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The kaya forests are a major feature of Kenya’s coastal strip. They were originally residential sites, the earliest founded in the sixteenth century, but are now regarded as sacred − and endangered. They play a central role in the identity and imagination the Mijikenda, a group linguistically related to the Bantu.
IRD researchers and the Kenyan scientific authorities have revealed the historical and symbolic value of the kaya in the region around Mombasa. Their goal is to protect them and encourage local communities to get involved in managing their heritage.