Gikuyu Concept of Wealth
Land and Wealth
A wealthy person would usually have extensive land holdings, and often would have extended family and ahoi living and working on their land. Such a person had absolute rights over their land and, as such, were the closest the Gikuyu had to the concept of a “chief” or “big man.” However, the power of a wealthy person was limited to the borders of their own land and whatever position they may have held on the local council of elders.
Because land was purchased but not sold to other Gikuyu, the ownership of cattle, sheep, and goats was the true indication of wealth. Without these there was no possibility of marriage, payment to elders for legal proceedings, purchase of land, or status among the other clans.
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