[Photo: Courtesy]

That some towns in Kenya given names of the owner of the nearest home.

That is how Machakos was named after Paramount chief Masaku Wa Munyeti who was Paul Ngei’s grandfather.

The name ‘Machakos’ is a corruption of the name ‘Masaku’. The mzungu colonialists used to add the letter‘s’ to denote who owns the town.

Another town that derived its name this way is Oyugis. Located in Homabay County, the town got its name when the colonial administrators decided to form an outpost between Kisumu and Kisii town.

They appointed one Oyugi Bala as the first colonial chief in 1907. The mzungu added the letter ‘s’ to his name hence ‘Oyugis.


Next to benefit was Paramount Chief  Nabongo Mumia whose name was given to the current Mumias town.

Just round the corner there was another famous road junction leading into the Abakhayo land. A white man called ‘Mathews’ had a temporary sojourn there.

At first the local Luhya called the place ‘Wa Matayo’ then ‘Matayo’ before the colonialists added their magic ‘s’ to call it ‘Matayos’. 

The founding chief of Muchakuthi in Kirinyaga was called ‘Gutu’ which means ‘ear’ in Kikuyu.

To anglicise the name, the locals named the town after the local chief Gutu then the ‘s’ completed what we currently call Kutus.


Lastly we go down south to a town located several kilometres away from Mombasa called Mazeras.

The local Duruma had a Chief called Mazera who lived where the present town is. Caravan traders quickly adopted the name for the place which we now know as Mazeras.

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