Digo people

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Total population
Regions with significant populations
African Traditional Religion, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Mijikenda, other Bantu peoples

The Digo are an ethnic and linguistic group based near the Indian Ocean coast between Mombasa in southern Kenya and Tanga in northern Tanzania. In 1994 the Digo population was estimated to total 305,000, with 217,000 ethnic Digo living in Kenya and 88,000 (1987 estimate) in Tanzania.[2] Digo people speak the Digo language, called Chidigo by speakers, a Bantu language. They are part of the greater Mijikenda ethnic group of people which contains nine smaller groups or tribes, including the Duruma, Giriama, and others.

Digo women do a tremendous amount of labor, but excluded from participating in politics, religion, kinship issues, and major economic transactions. Their culture generally regards women as childlike and irresponsible. Spirit possession sometimes occurs among the women. The Digo refer to the spirits in question as shaitani. The shaitani typically demands luxury items to make the patient well again. Despite the fact that men sometimes accuse women of faking the possessions in order to get luxury items, attention, and sympathy, they do generally regard spirit possession as genuine condition and view victims of it as being ill through no fault of their own. However, sometimes men suspect women of actively colluding with spirits in order to be possessed.[3]


  1. ^ http://www.knbs.or.ke/censusethnic.php
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Gomm, Roger 1975 Bargaining from Weakness: Spirit Possession on the South Kenya Coast Man, New Series: 10 (4):530-543