The Kisumu city

The Kisumu city : After Nairobi, the country’s capital, and Mombasa, Kisumu is the third-largest city in Kenya. Following Kampala, it is the second-largest city in the Lake Victoria Basin. There are a little more than 600,000 people living in the city. It is one of Kenya’s prime industrial and economic hubs in addition to being a significant political city. Additionally, it is a metropolis of intellect with a high concentration of PhDs. The city’s downtown and lower town are currently undergoing urban renewal, which includes updating the lake front, decongesting important streets, and making the streets pedestrian-friendly. Kisumu is the hub of the Luo culture in East Africa. For residents of the Kavirondo region, it was the most important urban centre during the pre-, post-, and modern eras. Before having its name changed back, it was briefly known as Port Florence.

The city currently serves as the seat of Kisumu County’s government and was formerly the immediate capital of the long-gone Nyanza Province. Due to its rail and water links, it plays a significant role in the commercial route between Lake Victoria and Mombasa. It serves as the principal terminal for the agricultural products of the Western and Nyanza regions. There are frequent flights from Kisumu International Airport to Mombasa, Nairobi, and other nearby cities. The first “Millennium City” in both East Africa and the rest of the globe, Kisumu is now acknowledged by the UN as a significant city.

It rises 1,131 metres (3,711 feet) above sea level. On the beaches of Lake Victoria, Kisumu lies 320 kilometres (200 miles) northwest of Nairobi.It is located at the northernmost point of the Winam Gulf, a long, shallow arm of Lake Victoria that extends from the main body of the lake. Kisumu lies 24 kilometres (15 miles) south of the equator and experiences moderate temperatures because to its elevation.

The metro area consists of the city, as well as the satellite towns of Maseno, Kondele, and Ahero.

The History of Kisumu city

One of Kenya’s oldest towns is thought to be Kisumu city. Kisumu was ruled by many communities at various times long before Europeans arrived, according to historical documents. At the tip of Lake Victoria, people from the Nandi, Kalenjin, Kisii, Maasai, Luo, and Luhya clans gathered. They gave the location the name “sumo,” which signifies a location for barter exchange. It has several names in each community, for example:

The Luo termed it “Kisumo,” which they used to refer to “a place to look for food,” and they would say “I’m going Kisuma” to indicate that they were going to do so.

The Luhya would say “I’m going Khusuma” to indicate “I’m going to borrow food” because the Abaluhya termed it “Abhasuma,” which means “a place to borrow food.”

Its name, “egesumu,” which means “a structure for keeping/rearing chicken,” was given by the Abagusii. The Abagusii are thought to have been in Kisumu but left because they felt the city was unsuitable for farming and crop husbandry.

It was known by the Nandi as “Kisumett,” which is Arabic for “a spot where food was obtained during times of scarcity and trade, and which cannot be attacked by Nandi and Terik regardless of any problem.

Agriculture-related product processing, brewing, and textile production are the main industries. After gaining independence in 1963, the proportion of Asians in the population fell from more than one-fourth.

The Uganda Railway was then being built, and the British explorers discovered Kisumu as a potential alternate railway terminus and port. It was intended to take the position of Port Victoria, which was once a significant hub along the caravan trade route close to the Nzoia River delta. At the end of the caravan route from Pemba, Mombasa, and Malindi, Kisumu was perfectly situated on the shores of Lake Victoria, on the edge of the Winam Gulf, and had the potential to be connected to the entire Lake region by steamers. The initial skeleton plan for Kisumu was created in July 1899.This comprised docks and landing areas along the northern lakefront, close to Airport Road today. The plan also includes boundaries for public buildings and retail establishments.

In May 1900, a new design was created, and plots were given to a few European businesses as well as to Indian traders who had come to Kisumu on work assignments for the construction of the Uganda Railway and had made the decision to settle at the growing terminus. A flying boat jetty, now utilised by the Fisheries Department, was part of a later plan. The Lake Marine Services got its start in October 1900 when the 62-ton ship SS William Mackinnon, which had been rebuilt and registered in Kisumu, made its first trip to Entebbe. Later additions to the fleet included the SS Winifred (1901) and the SS Sybil (1901) in 1902 and 1904, respectively. The railway line arrived at the Kisumu pier on Friday, December 20, 1901, and changed its name to Port Florence.

The railway line had been made available for the conveyance of both passengers and freight by February 1903.The current police workshop served as Kenya’s first hangar, and Kisumu had the honour of hosting the country’s inaugural flight. Before the advent of jet airlines, the city served as a stopover for passengers and mail travelling by British flying boats from Southampton to Cape Town. Kisumu connected Port Bell and Nairobi as well. In the meanwhile, it became clear that the township’s initial location, north of the Nyanza Gulf, was inappropriate for the town’s growth due to its level topography and low soils. As a result, a different spot was found, and the town was relocated to the ridge on the Gulf’s southern shore, where it is today. As a result, a new plan that supplied the fundamental layout of the new settlement on the southern crest was created in 1902. The construction of several government buildings followed, including the Old Prison (currently designated for the construction of an Anglican cathedral) and the old Provincial Commissioner’s Office (now State Lodge).

The Kisumu city
The Kisumu city

The boundaries of the township were gazetted in 1903, and 4,900 hectares (12,000 acres), including water, were set aside for construction. In place of Port Florence, the new township went back to using its previous name, Kisumu. North of the Gulf, on Mumias Road, there was a section of town known as “Old Kisumu” that was made up of two rows of stalls (Dukas). It was destroyed in the 1920s when new properties on Odera and Ogada Streets in modern-day Kisumu became available; as a result, the new location came to be known as “New Bazaar.” Kisumu was a stop by Winston Churchill in 1907.

The city had developed into a major hub for business, government, and military sites by the 1930s and 1940s. Asians made up a disproportionately larger portion of the population in the 1960s compared to natives. In 1940, the town was upgraded to a municipal board, and in 1960, to a municipal council. Kisumu saw relatively little development in the early 1960s, and there was a severe lack of homes, businesses, and offices. The migration of locals into the town after the country’s declaration of independence in 1963 only served to worsen the issue.

In 1977, the East African Community’s dissolution caused a temporary slowdown in the city’s growth and prosperity. But the community’s 1996 reformation and its classification as a “city” gave the city a boost. The expansion of global trade and business, as well as shipping of goods to Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, have all boosted the port’s activity.

Kisumu is currently one of Kenya’s cities with the quickest growth rates. Because of its abundant natural resources and status as the commercial hub of Kenya, it is booming thanks to the sugar and rice irrigation sectors.

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