Kabras / Kabarasi

The Kabras, or Kabarasi, are a tribe of Kenya. They are a Bantu-related group. They raise and keep livestock as well as farming maize, sugar cane and other crops.

The Kabras, or Kabarasi, are a subtribe of the Luhya people of Kenya. They reside in Malava that is in the Kabras Division of Kakamega District, which is neighboured by the Isukha, Banyala, Tsotso, and the Tachoni. The exact origin of the Luhya people is currently disputed, but there are historians who believe that the group came from Central and West Africa and migrated to their present-day location by way of the so-called Great Bantu Migration.

The Kabras dialect called Lukabaras is similar to Tachoni. However, the Kabras have spread to other regions as a result of intermarriages and movement to seek greener pasture in formal employment. These people are described as adaptable, easily absorbing other culture's values and beliefs. This can be demonstrated in the way many Kabras practice the Christian and Muslim faiths. One notable cultural practice involves circumcision and pride-price required for marriage.

Kabrasi clans were named after the heads of the families. They include Avasira, Avatali, Abawande, Abamutama, Basonje, Abakhusia, Bamachina, Abashu, Abamutsembi, Baluu, Batobo, Bachetsi, and Bamakangala. Along with 17 other Luhya subtribes, the Kabras constitute 14 percent of the Kenyan population, making the ethnic group the second largest in the country, next to the Kikuyu.

Before the colonial era, the Kabaras were under the rulership of Nabongo Mumia, the king of the Wanga. They were represented by an elder in his Council of Elders. The last known elder in the king's council was Soita Libukana Samaramarami. The Kabaras are said to have originally been Banyala.

When Quaker missionaries came to Kenya in the early part of the twentieth century, they spread out to Kabaras from Kaimosi in Tiriki.During the British colonization, the Kabras - along with the Wanga tribe - collaborated with the colonialists. These tribes, especially the Bukusu, which waged strong resistance to the invaders, avoided the fate of most of the Luhya people, who lost their fertile lands to the British colonial rule.


Economic activities

Kabras people are farmers, practicing livestock rearing and crop farming. The main cash crop is Sugarcane, which is harvested and taken to West Kenya Sugar Company as well as Mumias Sugar Company. With the decreasing demand for sugar cane due to shutting down of local companies, the Kabras have resorted to other crop farming and livestock rearing.