Kalenjin Tribe in Kenya



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Origin The Kalenjin people of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania had the role of defending Egypt,up to the time of Herodotus. When Herodotus visited Egypt during the 5th century BCE, he encountered a sub-nati

Kalenjin Tribe in Kenya Description

Origin

The Kalenjin people of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania had the role of defending Egypt,up to the time of Herodotus. When Herodotus visited Egypt during the 5th century BCE, he encountered a sub-nation of Egypt known as Sebenitus.
Until the 40s, all Kalenjin were known by fourth names namely Sebei, Sabaot, Miot and Midian. Scholars from the community coined the word, Kalenjin, meaning I tell you to unite all the sub-nations of the tribe. Sebei and Sabaot now live around Mt. Elgon in Western Kenya and Eastern Uganda. It is possible that Herodotus misspelled the word, Sebenitus, which should have been either Sebei or Sabaot.
Even the Bible confirms the presence of the Sebei (Kalenjin). Job 1:5 says “…and the Sabeans fell upon and took them away.” Ezekiel also wrote about the Kalenjins (Sabeans), a sub-tribe of Ancient Egyptians. ze:23:42 says, “..and a voice of multitude being at ease was with her, and with the men of the common sort were brought Sabeans from the wilderness which put bracelets upon their hands and beautiful crowns upon their heads.”

Leadership Hierarchy

Most political action took place in thekokwet,or council of the locality (today, sub-location council). Theoretically, any married man could be an active participant; in fact, a small group of influential elders formed the core. Women could observe—but not speak unless invited. Local councils sent representatives to occasional meetings of pororiet councils. Such councils continue to be important under the leadership of a government-appointed sub-location chief.

Popular Cultural Events

Traditionally, music and dance served many functions. Songs accompanied many work-related activities, including, for men, herding livestock and digging the fields, and, for women, grinding corn, washing clothes, and putting babies to sleep (with lullabies). Music was also an integral part of ceremonial occasions such as births, initiations, and weddings. Dances for these occasions were performed while wearing ankle bells and were accompanied by traditional instruments such as flutes, horns, and drums.

The social structure of a Kalenjin village is based on the “age-set”, like other tribes such as the Masai. Rites of passage, such as initiation and circumcision, take place every seven years. Young people tend to bond with others in their age-set,

Location and Size

The population of the Kalenjin Tribe is about 3 million being the fourth largest ethnic group in Kenya. This tribe is traditionally pastoral and is made up of about 10 sub-groups. The largest sub-group is the Nandi. The Kalenjin live primarily in Kenya. They are an ethnic grouping of eight culturally and linguistically related groups or “tribes”: the Kipsigis, Nandi, Tugen, Keiyo, Marakwet, Pokot (sometimes called the Suk), Sabaot (who live in the Mount Elgon region, overlapping the Kenya/Uganda border), and the Terik. Their present-day homeland is Kenya’s western highlands and the Rift Valley.

 


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