Course/organisation of the Bantu migrations  

The Bantu entered E.A in different groups each using its own route.

  • The first group was the western Bantu (Interlacustrine Bantu).
  • This was the first group of the Bantu to migrate into East Africa.
  • They formed the largest group of the Bantu to migrate to East Africa.
  • They entered East Africa through the West from the Niger-Congo basin.
  • They used the route between Lake Albert and Lake Edward.
  • They settled around the North West shores of Lake Victoria.
  • They are believed to have migrated between (1000—1300 A.D).
  • The Bantu in this group gave rise to such as Baganda, Banyoro, Batoro, and Bakiga.
  • The other Bantu moved to the Eastern and Western Kenya giving birth to Bagishu and Luyia.
  • The central and Northern Tanzania Bantu;
  • They formed the second group of the Bantu to enter E.A.
  • They also entered East Africa through the West from the Niger-Congo basin.
  •  They used the route between L. Edward and Tanganyika.
  • They formed some tribes like the Sukuma Nyamwezi, Zinza, and Gogo.
  • Their migration took place between 1000—1300 A.D.
  • The coastal and highland Bantu.
  • They are also known as the Eastern Bantu.
  • They settled along the coast and highland hence the name coastal and highland Bantu.
  • They are a continuation of the Central and Northern Tanzania Bantu.
  •  They crossed the dry Tanganyika plateau between 1000 – 1300 A.D.
  • These comprise of that group of Bantu that continued with their migration and crossed the Taita hills and Mt. Kilimanjaro.
  • The Chagga, Taita, Pare decided to settle around these hills permanently and came to be known as the highland Bantu.
  • The Pokomo, Giryama, Nyika and Segeju moved north wards along the coast to Shungwaya.
  • At Shungwaya, there was dispersal due to pressure from the Galla and Somali community.
  •  Due to pressure, the Nyika moved southwards along the coast.
  • These came to be known as the coastal Bantu.
  • Another group of the Eastern Bantu was forced away from Shungwaya to the Kenyan highland.
  • This group included the Chuka/Kikuyu, Kamba and Embu.
  • The southern Tanzania Bantu.
  • These formed the fourth group of the Bantu migration into E.A.
  • Their migration took place between 1000—1300A.D.
  • They entered East Africa through the West from the Niger-Congo basin.
  • They used the route between Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika.
  • They settled in Southern Tanganyika in areas such as Ruvuma, Songea and Mbeya.
  • They included Hehe, Yao, Pogoro, Zaramo, Makonde, Bena, Ngindo, Gogo and Rufigi.
  • The Ngoni: Around 1840, another Bantu group moved into East Africa and these were the Nguni who came from South Africa and formed the last wave of the Bantu migration into E. Africa.

Effects of the Bantu migrations

  • They introduced iron working and use of iron tools like hoes, pangas, and axes.
  • The Bantu introduced the growing of crops on a large scale with the help of iron tools.
  • Population increased in the area were the Bantu settled this also meant that there was increased food production.
  • The Bantu also introduced new food crops in E.A e.g. Bananas, Beans, Yams e.t.c today many tribes still depend on these food crops.
  • They introduced new farming methods e.g. mulching, shifting cultivation, irrigation.
  • They introduced new languages in E.A for example Luganda, Lusoga, and Runyankole.
  • The Bantu absorbed most of the tribes they met in E.A especially the Bushmen and Cushites. Some who refused to be absorbed migrated to other areas.
  • The Bantu in some cases abandoned their cultures and copied those of the people they met, e.g. circumcision among the Bagishu, age set system, pastoralism.
  • The Bantu displaced some people in E.A. especially those in fertile areas e.g. Ngoni displaced the Yao in their fertile lands in southern Tanzania.
  • They introduced a new system of building permanent houses e.g. they built round grass thatched houses.
  • There were intermarriages between the Bantu who settled along the coast with the coastal Arabs giving birth to the Swahili people.
  • The Bantu introduced a new system of centralized administration in E.A which led to the formation of kingdoms e.g. Buganda, Ankole, Bunyoro, Nyamwezi e.t.c.
  • The Bantu led to clashes over land with the communities that they met in E.A.