Apparently the people of Pate are light-skinned and still look like Chinese despite it being 600 or so years since Zheng He's journeys. American journalist and New York Times correspondent Nicholas Kristof visited Pate in 1999 and there one village elder told him, "Many, many years ago, there was a ship from China that wrecked on the rocks off the coast near here...The Chinese were visitors, so we helped those Chinese men and gave them food and shelter.” The elder also told Kristof to visit the village of Shanga on another part of the island and it was there that Kristof met a man who looked Chinese. This man told him that he was of the Famao clan and that according to a legend, they were descended from Chinese after a Chinese ship wrecked on their shores. He explained that after the sailors of the damaged ship swan to the shore, they married local woman hence the Chinese-looking Famao. Another person told Kristof the Africans gave the Chinese some giraffes. I'm sure I'm not the only person who finds this telling, while someone may brush away these people's claim to Chinese ancestry, it is a fact that Africans were exporting giraffes (and other exotic animals such as zebras) to China.
Furthermore, the people in Shanga not only bury their dead in Chinese-style "turtle shell graves,” but also beat their drums to Chinese rhythms, speak a dialect with some Chinese words, they tell stories that are Chinese folklore and practice a form of basket weaving found in southern China. Interesting. Apparently there was also a thriving silk-making industry based uniquely in Pate until about half a century ago.
I came across this thread posted in a forum while searching for more information on the Shanga and Famao of Pate Islands. If you click on the link to the forum you really only need to read the first post.The original article being discussed has since been deleted but from the little information I got from reading that thread it was about the Famao people as well.
This legend speak of two Chinese ships from Zheng He's fleet hit rocks off the coast of Kenya. 20 or 100 Chinese men, the number varies, swam ashore and sought refuge with the people on Pate island. The people of the island gave the Chinese men two conditions, they could stay only if they were able to kill a big python that was terrorizing the people of the island and they would have to become Muslims. Luckily for the stranded sailors, one of them happened to be a master swordsman, he was able to lure the python out of the cave in which it resided and killed it. With this, the Chinese sailors settled, converted to Islam and married local woman. It seems that even today, one can find tombstones with Chinese inscription on the island.
A few young people from the island who claim to have Chinese ancestry have been given full scholarships by the Chinese government to study in Beijing. One of these young people is Mwamaka Sharifu from the Lamu Island.
Really haters gon hate, a few articles I've come across doubt Sharifu's claim of Chinese ancestry despite the fact that DNA tests are involved and both historical evidence and oral traditions point to high possibilities of this Chinese shipwreck. Oh well, Sharifu got to study abroad on a scholarship and will most likely end up using the skills she's gained to help her people so, in the end she wins.