Kikuyu is small town located 21 Kilometres west of Nairobi. It is one of those thriving ‘bedroom’ towns [together with Ngong, Rongai, Kitengela/Athi River, Tala, Ruiru, Kiambu and Limuru] where a lot of the people working in the city live -enjoying the proximity to the city and the sense of a somewhat rural feeling.
It is not clear where the name of the town came from but early stories suggest that the area signalled the begining of the land settled on by the Agikuyu as one moved away from Nairobi in the westerly direction. Sometime, the area is generally known as Kabete but the two names have been used interchangeably for a long time.
Given the name of the town is also the name of an ethnic group in Kenya, Kikuyu is a place you dont want to be. It can sound like an exclusive enclave for a speciific people group but that is not the case. That the politics of the day seem to ride on ethnic sentiment, makes the name a turn off for most. However, it is not the only town to bear a name of an ethnic group – if that is any consolation.
Kikuyu is actually a cosmopolitan town that is occupied by many people of different ethnic and indeed racial background. The small manufacturing [Pharmaceutical, Oil Refining, Steel Rolling and Food Processing] industries employ people from all over the country. That Kikuyu hosts major national institutions such Alliance High Schools, Presbyterian Hospital and University, UoN Campus among others, has also helped it to shed the ethnic tag and to be respected as an important town.
Kikuyu has a rich history right from being a major mission station for Presbetyrian Missionaries from CSM to a colonial railway station [originally it was known as ‘ceceni’ } It has had its fair share of contribution to the national story. More to come.
By Rev. Mungai Macharia