaka
Population in Kenya 202,000
World Population 202,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 3.2
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names
Affinity Bloc Sub-Saharan Peoples
People Cluster Bantu, Gikuyu-Kamba
People Name General Tharaka
Ethnic Code NAB57e
People ID 15463
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, East Meru District, Embu District; some in Kitui District.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Kitharaka: Tharaka (202,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Kitharaka: Tharaka 202,000
For Primary Language: Kitharaka

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1934-1996)
New Testament Yes   (2000-2002)
Complete Bible No
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Jesus Film: view in Kitharaka Film / Video
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
The Seed Company Translation Project Text / Printed Matter
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 22.00 %)
43.00 %
Ethnic Religions
57.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

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

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