Boni – Forgotten People of Lamu

Lamu Town is historic, the oldest Swahili settlement town founded perhaps around the fourteenth century. It was one of many trading locations along East Africa and survived invasion by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century. A mix of African, Arab, European, Indian and other influences, it has a unique history and is on the World Heritage List.

The Boni people of Lamu Island, however, are languishing. According to the article “The forgotten people of Lamu“, the Boni are on the verge of extinction, inhabiting only five locations in small numbers.

According to the article, they speak Hargan, a name not recognized in the Ethnologue. This may be the language Boni or a dialect of it.

Daniel Stiles has written an article about the Boni, which appear to be the same people.


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