The Akamba

The Akamba

  • The Akamba, In the 1850’s, the Akamba had established themselves as the most active long distance traders in the whole of Kenya.
  • They occupied a dry area, lived a semi nomadic life and because of the poor soils they resorted to trade.
  • They started trading with their neighbours e.g. Nyika, Embu, and Kikuyu hence getting access to the coast.
  • The Kamba controlled the northern trade route and their major outlets were Mombasa and Pangani.
  • With the development of the L.D.T, the Kamba became very active in slave trade and Ivory trade.
  • They also supplied other items e.g. Tobacco, rhinoceros horns and wax to coastal traders.
  • The Kamba were also skilled in Iron working such that they produced spears and arrows poisoned with snake poison.
  • The Akamba also opened bases on their land to supply food to the passing caravan traders.
  • The Akamba with their middle man position of the northern route provided relevant information in form of guards and guides.
  • Under leaders like chief kivoi, the Akamba were encouraged to join long distance trade.
  • They built a large commercial empire between Mt. Kenya and Mt. Kilimanjaro.

The Yao

  • The Yao were found in southern Tanganyika and they controlled the Southern trade route.
  • The Yao were among the 1st people to participate in the L.D.T with their neighbours and the coastal merchants.
  • The Yao were good slave raiders after learning military tactics of the Ngoni.
  • They became a major source of slaves to the merchants.
  • The Yao also served as middlemen connecting the interior tribes around Lake Malawi especially through Kilwa.
  • Most of the Yao had embraced Islam hence they established good trading relations with the coastal merchants.
  • Under powerful chiefs like Mpanda and Mataka i.e. the Yao were able to set up a strong empire and this encouraged many people to participate in the trade.
  • Yao also served as porters in the trade because they were good at traveling long distances.
  • Some of the Yao had learned Kiswahili through their contacts with the Arabs hence they acted as interpreters and translators in bargaining between the coastal Arabs and the interior tribes.
  • They also provided food stuffs, beverages to the passing caravans.
  •  They also provided lodging facilities /accommodation to the traders.