Greetings in Kenya

Published: 09th July 2010
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The most common greeting is the handshake. Depending on the relationship you have with the other person, the handshake will differ. For a close friend, the handshake is very firm and might be prolonged. For a casual acquaintance, the handshake is not prolonged. When greeting someone older than you or some dignitary, you are supposed to grasp the right wrist with the left hand and you might bend a bit to show respect to the person. Female friends may hug and kiss on each cheek but for men, this may be seen as awkward.

Once you have shaken hands, it is customary to ask questions such as how the other person's health, family and business is. It is customary to give the other person as much time as possible and greetings are not hurried. Hurrying the greeting process is deemed as having poor manners. The most common greeting is 'How are you', which can be translated to over 61 different tongues but it all means the same.

Children are supposed to show respect to older folks and can only talk when addressed. They cannot refer to an adult by there name but as aunty or uncle. There are special greetings in every community depending on the age and relationship of the persons. Mostly, a person is referred by his academic qualification, or as the parent of so as so but not by there real name. Even in marriege, the husband is not supposed to refer to his wife by name but he should call her the mother of his children. So is the wife.

Dickson is the Chief Tour Guide and one of the Directors of Adventure Africa Expedition, he has traveled in many countries in Africa where he built the spirit of adventure and discovered nature hidden wonders in especially tailored walking trails like in Kisoro in Rwanda and Bwindi in Uganda both for Gorilla tracking. For more information on his work please visit

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