The Pokomo are part of the Bantu, East-Coastal People Cluster. They are divided into two groups; the Lower Pokomo and the Upper Pokomo. They speak the Kipokomo language. They live in the flood plain of the Tana River, the largest river in Kenya, from its mouth at Kipini to Mbalambala, north of Garissa, in Tana River County. Inhabiting the area since the 17th century, these people have learned to accommodate themselves to the flooding river and benefit from the silt and water that these floods provide. They are an agricultural and fishing community, growing crops such as maize, plantains, sugarcane, and rice.
They were approximately 112,075 in 2019, with 75% of the population being the Upper pokomo and 25% being lower pokomo. The major difference between the two groups, apart from the dialect, is religion. The Upper Pokomo are mostly Muslims, while the Lower Pokomo are largely Christians. German missionaries began preaching in pokomo by 1887, and by 1914, the lower pokomos had adapted Christianity, but the upper pokomo remained Muslim. Methodist missionaries took over from German, and they became the dominant denomination. Other denominations include AIC, Catholic, and Pentecostal, among others.
Bible translation in the Pokomo language started in 1985, with the New Testament being completed in 2005. It is with great joy that, after 38 years, the Pokomo complete Bible is now completed and in use by the Pokomo community.
Bible Translation & Literacy is a Christian organization that was established in 1981 to facilitate Bible translation.
November 14, 2023
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