Kikuyu in 2009
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Kikuyu is one of the indigenous towns in Kiambu County which grew from the settlement of the colonialist missionaries and the presence of a rail Station. Some of the residents of the area till to date still refer to the town as Shesheni a term coined from the word Station meaning the Railway Station. It is within the County of Kiambu and one of the regions registering fast growth. The town is located about 20 km (12 mi) northwest of central Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Kikuyu hosts a Sub-County Administration which is the administrative division in Kiambu County. In addition, the town also hosts a Magistrate court, Police Station, Sub county Commissioner, Constituency Office, Ministerial department offices like Agriculture, Immigrations and Registration of Persons, Health, Lands and Gender among others. It is about 20 minutes from Nairobi via a number of routes, including a dual carriage road, and it has a railway station on the Mombasa – Malaba Railway Line. With the recent construction and completion of the Southern Bypass that Connects Mombasa road to Nairobi Naivasha Highway at Gitaru Via Kikuyu, the town is poised for greater growth by the fact that it is the only town that is on the Bypass.
Transport to the capital and other places is available in form of matatus, minibuses and trains. It is also conveniently served through most Taxi – Cab services with rates averaging Kshs 1800 – 2500 (as of Jan 2016). Many institutions have developed in this town, including a major eye unit hospital, a Christian university, and many primary and secondary schools. Recreational facilities and accommodations include Sigona Golf Club, the Wida Highway Motel, Kari Holiday Retreat Center, and the PCEA Lay Training Center. It has developed into an industrial town that boasts many factories that range from the metallic to the medical sector.
The town is named after Kĩkũyũ people, the major ethnicity that has settled in the area. As of 2009 the total population is 233,231. Due to its geology and rich soil texture, there is much livestock and crop farming. In 2009 the population had grown to 190,208 people.
The town has some British colonial history links like the Right Reverend Musa Gitau (Swahili for Moses Gitau), an African believer in democracy who led among the first Christian faithful during colonial times. He lived and worked in the town as a reverend and in his honour two schools were named after him.
Institutions within Kikuyu
Some of the major institutions in Kikuyu are;
1. Research Institutions
Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), and Kenya Trypnomiasis Research Institute (KETRI)
2. Academic Institutions
University of Nairobi – Kikuyu Campus which hosts the College of Education and External Studies. It also hosts the Presbyterian University of Eastern Africa (PUEA), Thogoto Teachers Training College, Kikuyu Commercial College, Vantage Teachers College and Kismart College among others.
3. Corporate Institutions
Among the corporate institutions include; Steel Rolling Mills, Universal Corporation, Magana Roses, Textplast Industries Ltd, Panda Security Guards and Polypipes Limited among others.
Kikuyu is home to two National High Schools; Alliance High School and Alliance Girls High School. It also has several day and boarding schools including Rungiri Secondary School, Uthiru Girls High School, Kikuyu Day Secondary School, Musa Gitau High School, Kirangari High School, Green Garden Girls High School, Star Sheikh Academies and Mary Leakey Girls Secondary School (named after the famous Leakey family of archaeologists).
Primary schools include Kikuyu Township Primary School, The Green Garden Schools, Jeverden Highlands Academy, St. Veronica I.L.C, Kidfarmaco Primary School, Musa Gitau Primary School, Uthiru Genesis School, Muthiga Academy, Damacrest Schools, Fairlawns Primary School, Utafiti Primary School,Kandeng'wa Primary School,Kid Zone School, Valley Crest Academy and Gacio Junior Academy.
There are several historical sites within the town, such as the underground caves dug by Indian coollies when constructing the Kenya-Uganda railway. These caves are found just below the town under the railway facing Magana farm. Other sites include the graves of two explorers who were killed by lions in the 19th century at Kanyariri, a few meters from where Fort Smith was situated; the Undiri swamp, and the PCEA Church of the torch, the first building at Thogoto.
- Kabete, a town in the Kikuyu division
- Kenya: Provinces, Major Cities, Municipalities, Towns & Urban Centres – Statistics & Maps on City Population. Citypopulation.de. Retrieved 22 June 2012.