The founding of Mombasa is associated with two rulers: Mwana Mkisi and Shehe Mvita. According to legend, Mwana Mkisi is the original ancestor of Mombasa’s oldest lineages within Thenashara Taifa (or Twelve Nations). Families associated with the Twelve Nations are still considered the original inhabitants of the city. Mwana Mkisi was a queen from the pre-Islamic era, who founded Kongowea, the original urban settlement on Mombasa Island. Importantly, both of these names have linguistic and spiritual connections with Central Africa. “Mkisi” is considered the personification of “ukisi” which means “the holy” in kiKongo.
Below is a video of this forgotten Queen and her role in establishing Mombasa.