Kisii Tribe in Tanzania

Kisii Tribe in Tanzania: Name origin, background, language, population, traditions, and history

The Kisii tribe in Kenya is thriving, not forgetting its Tanzanian brothers, also called Abagusii people. Historical records have proven close ties with Abakuria along the Kenya-Tanzania border. Migration trends may have scattered the Kisii community but the bond still exists. We take a more in depth look into the Kisii tribe in Tanzania.

Abagusii of Tanzania belong to the Sub Saharan African people cluster. Swahili speakers call them Wakisii or Mkisii. Being a minority group in the country is a number one challenge slowing their progress.

Untold facts about the Kisii tribe in Tanzania

Oral files allege that the Kisii tribe in Tanzania is of the Bantu group. However, we are yet to confirm how they strayed from their Kenyan family.

Tanzanian Kisii tribe population

There are about 1000 members of the Kisii tribe in Tanzania. A small population makes the group a smallest ethnic group in northern Tanzania.

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The population stat only includes Tanzanian Kisiis and not diaspora Kisiis.

Religion of Kisii tribe in Tanzania

The main religious faith among Abagusii people in Tanzania is Christianity with prevalence on the Roman Catholic Church.

Where did the Kisii people originate from?

Abagusii people came from Congo and entered Kenya through Uganda into the present day Luhya land before settling in Nyanza.

The West Central Africa to Nyanza migration route is more acceptable than the Egypt to Nyanza migration route.

Do Kisiis have some of their relatives in Egypt?

Some sources claim that Abagusii came from Egypt. These further indicate that the Kisii people assimilated to the Bantu way of life, after years of interactions.

Even so, there are no documented relatives of the Kisii people in Egypt. Most historians disagree that Abagusii came from Egypt.

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What does Kisii mean?

The name Kisii originate from the colonial era and has since been used to mean the land of diversity.

Some historians argue that Kisii is a Swahili term with no direct meaning in the local language.

It is the colonial masters who named the tribesmen as “Abagusii.” Its derivative form “Kisii” arrived much later.

The singular form of Kisii is Mkisii while in popularity is Wakisii. Local alternatives are Omogusii and Abagusii.

What does Bosongo mean?

The word Bosongo comes from “Abasongo,” a Kisii word meaning white men.

Bosongo is another popular name for Kisii Town meaning a white people settlement.

Among early settlers in Kisii town were British soldiers. As a result, the urban spot earned its name as a white settlement.

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How many Kisii are there in Kenya?

Kisii population census 2019 estimates Kisii County population at 1,266,860 and Nyamira county population at 605,576.

The Kisii tribe population is growing at an alarming and will likely surpass these limits in the upcoming census exercises.  

The Kisii tribe in Tanzania and Kenya share so much in common including language and physical appearances. Above all, the Kisii population is even higher given that the diaspora community is now in every part of the world.

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