Have ever wondered how funny local names like ‘Kawangware’ came to be?

1. Ruaka- “Rui rua aka” Meaning “River of women”

2. Dagoretti- “Ndagurite” Meaning a place that’s not yet bought as Karen Blixen had already the rest of the area.

3. Rumuruti (in Laikipia)- The town was on the route from Nyahururu to Mararal which was commonly used by white settlers. They referred to the trail between the two settlements as a “Remote route”

4. Kapropita (In Baringo)- A settler known as “Corporal Peter” lived in the area.

5. Kirigiti (Kiambu)- There was a popular cricket field there, locals could not pronounce “Cricket” hence the name Kirigiti.

6. Roysambu- The place was known as “Royal Suburbs” during the colonial times.

7. Kariakor- During the First World War a contingent of Africans were in the British army as carrying luggage. “The Carrier Corps” and would meet in the present Kariakor!

8. Msongari- The name was “Muthangari” and an area in Lavington still maintains that name. The name was a bit tuff for the settlers and they pronounced it as “Msongari”.

9. Limuru- corruption from a Maasai word ilmur which means donkey droppings and even today there’s lots of it there!


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10. Naivasha = Enaiposha – meaning the lake in Masai.

11. Nakuru = Nakurro – meaning a dust bowl – dusty place in Masai.

12. Nyahururu – Enaiwurruwurr – meaning windy or place of storms. Also means some plant in Masai.

13. Banana (Kiambu) Lots of bananas were bought and sold along that area.

14. Kinoo- There was a very large sign that read “NO THROUGH WAY”. The Kikuyu living in the area would refer to the area as “haria hee Ki-no.


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15. Kabarnet- The town is named after a missionary called Barnet, from Alsace, France.

16. Kawangware- Named after the Man called Ngware. He opened the 1st shop there in 60s and Kikuyus would say (ndathii gatuka-ini KA+WA+NGWARE) “I have gone to shop at Ngware’s shop”

17. Kilifi- Great Cliffs in that area.

18. Mathare – African labourers would be dropped there by white and told ‘go to your motherland’ so they called the place Mathare.

19.Rodikopani – A major junction as one heads from Rongo to HomaBay town. A Road Company had its operation base there long time ago.

 20. Thogoto – the kikuyu tongue could not pronunce ‘Scot’, name of a group of white missionaries whow established the Church of Scotland near Kikuyu hospital where The Church of Torch currently stands. We know the popular mainstream denomination as PCEA.


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