Introduction / History The Duruma people live on the semi-arid plains, one mountain range inland from the seacoast of eastern Kenya. The large city of Mombasa is the closest place Duruma may interact with other peoples. They are a mostly self-sufficient farming group with certain members becoming active traders with the outside world. All homesteads are members of one of 14 clans. Clan membership is determined by birth and not subject to change; the bride joins the husband's clan if differs from hers. Marriage within homesteads is discouraged but most marriages are within the 14 clans.
Each family unit is affiliated with one of the 14 clans. Males take care of families and they control the farming. Males also hunt wild animals and herd their domestic animals (i.e. cattle, sheep, goats and chickens). Boys help with this. Women do all household work assisted by girls and also do a great deal of the farming.
Land is owned by the clan, not by individuals. The sons inherit land from their fathers including any goods or money they may have. Daughters do not receive any part of the inheritance.
Visitors can be initiated into one of the 14 clans of his own choice if they pay a subscribed fee to the panel of elders of that clan (normally a goat and a guard of liquor, which is equivalent to 20 liters). Such a visitor is even entitled to land of that clan, and can even use the names of that clan in his family. But for the land he is given, he is not supposed to plant permanent crops like coconuts, cashews, mangoes, citrus fruits and the like. After staying for a period of twenty years or more, such a visitor can be considered as one of the clansmen, but it will depend on his extent of respect and how he has lived peacefully with the clansmen who invited him.