Category Archives: About Kenya

Kenya’s “Little Italy”

Visiting  Malindi for the first time, one would be forgiven for thinking to be in some part of Italy and rightfully so…one glimpse at this coastal town and everything Italian is conspicuous; Italian restaurants, hotels, bakeries and so on. As a matter of fact, there are more than 2,500 Italian-owned properties in the town including residences, supermarkets, barber shops, butcheries, and other small businesses. What’s more, the locals who by the way speak fluent Italian, will warmly welcome you with a “Ciao Bella” with kids joyfully shouting “Ciao, Ciao”.

bakery Italian bakery

Italian culture is rife in Malindi. More and more Italians are either taking up residence or visiting the town annually. Today around 4,000 Italians are permanent residents, while 30,000 tourists visit each year. There is only one foreign consulate in Malindi — it represents Italy. Italian is probably the third most widely spoken language here, after Kiswahili and English. Goes to show just how deep the culture has seeped in “little Milan”. In fact many local businesses now advertise in Italian, alongside either English or Kiswahili. There has also been the mushrooming of many Italian language centers.

gelato-storeGelato store

For a taste of good pizza, fine Italian wine, gelato and great Italian conversations, Malindi or better yet “Little Italy” is the place to be.

With such a high profile list of visitors to Malindi, the owner of Suli Suli Hotel which was later renamed Bougan Village, the late Duranti Camillo, may long have passed on and his body interred at the Malindi Christian Cemetery but his legacy lives forever in Malindi because he is the one who opened the doors for Italian tourism in Malindi. “Malindi’s good weather and its friendly people make the resort just addictive. Italian holiday makers who come to Malindi for the first time are so overwhelmed by its beauty they often come back, some come back to stay forever” says the Italian Consul in Malindi, Roberto Macri, who himself arrived in Malindi in 1978 and got stuck here. “I found this small fishing village where the weather was so good, the beaches wide and empty and the people extremely friendly, always smiling and co-operative and just felt at home. I decided to stay and even started my new life here complete with a family,” explains the Italian Consul who speaks fluent Swahili and some local languages. Italians interest in Malindi could as well have started in earnest in 1964 when Italian engineers and space scientists arrived in the then bushy town and established the San Marco Space Research Centre in Ngomeni area. Malindi tourism Among other early investors who put Malindi tourism on the world map for quality include international architectural designer and art promoter Armando Tanzini who constructed the White Elephant Hotel & Resort around 1981. Encouraged by Armando and following on his footsteps, other Italian investors such as millionaire Vitali Gianfranco established the Coconut Village. Years later came the Coral Key chain of hotels now owned by one of the most respected Italian investors Marco Vancini. Today the Italian investor owns several blue chip tourist resorts among them the Coral Key, the Blue Key and the Lawfords Beach Club besides many villas and cottages which provide accommodation mainly for top notch Italian tourists.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000082966&story_title=the-italian-connection-in-malindi&pageNo=2
With such a high profile list of visitors to Malindi, the owner of Suli Suli Hotel which was later renamed Bougan Village, the late Duranti Camillo, may long have passed on and his body interred at the Malindi Christian Cemetery but his legacy lives forever in Malindi because he is the one who opened the doors for Italian tourism in Malindi. “Malindi’s good weather and its friendly people make the resort just addictive. Italian holiday makers who come to Malindi for the first time are so overwhelmed by its beauty they often come back, some come back to stay forever” says the Italian Consul in Malindi, Roberto Macri, who himself arrived in Malindi in 1978 and got stuck here. “I found this small fishing village where the weather was so good, the beaches wide and empty and the people extremely friendly, always smiling and co-operative and just felt at home. I decided to stay and even started my new life here complete with a family,” explains the Italian Consul who speaks fluent Swahili and some local languages. Italians interest in Malindi could as well have started in earnest in 1964 when Italian engineers and space scientists arrived in the then bushy town and established the San Marco Space Research Centre in Ngomeni area. Malindi tourism Among other early investors who put Malindi tourism on the world map for quality include international architectural designer and art promoter Armando Tanzini who constructed the White Elephant Hotel & Resort around 1981. Encouraged by Armando and following on his footsteps, other Italian investors such as millionaire Vitali Gianfranco established the Coconut Village. Years later came the Coral Key chain of hotels now owned by one of the most respected Italian investors Marco Vancini. Today the Italian investor owns several blue chip tourist resorts among them the Coral Key, the Blue Key and the Lawfords Beach Club besides many villas and cottages which provide accommodation mainly for top notch Italian tourists.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000082966&story_title=the-italian-connection-in-malindi&pageNo=2
With such a high profile list of visitors to Malindi, the owner of Suli Suli Hotel which was later renamed Bougan Village, the late Duranti Camillo, may long have passed on and his body interred at the Malindi Christian Cemetery but his legacy lives forever in Malindi because he is the one who opened the doors for Italian tourism in Malindi. “Malindi’s good weather and its friendly people make the resort just addictive. Italian holiday makers who come to Malindi for the first time are so overwhelmed by its beauty they often come back, some come back to stay forever” says the Italian Consul in Malindi, Roberto Macri, who himself arrived in Malindi in 1978 and got stuck here. “I found this small fishing village where the weather was so good, the beaches wide and empty and the people extremely friendly, always smiling and co-operative and just felt at home. I decided to stay and even started my new life here complete with a family,” explains the Italian Consul who speaks fluent Swahili and some local languages. Italians interest in Malindi could as well have started in earnest in 1964 when Italian engineers and space scientists arrived in the then bushy town and established the San Marco Space Research Centre in Ngomeni area. Malindi tourism Among other early investors who put Malindi tourism on the world map for quality include international architectural designer and art promoter Armando Tanzini who constructed the White Elephant Hotel & Resort around 1981. Encouraged by Armando and following on his footsteps, other Italian investors such as millionaire Vitali Gianfranco established the Coconut Village. Years later came the Coral Key chain of hotels now owned by one of the most respected Italian investors Marco Vancini. Today the Italian investor owns several blue chip tourist resorts among them the Coral Key, the Blue Key and the Lawfords Beach Club besides many villas and cottages which provide accommodation mainly for top notch Italian tourists.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000082966&story_title=the-italian-connection-in-malindi&pageNo=2
MALINDI, KENYA: When sometime in December 1978, one sunny afternoon, a group of 150 Italian tourists landed at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa, in a charter flight from Italy, and headed to Suli Suli Hotel in Malindi, no one knew that the arrival would herald the opening of tourism floodgates from Italy to the sleepy town of Malindi. Demand for accommodation and Italian lifestyles have, since that December 35 years ago, seen Italians invest trillions of Lira (the Italian currency) in tourism sector in Malindi. Not for nothing then Malindi has come to be known in some circles as the ‘Little Italy’ in Kenya. Looking back , there is no doubt that without Italians, the tourism industry in Malindi would have long died since the Germans and Swiss stopped coming to the resort town many years ago. Italian community The Italian community has invested so heavily in Malindi’s Hotel and Villas accommodation to a level that today- it is one of the few small urban centers in the world with an Italian consulate. Tourism in Malindi is highly Italian-oriented with close to 50 Italian-owned hotels and resorts employing more than 15,000 Kenyans. On the other hand, private villas and cottages in Malindi which are mainly patronized by Italian provide between 5,000 and 6,000 accommodation units. At least 10,000 workers are employed by the owners of the villas and cottages with an average of at least 1,500 Italians living in Malindi permanently throughout the year. At least 30,000 Italian tourists visit Malindi every year. Malindi’s wide, pristine and golden sandy beaches have proven an irresistible attraction to Italian holiday makers who have often included billionaires, politicians and celebrities willing to pay top dollar for the privacy and tranquility that is only found in Malindi. Former Italian Prime Minister and billionaire Silvio Berlusconi has holidayed in Malindi several time including a visit a few months ago.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000082966
With such a high profile list of visitors to Malindi, the owner of Suli Suli Hotel which was later renamed Bougan Village, the late Duranti Camillo, may long have passed on and his body interred at the Malindi Christian Cemetery but his legacy lives forever in Malindi because he is the one who opened the doors for Italian tourism in Malindi. “Malindi’s good weather and its friendly people make the resort just addictive. Italian holiday makers who come to Malindi for the first time are so overwhelmed by its beauty they often come back, some come back to stay forever” says the Italian Consul in Malindi, Roberto Macri, who himself arrived in Malindi in 1978 and got stuck here.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000082966&story_title=the-italian-connection-in-malindi&pageNo=2
With such a high profile list of visitors to Malindi, the owner of Suli Suli Hotel which was later renamed Bougan Village, the late Duranti Camillo, may long have passed on and his body interred at the Malindi Christian Cemetery but his legacy lives forever in Malindi because he is the one who opened the doors for Italian tourism in Malindi. “Malindi’s good weather and its friendly people make the resort just addictive. Italian holiday makers who come to Malindi for the first time are so overwhelmed by its beauty they often come back, some come back to stay forever” says the Italian Consul in Malindi, Roberto Macri, who himself arrived in Malindi in 1978 and got stuck here. “I found this small fishing village where the weather was so good, the beaches wide and empty and the people extremely friendly, always smiling and co-operative and just felt at home. I decided to stay and even started my new life here complete with a family,” explains the Italian Consul who speaks fluent Swahili and some local languages. Italians interest in Malindi could as well have started in earnest in 1964 when Italian engineers and space scientists arrived in the then bushy town and established the San Marco Space Research Centre in Ngomeni area. Malindi tourism Among other early investors who put Malindi tourism on the world map for quality include international architectural designer and art promoter Armando Tanzini who constructed the White Elephant Hotel & Resort around 1981. Encouraged by Armando and following on his footsteps, other Italian investors such as millionaire Vitali Gianfranco established the Coconut Village. Years later came the Coral Key chain of hotels now owned by one of the most respected Italian investors Marco Vancini. Today the Italian investor owns several blue chip tourist resorts among them the Coral Key, the Blue Key and the Lawfords Beach Club besides many villas and cottages which provide accommodation mainly for top notch Italian tourists.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000082966&story_title=the-italian-connection-in-malindi&pageNo=2

Live Like a Kenyan

Below are some common fun stereotypes about Kenyans and their ethnicity…(not to be tribalistic or anything). These stereotypes normally come up either because of the people’s cultures, economic activities or even how they interacted with the colonialists. Whereas some Kenyans maybe known to have great athletic ability, others are regarded as agile business people, traders and so on…Here are some fun stereotypes for you (true or not).

The Kikuyu

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Everyone has heard the one about Kikuyu women. How they plait their hair, read a novel or knit and placidly inform their partners to cover them when they are through with their business. If one day you return home to find an empty house and your children gone, then you are in the groove with a Kikuyu. They are known to be “packers”. They will pack and go with the children and furniture after 40 years of hard labor on a marriage. A common saying goes “A Kikuyu woman will treat you like a king as long as you have cash, but toss you like rotten mutura (traditional sausage) once you are broke.”

Cynics say Kiambu women are so materialistic! They will kill their marriages to enjoy the wealth alone. One Kikuyu lady coined the following phrases to her defense, “I would rather cry on a Mercedes than laugh on a bicycle. Money is not everything it is the only thing.” But Lydia Wambui comes to her sisters’ defense. “Everyone loves money. You cannot go to your landlord or the headmaster at your children’s school and say, ‘we are in love, please understand us for not paying.’ Love is no substitute for money.” Wags also poke fun at the culinary skills of Kikuyu women. They will mix rice, arrow roots,  sukuma wiki, potatoes, githeri and all imaginable ingredients in one pot. Their men have to always sneak out to enjoy nyama choma or chapati in a smoke-filled joint on their own.

They say all women are said to be schemers but the Kikuyu have perfected it to an art. On the first date, they have you all sized up. Wallet size, level of education, future ambitions. So by the second date, you will be paying their rent.

The Nyeri ones are fabled to be harsh and authoritative. If you have the bad fortune of marrying one, chances of being her punching bag are inevitable. They are the Thatcher’s of Wahome Mutahi fame. Rivals in love will also dismiss them on account of their figures. Below five inches in height, light complexioned, round pretty face with long lovely hair, over-sized chests, voluminous hands, flabby waist lines, ironed out behind, vertical hips all suspended on hockey-sticks-like legs.

They are known to have an undying thirst for white shoes.

Yet even their hottest critics acknowledge that they are so hard-working and organized that their men only come home in the evening to collect cash for their drinking sprees.

Men
The Kikuyu man walks eats and dream more plots, matatus and company shares. The ambitious and hard-working nature of these men dates back to the Wangu wa Makeri era. You are on your own after they give you a ‘mugunda’ a plot.

And most people must have heard the joke about the Kamau’s coming for your hard-earned money in the middle of the night. All the vices such as muggings, carjackings etc are believed to be their preserve.

It does not matter how far the economic ladder a Kikuyu man is, he will always have some “deals” in the name of business. Often these deals will be hatched and sealed in a smoke-filled bar.

But if you think he will have extra money to take you to some posh place, forget it. They are said to be so stingy that they believe leisure and expensive food is for fools. A typical Kikuyu man’s luxury car is a pick-up, and he believes you relax in the countryside weeding your shamba, not frolicking on the beach in Mombasa . Because of this, women think they are unromantic and dull. Their perfect date is taking a woman to dance to Mugithi while you eat nyama choma and mutura.

They also love moving in cliques and speaking their mother tongue everywhere even if you, a non-Kikuyu does not understand their language. Women say Kikuyu men assume that all light-skinned women are from their tribe. So they will talk to you in their mother tongue. If you express displeasure, they will sneer and tell you “wacha kujiringa!”

Then they are known to have parallel families. Word has it that a Kikuyu man will not marry a second wife, but will have mistress or two tucked away somewhere. It is only when he dies, that the other family surfaces. The joke is that, your kids and those of the mistress will have been born at the same time. If you have four children, she will also have her four. If you are thinking of ignoring the mother-in-law, then steer clear of this man. Kikuyu men are mama’s boys. So the way to his heart, is through his mother.

They are also said to be poor dressers and lack refined mannerisms. A must-have in every Kikuyu man’s wardrobe includes Savco and Freezer jeans preferably brown, Chicago Bulls T-shirts, North star sneakers and an over-sized leather jacket.

The Kamba

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The myth of the sex athlete goes back a long way. Kamba women are known to be a force to reckon with. That is why they are hot material for barmaids. By the time she is 30, she is in total control. It is said that they are given a thorough briefing by their aunts and grandmothers as part of their initiation rituals. And yes, many of these women are unbelievably stunning in looks. She gives you a killer smile, giggles knowingly, and you want to marry her there and then. So why do Kamba women marry in the military? Army men’s weddings are full of glamour and endless feasts. They also love celebrity. However, for them, serious business is popping up juniors year after year.

And if you want to feed numerous dependents, then marry a Kamba. By your third date, her cousins, grandparents, sister’s boyfriend…are on your miserable payroll. And of course there’s the joke about colour clashing. You know, a mix of screaming orange and luminous green is a God sent match for them.

Men
Like their women, Kamba men are said to be athletes of sorts. Kamba men are born and bred to follow instructions. Starting from their mothers to their employers. For this reason, they make perfect domestic workers and messengers.

They are dismissed as being clueless about their future, their only ambition being to work in the army or at least get related to someone in the army through marriage. Kamba men have small features, which people say is because of the persistent droughts in their motherland. But if you were thinking that this would give you express liberty to be unfaithful, then forget it, they make jealous spouses and can be extremely possessive.

The Coastal People

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A police friend once informed me that their officers are given a firm warning when they get transfers to the Coast. You will need all your wit and guile to resist the coconut women. Love potions come in handy. Once the man is fixed with it, he is transfixed to her for life. You are her boi (boy) eternally. Critics say these women are so idle that they spend the whole day applying henna all over their bodies, prepare elaborate weddings and cook biryani the whole day as they gossip.

Stories have it that these women are well coached in the art of pleasing their husbands. No one understands better that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – chapatis and pilau (which they are experts in making) do the job. On the looks department they are endowed with dashing looks and mellow voices. The Taita are said to make exemplary, humble wives. But when they make up their minds that a relationship is headed for doom, they are known to vanish back to their parent’s faster than you can say ‘mdawida’.

Men
Coastal men are said to be smooth talkers but lazy to the bone. For any hard labor, look for a ‘mtu wa bara.’ With their mastery of the Kiswahili language, they can even talk Osama from his hideout.

They are the classic example of what a gentleman is supposed to be. With their use of flattery, and their love for speaking in low, husky tones, many women confess to being transfixed to the Swahili man. But in the words of one lady, “they talk too much; like they have swallowed a tape.”

The Taita are most humble. They fancy cooking mouth-watering dishes for their women. However, their Swahili counterparts are said to love living off the sweat of their women. And they are betrothed from birth.

The Luo

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Lakeside women are said to stick to their men like glue as long as they suspect love is in the air. But don’t you dare look at another woman! If you do, she will have you and the other woman by the neck. They are in love with first impressions. You have to have class.

If you wear moccasins on the first date and drive a pick-up, she will dump you like rotten fruit. And you better talk English (never Kiswahili) with a rounded twang. Big words (especially the ones she does not understand) make a lifelong impact. And the restaurant better be classy, not necessarily expensive. If you fulfill all these, by the tenth date, you will spot her clothes in your wardrobe. She has moved in.

Luo women are prided to have “drop dead gorgeous” bodies – with ‘Adhiambo sianda’ being their brand name. True African figures, they say. They are also known to be good cooks and bewitching lovers.

Men
Luo men are said to be romantic lovers and big spenders when they have the money. Whether it’s shopping in Dubai, being taken to posh restaurants or flying you off to some exciting location, the man to give you a good time is a Luo man.

Women are unanimous that these men from the lake will treat a lady like a queen, but only as long as a lighter complexioned woman does not emerge on the scene because then you will immediately be past tense. No wonder all Luo songs sing of ‘kalando’ (the brown one.)

Bar room chat is rife on the suave flamboyance and extravagance of a Luo man. For this man, tomorrow is a long way off. Life must be lived to the fullest today. Spending all his money on a cool Mercedes and parking it outside a grass-thatched hut in the village means nothing to this man. The important thing is to be seen driving the car.

When it comes to courtship a Luo man will not stammer in shyness when he approaches the woman he wants to be acquainted with and will not bat an eyelid when promising a non-existent heaven. He will insist on speaking to you in English because he cannot converse in Kiswahili.

They dress in flashy, expensive suits, shoes and ties. They will talk about their attractive young wife, the last trip overseas, the expensive car, furniture, electronics and mobile phones that they own. Listen to Poxi Presha’s ‘Otonglo time’ and the famous “Do I say line” will tell you everything you want to know.

Many Luo men from the older generation love old Lingala music and football. The younger ones love cricket and rugby. Cricket because it is still a mystery to many Kenyans and rugby because of the macho image.

It does not matter how vast your experience or how much wealth you have, without a degree, you are nobody. Count the number of professors from this tribe at any of our universities and you will know what I’m talking about.

But despite all this, a Luo man will not think of investing his money in anything substantive. Women from other tribes believe that even if he marries a non-Luo, this man will eventually marry from his tribe.

The Luhya

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These women are known to be modest and to have austerity. They cannot stand extravagance. A Luhya woman would rather stay at home and drink numerous cups of tea than have you take her for an expensive dinner. But as long as there is constant supply of ugali and Ingoho (chicken), she is yours for keeps. Then they are known to be in the business of making children. If she is not breast-feeding, she is pregnant.

The Internet caricature paints her as a being born-again, and forever busy. She is the village chairperson, treasurer of your kids kindergarten PTA, secretary of the women merry-go-round, weaves baskets in addition to being out every night for church Keshas. And if you are thinking of meeting the boys over a Tusker…then this is the wrong type. Luhya ladies are protective. And with their strong physiques, you would rather follow mummy’s advice than have your bones broken.

Curly kit hair is their distinctive look. They love it so much that every Luhya woman who prides herself as having a distinguished style will have her hair roasted for this look.

Men
Though hard-working especially manually, Luhya men are said to be very content with what they have. Their rivals say this is lack of ambition. That is why the shamba boys, watchmen and cooks joke comes from.

Those in the know say the Ingoho (chicken) men are intimidated by the modern woman. They’d rather marry a girl from the village who is happy to stay-at-home. But if you get married to the man, be ready to take care of his children from his teenage days to date.
Luhya men never leave their children behind. In addition, you will always have a full house. These men have many dependents. So start by investing in many utensils and big sufurias.

Unlike many men, you can always tell if a Luhya man is unfaithful. If he has not brought home a child from an illicit affair in five years, then relax, the man is an angel. And if you do not want to have a live-in mother-in-law, learn to cook ugali and mrenda before you marry this man. If you cook him rice or githeri for supper, he will still be waiting for dinner. The one about Luhyas and their addiction to salaams clubs and small portable radios is an old cliche now.

The Kalenjin

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My colleague informs me, that if you are bombarded with unsolicited information about her many prominent and rich relatives in the previous government, right after the first kiss, then you have nabbed a Kalenjin lady. Promise a Kalenjin woman marriage and she is yours for keeps. If you play your cards right then you can take her home on the second date.

Strictly missionary. They are agreeable and submissive, but rather like their alcohol. Nagging they are not, but their tempers are legendary so why do they say if you come home after three days, smelling of a strange perfume and with red lipstick all over your white shirt, a kalenjin woman will not utter a word?

If they discover their man is unfaithful, they will kill themselves and drown the children. Kalenjins like to joke that Nandi women are lazy, Tugen are rude and the Marakwet violent.

Men
If you are looking for a generous man then look no further. A Kalenjin man will be elated to spend his money on any lady and her extended family. For them, expensive is best. The joke doing the rounds is that if a Kalenjin man takes a lady shopping, he will beseech her to select the most expensive dress in the shop. They are also said to be very cold and remote. They always manage to look vague when so much is happening around them. But this does not hinder them from the desire to date classy women.

It is said that Kalenjin men have misplaced priorities. They will build a stone house for the combine harvester and the cows and surround their homes with beautiful fences while their houses are grass-thatched and mud-walled.

Kalenjin men do not carry their spouses to town. They leave them in the rural home to look after the shamba.

Kaunda suits, preferably a maroon one and a cardigan worn with a suit is a must-have for any self-respecting Kalenjin man. Men from the Kipsigis sub-tribe are reputed to be quite handsome.

The Maasai 

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Maasai women are unquestionably obedient. They will never dream of correcting their men folk. They still view their husbands as “lord of the house” People believe Masaai men are still glued to the custom of planting spears outside their age group member’s manyattas to warn the husband that serious business is taking place inside the manyatta.

Their women toil like oxen. They build the manyattas; graze the cattle, cook, and farm in addition to rearing children. They are also generous with their husbands. Even if their husband married the 7th wife in three years, they will not object. In fact they encourage their spouses to marry – you know, to share the work. They can be astoundingly beautiful.

Men

Maasai men are said to be fierce, courageous but unreasonable. You do not argue with one because you will provoke him to a feud.

A Maasai man will do anything to marry a beautiful woman. However, to them, wives are lower in rank than children. You will find them playing ajua the whole day as they await the return of their wives and children from grazing the cattle.

For a Maasai man, serious business is getting an extra wife year after year.

The Kisii

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Once a Kisii woman has it in her head that you make her world rock, then you have a lifelong attachment. She will never leave, even if you hire ten bulldozers to evict her from your house. They are also well-known for their fiery tempers. Recent cases in the media about battered husbands involved Kisii women. As for money, they are the reverse of Kikuyus – money and posh cars do not impress them much. And when it comes to dressing? Those in the know say their dress sense is not the most impressive

Men
The description “tall, dark and handsome,” applies to the Kisii man.

They are also known to be charming when the fiery tempers take a back seat. But like all gorgeous men, they have several other women on the side apart from you.

They are said to be so emotional that they will cry as they are beating you up.

The Meru

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If you are head over heels in love with a woman and are sure she loves you secretly, but she is playing hard to get by the 30th date, then you have struck a Meru.

Bar room talk has the Meru woman so faithful and agreeable that they will fight divorce to the bitter end.

They are traditional and remote, with the village never coming out of them.

Like their men, they are reputed to be hot-tempered and can shred you to pieces if you cross their path. In the looks department, a Meru woman will hold her own against any beauty queen.

Men

For a die-hard Meru man, it is against taboo to enter the kitchen. He would rather starve to death than enter this domain which he believes to be strictly a woman’s.

A Meru man’s temper is unmistakable. If you dare to provoke him, he will very easily smash you to pieces.

No matter how well exposed or versed in the Queen’s English he is, the Meru accent will never go away.

They have an attitude problem and take everything personally. They are also said to be quite bossy in a relationship. What he says goes.

Source: Fans of Crazy Monday’s

Did you know? (Interesting facts about Kenya)

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  • Kenya is the world’s forty-seventh largest country at 580,367 km2 (224,081 sq mi), just after Madagascar, roughly the same size as Texas at 362,040 square miles.
  • Kenya only has two seasons. One rainy season and one dry season in a year.
  • Driving the Kenyan way means fitting over 20 people in a 14 sitter passenger van.

Parks

  • Did you know that…There are more than 65 national parks and wildlife preserves in Kenya and about twenty hectares of rainforest here contain more bird species than the whole of Europe. Much of Kenya’s native flora is also not found anywhere else in the world.

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  • Kenya’s wildlife is unrivalled by any other in the world, both in terms of numbers and variety of species. Thousands of tourists visit Kenya every year to view the wild life particularly the wildebeest migration.

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  • Did you know that…The Meru National Park ( and Kenya, of course) has the distinction of being the home to lioness Elsa, one of the most famous animals in history, together with Rin Tin Tin (dog), Digit (gorilla), Lassie (rough collie), Laika (Soviet space dog) and Flipper (dolphin). Elsa gained worldwide fame as Joy Adamson published her bestseller “Born Free”, which had several million readers around the world.

GeorgeAdamsonStandingWithElsa_OfferingABirdGeorge Adamson with Elsa

Big Five

  • Did you know that…Elephants flap their ears to cool down their body temperature? Despite their size, elephants are able to walk silently through the bush because they walk on the tips of their toes – which is actually a  thick cushion made up of elastic tissue.

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  • Did you know that…Rhinoceros have roamed the earth for more than 50 million years. Rhinos have poor vision, but an excellent sense of smell, and good hearing.

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  • Did you know that…Lions are the most social of all cats, living in prides of several females, and working cooperatively to hunt and raise cubs. Lions will sleep up to 20 hours a day.

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  • Did you know that…A leopard’s spots (actually called rosettes) are shaped differently depending on their habitat. In eastern Africa they are circular  but square in southern Africa. Leopards are the ultimate athlete, being able to run at speeds of over 35 mph and have been known to be able to jump 10 feet in the air.

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  • Don’t mistake the physical similarities of the buffalo for their domesticated cousins. The Cape Buffalo is considered to be one of the most deadly of Africa’s Big 5. They have been known to mob predators and attack game hunters. Cape Buffalo need to drink every day – that’s why you’ll see them in herds numbering in the thousands in the grasslands, but never find them in the dessert.

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A Kenyan’s guide to Kenya (HILARIOUS)

I’ve often been terribly disappointed by the tourist  guidebooks written about Kenya. Most of the time they tell you stuff you already know, like “you can go on safari and see some lions.” That’s probably why you wanted to come here in the first place, so that’s not helpful. Other times they give you all manner of useless information. For example: what’s the point of telling you how to ask for directions in Kiswahili if you’re not going to understand the answer? (sometimes they seem to be written by a malicious Kenyan who hates tourists). One time I was taking a walk at the beach alone and was accosted by an earnest American who said, “Jambo. Nyinyi mna Kula Viazi?” First of all, no Kenyan says “Jambo”. Secondly, I was alone and I definitely wasn’t eating potatoes.HUH 1000x500px-LL-90ad9322_WTF-ARE-YOU-TALKING-ABOUT
These books never tell you about all the amazing people you can meet in Kenya, or how to understand what they’re saying. Determined to correct this horrible wrong, I’m issuing the first of many useful, practical tips for our many visitors. Here with the Volume I of “A Kenyan’s guide to Kenya.” (Disclaimer: this is written from a Nairobi Perspective. Other parts of the country are a whole other story and will cost you extra.) Here’s what you should Know:
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1. When we want you to pass us something – the salt, say – we’ll point with our mouths. Example: We’ll catch your eye then say, “Nani.” Then we’ll use our mouths to point at the desired object. This is achieved by a slight upward nod followed by an abrupt thrusting out of the lower lip, which is pointed in the object’s general direction. There’s no explanation for this. (“Nani” can be roughly translated as, oh I don’t know, “Whats-your-face,” “You,” or “Thingie.” We’re unfailingly polite.)

turoWhy lift a finger when you can point with your lips??

2. Frequently, and for no reason whatsoever, we’ll refer to a person as “another guy.” However, this MUST be pronounced/slurred thus: An-aa guy. This also applies to “the other day,” which is when some momentous event in our lives always took place. We do the same thing with Kiswahili words like ‘bwana’, which is pronounced ‘bana.’ Example: “I was driving in town the aaa day and this guy comes from nowhere and cuts me off, bana. Man I abused him!” ‘Abused’ in this sentence must be drawn out and emphasised for maximum effect: a-BUSE-d.

3. We claim to speak English and Kiswahili, which technically means that we should be able to communicate with the English-speaking world and Tanzania. What we really mean is that if you’re not Kenyan you won’t understand a damn word we say or why we say it. Example:“Sasa” in Kiswahili means “now.” We use it as a greeting. Correct usage: “Sasa?” “Ah, fit.” It confuses us that Tanzanians don’t understand this.

images1We also, just as randomly, might greet you by saying, “Otherwise?” Common response: “Uh-uh.” There is no explanation for this.

4. Kenyans are multi-lingual, but all this means is that we believe that if we translate something word for word from one language to another it will make sense. A Kenyan might say, for example, “You mean you’re not brothers? But you look each other!” Be kind, they just think that muna fanana can slip into English unfiltered. Speaking of filters, that’s why some people (tribe/ethnicity withheld to protect my uncles) will claim to ‘drink’ cigarettes. If you’re not Kenyan you won’t understand this. Let it go.

5. We can buy beers at police stations. Grilled meat too. Heck, in some cop shops you can even play darts. I am NOT making this up. Example: “Man the aaa day I pitiad (pass through) the Spring Valley cop station after work. I was leaving there at midnight, bana. I was so wasted! I told those cops to just let me go home.”Oh, that’s another thing: when we’re leaving a place (your house, a wedding, the cop shop bar) we tend to say, “Ok, me let me go…” We’re not implying that you’re holding us against our will; we’re just saying that we’d like to go. (The plural is, of course, “Us let us go.”)

6. When Kenyans say that you’re mad, it’s a profound compliment. “Man this guy is mad. You know what he did…” then they’ll go on to recount some of your admirable exploits. It’s high praise. Smile modestly and accept it. By modest I mean look down, draw a circle in the dust with the toe of your shoe (or just your toe) and then smile, draw your mouth down into a brief frown, and smile again. Alternate quickly a few times. This is known by English-speaking Kikuyus as The Nyira Smile, or The Sneering Smile. Then say “aah, me?” in a high, sing-songy voice. However, only do this if you’re female.On the other hand, if Kenyans ask, “are you normal? (sometimes pronounced “nomo”), then they’re getting a bit concerned about your state of mental health. Reassure them by buying another round.

7. Which brings me to Alcohol. Our national pastime. You know that myth about Eskimos having thousands of word for ‘snow?’ Well, our beloved drinks are known by a thousand names and phrases too. Kenyans will ‘catch pints (or just ‘catch’),’ ‘go for a swallow,’ have a ‘jweeze,’ ‘keroro,’ ‘kanywaji,’ ‘jawawa…’ really, no list can be exhaustive. Be aware, though, that the words you use will immediately tip off your audience about your age. (For the Kenyans reading this, no I was NOT born during the Emergency, you swine.)
cheers 8. Our other pastime is religion. (What contradiction?) If you’re broke on a Sunday – and your hangover is not too bad – stroll over to one of our parks and catch some open-air preaching. Jeevanjee Gardens in town is a prime location. There you will see us in our full multi-lingual, spiritual splendour. There is always, and I mean always, a freelance preacher thundering in English while his loyal and enthusiastic sidekick translates into Kiswahili. 

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Sample:
Preacher: And then Jesus said…
Sidekick: Alafu Yesu Akasema…
Preacher: Heal!
Sidekick: Pona!
Preacher: HEAL!
Sidekick: PONA!
It’s hypnotic. We suggest you go with a Kenyan who understands both languages because sometimes the sidekick nurses higher ambitions and, instead of translating, tries to sneak in his own parallel sermon. If you’re bored in Kenya it’s because you’re dead.
pastor-translator-17-11-139. As you’ve probably figured out, we like abbreviating things. (Why would the word ‘another’ have to be any shorter than it is? Why would the Kenyans reading this find it odd that I keep talking about ‘Kiswahili?’) This can lead to unnecessary confusion.
beats-me
But by now you should have figured out that when you’re catching and someone says, “Si you throw an-aa ra-o?” they of course want you to buy another round of drinks. Don’t worry about the ‘si;’ like so many words in Swa it’s impossible to translate. Embrace it, sprinkle it liberally in your speech and move on.
Courtesy KLIST 

Source: DAILY POST

Why holidaymakers throng the coast for the christmas season

Its that time of the year again…well almost, just a few days remaining till December comes knocking. I’ll bet you anything that by this time most of us already have everything set for that Mombasa trip. You might not personally be traveling, but you most likely know of someone in your circles headed down to the coast for the holidays.

One thing is certain though, the Coastarians just can’t stand it when ‘Watu wa bara’ are around because suddenly the city gets congested, the beaches aren’t as relaxing and generally their comfort zone is altered.

Nevertheless, we attempt to define the phenomenon that has everyone running around trying to get last minute bookings…

Appeal of the Place

slider1Photo credit: H2O-extreme

Its been a long year;  work, school, exams…at the end of the day  sun, sand and sea seems like the perfect remedy. Moreover, the exotic appeal of the Island popularly  associated with fun, “Mombasa Raha”  is a major pull factor.

Familiarity

tourists-mombasaPhoto credit: Business daily Africa

For many individuals, this is one place they are guaranteed of having a memorable holiday experience, judging from last year’s events and the year before that. Be it visiting family and friends, quality of accommodation, people & culture or events… the reasons behind becoming repeat tourists here are varied and it is this sense of familiarity that makes this holiday destination tick for some.

End of year Events (Beach Parties)

tumblr_static_dance-friends-night-party-rave-favim.com-120797The Kenyan coast is where its happening come end of the year…with a whole range of beach parties and events on offer, why would anyone want to miss out?

Safety in numbers

original Many individuals tend to tag along with their friends simply at the thought of how much they’d be missing out…and as such the peer pressure factor comes in. On this occasion though, it is not such a bad thing…the more the merrier hey?

Imaging travel-quoteEach year, the Kenyan coast is captured as having been the most eventful region come Christmas and end of year. This drives the curious never-beens to head down come the next Christmas holiday season in order to find out for themselves what the fuss is all about. Imaging thus plays a key role here.

Nightlife

Tom-Horton-Nightlife-Photograhy-012Photo Credit: Tom-Horton

Having worked hard all year, most travelers head down to the coast to let loose and what better way to achieve this than through its nightlife? Mombasa in itself isn’t a raving spot although you may find one or two joints within the city. The life of the party however is in the resort area north of Mombasa with places like Mtwapa promising to rejuvenate your spirits. Many revelers are bound to fall in love with this region and might have some difficulty leaving.

Whatever your reason for going to the coast this season,  hope you have the time of your life!! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mombasa: The “Island of war”

Situated on the Eastern coastline, bordering the Indian Ocean, Mombasa is Kenya’s second largest city and the top coastal destination. The city, originally known by its Arabic name منبعثة Manbasa,  was popular as ‘Kisiwa Cha Mvita’  Swahili for “Island of War”, due to the many changes in its ownership. Sitting on an island it is separated from the mainland by two creeks Tudor and Port Reitz.

mg_1267Image credit: Joe Lukhovi

0313 EnglishPoint Marina in the foreground. Mombasa Island between Tudor Creek and Kilindini Channel Mombasa city overflows with an abundance in culture that dates back to its history as a significant trading center. The Swahili culture at the coast today has retained ancient customs and traditions highly influenced by the Portuguese, British, Chinese, and Arab settlers. The city is also affiliated with great explorers like Vasco Da Gama – the first European to land in the then town, with several memorabilia still standing to portray the historic presence of the Portuguese in the coast. The Mijikenda, Swahili, Arabs, Taita, and Akamba are among the Inhabitants of this beautiful land.  Whereas the major religions practiced are Islam, Christianity and the Hindu.

mombasa_1Source: Magical Kenya

Aside from being an important regional tourism and cultural center, Mombasa is also a significant economic hub. It boasts of a large seaport, the Kilindini Harbour, that serves not only Kenya but also links other interior countries to the Indian Ocean. The rich marine life is also something to brag about allowing individuals the pleasure of pursuits like scuba diving, snorkeling, deep sea fishing among others. Mombasa is also envied for its nightlife, its lovely weather, phenomenal white sandy beaches as well as its quality beach resorts. Revellers can enjoy a good time out in the many night spots available most of which are beachfront. Some of the top hotels here also offer their own clubs.DSC01171Other entertainment spots in Mombasa include casinos, cinemas and a Little Theatre Club, the latter of which puts on some fun shows. The region is also known for its divine dining experience where travelers get to enjoy aside from fresh sea food, internationally-inspired cuisine, that includes but is not limited to Chinese, Indian, Italian, and Swahili.

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Getting Around
Mombasa is the central access point for the entire coastal region. It can be accessed directly from Nairobi by air, road, or rail. There are scheduled flights to Mombasa as well served by Moi International Airport although travelers can also access the coastal city via various airstrips. The main mode of transport around the town is by matatus, Taxis and tuk tuks. Some of the historical sites in the city can also easily be accessed on foot.

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Must do in Mombasa:

Fort Jesus

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Fort Jesus is Mombasa’s most popular tourist attraction. The fort, located along the coastline near the Old Town, is a monumental piece of architecture that was built in the 16th century by the Portuguese. The fort has a museum that displays various artifacts from the era where Mombasa served as a transit point for the slave trade and commodities, and which enjoyed regular visits by seafarers and the like.

Its interior comprises of torture rooms and prison cells where slaves were kept in captivity before being traded. Weapons such as canons, which were used to defend the fort from invading foreigners as well as rioting locals, can be seen both inside and outside of the fort. The fort opens its gates for viewing in the morning and closes at dusk.

Old Town  

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“Old Town” is the part of Mombasa that is reminiscent of the days when the Arabs exerted a heavy influence on the town and its culture, and especially in the architecture and language (Swahili has a lot of phrases derived from various Arabic dialects). It is well known for its ancient buildings, extravagant art designs and curio shops that sell antique and popular Kenyan souvenirs.

Old Town is best seen when explored by foot with an experienced guide, as the streets are too narrow to accommodate a large number of vehicles. The town’s inhabitants are mostly of Arab origin who’s forefathers once roamed the same streets of the town. Fort Jesus is located just a few steps away from where the town “starts”, thus a complete tour of the fort and the “Old Town” can be done in a single day.

Mombasa Elephant Tusks 48983702Like the great arches of St Louis and the Eiffel tower, the great elephant tusks monument  in downtown Mombasa is probably the cities enduring monument and landmark known world over. Built to commemorate the visit of Queen Elizabeth to the town in 1952, the pair of overarching, giant intersecting elephant tusks sit astride eastbound and westbound lanes of the busy Moi avenue and are a symbolic representation of entrance into the heart of the town.

The “tusks” aside from symbolizing the ivory trade that Mombasa, and Kenya overall, was known for also coincidentally spell the letter “M” for Mombasa. Take a leisurely walk along this road and look at the various shops or buy curios. You can even stop by the many restaurants to eat your favorite Arab, Swahili or European themed foods.

Hindu Temples

hindu-temple

Hindu temples are one of the many symbols of Mombasa’s cultural diversity. Temples are a popular tourist spot and a tour can usually be taken inside the temple, with a historical background of the particular temple given by one of the temple gurus. Extravagant idols and stone carvings of the various religious beliefs are typically displayed within the temple and on its walls.

A popular spot for locals and international travelers alike,  Mombasa is undoubtedly  the perfect coastal holiday destination.

Kenyan iconic Hall of Famers

Kenya is today viewed as a great tourist destination with a beautifully warm climate, coastline on the Indian Ocean and Savanna grasslands. It is also home to and has been associated with many great men and women who have had greater successes over time. If Kenya had a Hollywood Boulevard then these names would definitely have their own golden star. Here we reveal a few Kenyan Hall of Famers.

1. Karen Blixen (Author & Early Settler)   510417_638_365

Karen Blixen, pen name Isak Dinesen, is the author of ‘Out of Africa’, a memoir of her seventeen years living on her own coffee plantation in British East Africa. Published in 1937 her book was ultimately a love story, yet gave readers a unique snapshot of colonial life in the 1940’s. Blixen also gave insight to the different tribes of Kenya, gently portraying the characters in her book as individuals and free of the racial stereotypes that plagued Western literature at the time. An area in Nairobi has been named after her and visitors can see the farmhouse where she lived, with many original items still intact.

Image credit: http://www.laescueladelosdomingos.com

 

2. Richard Leakey (Palaeontologist, Politician & Conservationist)

leak2source: afflictor

Born in Kenya to British parents, Richard Leakey and his family were all famous for their findings relating to early man. Richard Leaky continued the family traditional of palaeontology in East Africa, making many important discoveries of his own, which has helped better our understanding of human evolution. Leaky was appointed head of the Kenyan Wildlife Service in 1989.

In that same year, together with President Arap Moi, he made a dramatic anti poaching statement by burning a stockpile of ivory. Leaky soon became a well-known activist and politician, which made him many friends as well as enemies. His passionate views on wildlife conflict may have been the cause of his plane crashing in 1993. He lost both his legs, and although sabotage was suspected, it was never proved. After entering politics for a short time Leakey has continued to this day to promote animal conservation.

Image credit: http://www.greenwichlibrary.org

 

3. Jomo Kenyatta (Freedom fighter and Kenya’s first President)

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Kenyatta might not have a Hollywood star but he does have his face on Kenyan currency. He was the first President of the Republic of Kenya when it was declared independent from British rule in December 1964. Prior to this he was the face of the freedom fight for many years and is now widely considered by Kenyan people as the founding father of the nation. His face is synonymous with a free and independent country.

Image Credit: Albert Kenyani

 

4. Joy Adamson (Author, painter & conservationist)

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Joy Adamson was the author of novel and award winning film Born Free. Joy, together with her husband George, became adoptive parents to a very endearing lion cub, who they named Elsa. Rescued after her mother was killed, Elsa soon became a household name due to the glamorous portrayal of their life in the Kenyan bush. Together with a host of other cute adopted wildlife, Elsa was cared for in the Adamson’s home in Naivasha before being released back to the wild.

The Adamson’s were devoted to conservation and helped to revive Kenya as a world-class safari destination. Joy was also an accomplished artist, documenting much of Kenya’s plant life and traditional tribal costumes through her beautiful paintings. Some of her paintings and prints can be found at the National Museum of Kenya or Elsamere in Naivasha.

Image Credit: Suneet’s

 

5. Daniel Arap Moi (Kenya’s Second President)

Daniel Toroitich arap Moi is a Kenyan politician and former President of Kenya (1978 to 2002). He succeeded Kenyatta as President upon the latter’s death. Daniel arap Moi is popularly known to Kenyans as “Nyayo”, a Swahili word for “footsteps”, as he was said to be following the footsteps of the first.

Former President Moi

6. Wangari Maathai (Nobel Prize winner for her work with the environment)

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Maathai was a woman of many talents, a human rights political activist, a conservationist and environmentalist among other things. In 2004 she was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. In doing so she set a precedent for other women in a country where they were often subdued under a patriarchal system.

Wangari also founded the Green Belt Movement for grassroots conservation of Kenyan wildlife and landscape. To complete her impressive CV, in 2006 she met President Barack Obama, whose father was educated on the same program that allowed Maathai to study in America during her youth.

7. David Sheldrick (Inspiration behind the Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi)

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Image Credit: Courtesy Photo, source WWD

At the tender age of 28, David Sheldrick had already taken on the role of game-keeper at Kenya’s largest National Park, Tsavo. In this role, he confronted poachers on a daily basis and began to form close protective relationships with the elephants. Later, with the help of his wife Daphne, they studied the elephants and collected data on their feeding and behaviour. They even hand-reared some particularly vulnerable calves.

After David’s death in 1977, Daphne founded the Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi to carry on his good work. The orphanage is still a very popular tourist attraction in Kenya as it has featured on international television many times, giving the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage a global reputation for their conservation efforts.

 

8. Iain Douglas Hamilton Zoologist & founder of ‘Save the Elephants’ & TV presenter

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Iain Douglas Hamilton is a world-renowned zoologist, who’s focus over the past four decades has concentrated primarily on the lives and behaviour of elephant groups in Kenya. Ian looked closely at elephant choices and for this he closely studied their migration patterns. In 1993 he started the organisation ‘Save the Elephants’ which has given him even greater fame around the world. His daughter, Saba Douglas Hamilton, is also a well-known face, appearing in many BBC wildlife documentaries. Growing up with her father in Kenya, Saba became very familiar with the animals on her doorstep and is also committed to protecting them.

 

9. Alan Root Photographer, filmmaker and conservationist

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Alan Root is a filmmaker and conservationist who has led a wonderfully exciting career in wildlife conservation and documentary production. Alan initially became famous along with his wife, Joan, for producing a documentary called ‘Two in the Bush’. The movie depicted the couple living close to nature and had some amazing footage of their adventures and connection to wildlife.

Alan moved to Kenya as a boy and his passion for animals, flora and fauna of Kenya led to him working for publications such as National Geographic and the BBC. His films were nominated for an Oscar. In his biography, Ivory, Apes and Peacocks, this gripping read gives a thrilling account of his adventures as an intrepid explorer and conservationist.

10. Ngugi Wa Thiongo  (Author)

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Image credit; Karisan Media

Ngugi is Kenya’s most celebrated author and playwright, he published his first novel, Weep Not, Child in 1964. He later left Kenya on exile in the 70s as a result of his outspokenness and harsh criticisms of the government of the day using plays and novels as his outlets. In 2006 he published his first novel in two decades, Wizard of the Crow which tells the story of an imaginary African state governed by its despotic ruler. Ngugi is currently based in the UK where he serves as a Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Irvine. He has become popular in Africa as a result of his literary works that are read all over the world more so in African Universities.

Sources: My Destination, Mwakilishi

Honouring the Father of Lions; George Adamson

Conservationists from all over the world will next month converge at Kora National Park to commemorate the 24th anniversary of George Adamson’s death and to honor his work.

George Adamson is one of the founding fathers of wildlife conservation in Africa.

During his lifetime, Adamson mainly rehabilitated captive or orphaned big cats for eventual reintroduction into the wild.

Adamson’s interest in conserving wildlife earned him the name ‘The Lion Man Of Africa’.

The event is organized by the Kenya Wildlife Service with support from other stakeholders.

The George Adamson commemoration weekend in the wild will run from Friday -August 31-to Sunday -September 1.

August 20th will be exactly 24 years since Adamson’s demise, hence the need to visit where he used to work, live and eventually buried.

The primary objective of the event is to build on the foundation laid by George Adamson’s conservation of lions in both Meru and Kora ecosystems.

The people in attendance will be involved in many activities including camping at Adamson’s Camp, climbing the Kora Rock, visiting George Adamson’s grave among many others.

Corporate organizations and individuals have also been invited to participate by sponsoring corporate teams or contributing towards the George Adamson Fund.

A participation fee will be charged as a package with an individual participant paying Ksh 4,000 and cooperate bodies paying Ksh 50,000 – a team of not more than 10 people.

The Kenya Wildlife Service has waived park entry categorization for visitors between the 30th August and 1st September, 2013.

– See more at: http://www.medinaresidences.com/blog/?p=925#sthash.cDhqbVN1.dpuf

A few weeks back, conservationists from all over the world converged at Kora National Park to commemorate the 24th anniversary of George Adamson’s death and to honour his work. The commemoration weekend took place in the wild from Friday 31Aug – Sunday 1 Sept.

Participants of the event engaged in a myriad of activities that included;

  • Camping at Adamson’s Camp and Tana River Campsite
  • Climbing of Kora Rock
  • Visit to cultural manyattas and exhibition of cultural artifacts from different cultures surrounding the Park
  • Cultural night on Saturday
  • Watching of George Adamson films and Gallery Exhibition – in the Adamson camp
  • Visit to Kora Rapids
  • Visit to George Adamson’s grave and main speeches during the visit to the grave
  • Entertainment by neighboring communities at the grave side and also in the campsite

Organized by the Kenya Wildlife Service with support from other stakeholders, the event’s primary objective was to build on the foundation laid by George Adamson’s conservation of lions in both Meru and Kora ecosystems.
1239764_10151880825502904_1932516448_nKWS Director Mr.William K. Kiprono at Kora National Park(The Last Wilderness) during the George Adamson Anniversary weekend.
This man George Adamson
George Alexander Graham Adamson was born in Etawah, India (then British India) on 3rd February 1906 of English and Irish parents. At age 18, George made his way to Kenya to work on his father’s coffee plantation. His adventurous spirit did not however allow him to stay in the plantations for long as he shifted gears and ventured into many other different things including gold prospecting, goat trading and safari hunting. George Adamson’s life as “Baba ya Simba” (father of lions) began back in 1938 at age 32 when he joined Kenya’s Game Department as a warden.
GeorgeAdamson_InCampWithSweater_VM_SmGeorgeAdamson_Color_Medium_TUGeorgeAdamson_SafariJacket_620ClFamed as the ‘Lion Man of Africa’ and regarded as one of the founding fathers of wildlife conservation, George Adamson is best Known from the book and award winning film ‘Born Free’ which features the story of elsa, an orphaned lioness that he raised and released into the wild together with his wife Joy whom he had married six years after joining the Game department. Elsa the lioness would not only come to change George and Joy’s lives but through subsequent books, movies and films, she promoted an enormous interest in conservation with the general public. At about age three, the Adamsons embarked on a feat that had not been attempted before i.e to teach Elsa to hunt and introduce her back into the wild.
article-1265013-090D059E000005DC-663_634x366The Adamsons, as Joy feeds a lion
VirginiaGeorgeBillJoy_BW_BFStill_884TUVirginia McKenna, George Adamson, Bill Travers and Joy Adamson
Virginia and her real life husband Bill Travers played the roles of Joy and George in the award winning movie BORN FREE.
George AdamsonGeorge and Elsa at the river    George_Elsa_Mak31eCrjpg  GeorgeAdamson_2LionsRubChin_400

“No one better knew the language and lives of lions – or loved them more – than George Adamson.” – The Christian Science Monitor

“The Adamsons gave us truths about the species that cannot be found in a biologist’s notebook…Their efforts at reintroduction and rehabilitation taught the scientific community invaluable lessons and the conservation community will forever be indebted to them…” – George Schaler

GeorgeAdamsonStandingWithElsa_OfferingABird

GeorgeAdamsonStandingWithElsaLookingAtBirdOffering_KenyaMuch as her chances for survival in the wild were slim, Elsa succeeded and remarkably continued her bond of trust and affection with the Adamsons. She remained their beloved friend until her unfortunate death believed to have been brought about by a tick disease. Elsa died with her head in George’s lap. She is buried in Meru National Park near the river and to this day many visitors to Meru pass by her grave to pay their respects. Read more of the Adamson’s and Elsa’s story here: http://www.fatheroflions.org/George_BlogArticle.html

GeorgeAdamson_AndElsaSleeping_Full_BW_BF_SmElsa and George Resting Together

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My Elsa gone. Gone the most wonderful friend and part of my life which nothing can replace. Why should it be? Something which has created nothing but good will and love in the world.” George Adamson.

George retired from his position as senior game warden of the Northern Frontier province of Kenya, presently around the Meru National Park area in April 1961. This move would enable him to devote himself fully to working with lions. In 1970, he moved to the Kora National Reserve in northern Kenya where he worked with Tony Fitzjohn as his right-hand man. Together, they continued the rehabilitation of captive or orphaned big cats for eventual reintroduction into the wild.

Adamson_Lion_AtTentOrigBigCrGeorge with boy lion

GeorgeAdamson_Boy_RestingUndTree_LAF_040_CrGeorge Adamson and Boy the Lion taking a nap in the shade of a tree.

George Adamson narrated his many adventures in his double titled biography, ‘Bwana Game’ (European title) and ‘A Lifetime with Lions’(USA title). His publishing ‘My Pride and Joy’ is equally another fascinating autobiography. Although many people feared that living with the lions could pose a danger to the Adamsons, it became apparent that their  worst enemies were of their own Kind – Humans. In 1989, George Adamson was murdered by Somali bandits as he attempted to rescue a young European tourist and one of his assistants at the Kora National Park. 20th August this year, marked 24 years since his demise. He is buried at a site known as Kambi ya Simba (lion’s camp) in the Kora National Park beside his brother Terrance Adamson, Super Cub and his beloved lion friend, Boy. George died at the age of 83.

Lion_GeorgeGraveDayAfterA young Lion, holding a twig in his mouth, visits George’s Grave the day after his burial

Boy_Lion_RestingPlace_Kora_680Boy the Lion’s final resting place

There will never be another person like George Adamson. His was a rugged lifestyle, in a bush camp with only a few modern conveniences. He lived in harmony with nature and he shared a truly beautiful and almost unbelievable friendship with his beloved lion friends. He was truly a unique and wonderful gentleman who devoted his life to helping wildlife and to protecting the unique environment in which they lived.

He was a Hero to the end…giving his life to save another! http://www.fatheroflions.org/GeorgeAdamson_Information.html

“Who will now care for the animals, for they cannot look after themselves? Are there young men and women who are willing to take on this charge? Who will raise their voices, when mine is carried away on the wind, to plead their case?”

George Adamson 1906-1989

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Related article

The moving story of Christian the Lion whom George helped to release to the wild: turbotalkblog.wordpress.com

Photo credits; Fatheroflions.org
 

Conservationists from all over the world will next month converge at Kora National Park to commemorate the 24th anniversary of George Adamson’s death and to honor his work.

George Adamson is one of the founding fathers of wildlife conservation in Africa.

During his lifetime, Adamson mainly rehabilitated captive or orphaned big cats for eventual reintroduction into the wild.

Adamson’s interest in conserving wildlife earned him the name ‘The Lion Man Of Africa’.

The event is organized by the Kenya Wildlife Service with support from other stakeholders.

The George Adamson commemoration weekend in the wild will run from Friday -August 31-to Sunday -September 1.

August 20th will be exactly 24 years since Adamson’s demise, hence the need to visit where he used to work, live and eventually buried.

The primary objective of the event is to build on the foundation laid by George Adamson’s conservation of lions in both Meru and Kora ecosystems.

The people in attendance will be involved in many activities including camping at Adamson’s Camp, climbing the Kora Rock, visiting George Adamson’s grave among many others.

Corporate organizations and individuals have also been invited to participate by sponsoring corporate teams or contributing towards the George Adamson Fund.

A participation fee will be charged as a package with an individual participant paying Ksh 4,000 and cooperate bodies paying Ksh 50,000 – a team of not more than 10 people.

The Kenya Wildlife Service has waived park entry categorization for visitors between the 30th August and 1st September, 2013.

– See more at: http://www.medinaresidences.com/blog/?p=925#sthash.cDhqbVN1.dpufG

Conservationists from all over the world will next month converge at Kora National Park to commemorate the 24th anniversary of George Adamson’s death and to honor his work.

George Adamson is one of the founding fathers of wildlife conservation in Africa.

During his lifetime, Adamson mainly rehabilitated captive or orphaned big cats for eventual reintroduction into the wild.

Adamson’s interest in conserving wildlife earned him the name ‘The Lion Man Of Africa’.

The event is organized by the Kenya Wildlife Service with support from other stakeholders.

The George Adamson commemoration weekend in the wild will run from Friday -August 31-to Sunday -September 1.

August 20th will be exactly 24 years since Adamson’s demise, hence the need to visit where he used to work, live and eventually buried.

The primary objective of the event is to build on the foundation laid by George Adamson’s conservation of lions in both Meru and Kora ecosystems.

The people in attendance will be involved in many activities including camping at Adamson’s Camp, climbing the Kora Rock, visiting George Adamson’s grave among many others.

Corporate organizations and individuals have also been invited to participate by sponsoring corporate teams or contributing towards the George Adamson Fund.

A participation fee will be charged as a package with an individual participant paying Ksh 4,000 and cooperate bodies paying Ksh 50,000 – a team of not more than 10 people.

The Kenya Wildlife Service has waived park entry categorization for visitors between the 30th August and 1st September, 2013.

– See more at: http://www.medinaresidences.com/blog/?p=925#sthash.cDhqbVN1.dpuf

The Kalenjin: Meet the tribe where many are born to run

It is undoubted that Kenya is world-renown for its prowess as an athletics powerhouse. For years, our athletes have time and again dominated  track and field events, bagging themselves numerous medals and therein putting Kenya on the world map. Legendary Kipchoge Keino, Henry Rono, Ezekiel Kemboi, Daniel Komen (junior), Vivian Cheruiyot, Pamela Jelimo, Asbel Kiprop, Julius Yego, just to name a few, are some of the big names that have with time set the bar high in athletics.Kemboi_dance_149865784_620x350The ever entertaining Ezekiel Kemboi, one of Kenya’s champions from the Kalenjin community

150019_10150304831060245_516070244_15895799_5683519_nAside from being Kenyan, what many might not know is that most of our athletes (if not all) hail from what we like to refer to in the country as the running tribe, the Kalenjin. Known for their traditional ‘mursik’ (a beverage made of fermented whole milk that has been stored in a special gourd and cleaned by using a burning stick resulting to milk infused with tiny bits of charcoal), the Kalenjin are highland nilotes belonging to the Nilo-saharan family and are believed to have migrated to their present location from the South Sudan region. They primarily reside in the western highlands and within the rift valley.

285234_10151351247008557_2007808379_nThe famous ‘mursik’

There are several smaller tribal groupings within the Kalenjin: Elgeyo(Keiyo), Endorois, Kipsigis, Marakwet, Nandi, Pokot, Sabaot, Terik, and Tugen. The Kipsigis are the largest sub-tribe accounting to 43% at 1.972 million speakers with recent estimates placing the Kalenjin as the third largest ethnic group in Kenya at 4.967 million people.

SWP-Kalenjin-tribes02Known to be friendly people these highland nilotes’ standard greeting is Chamge or chamuge (how are you) to which one replies with the same phrase chamge (fine) or Chamge mising for emphasis to mean either “very fine” or “close friend,” depending on the context. As a sign of respect, a younger person greets someone of their grandparents’ generation by saying, chamge kogo (grandmother) or chamge kugo (grandfather).

CulturalKalenjin5Until the early 1950s, the Kalenjin did not have a common name; they were usually referred to as the ‘Nandi-speaking tribes’ by scholars and administration officials, a practice that did not immediately come to a halt after the adoption of the common name ‘Kalenjin’ (cf. Evans-Pritchard 1965). An interesting story as to how these ‘Nandi-speaking tribes’ came to their identity as the Kalenjin Began in the 1940s during World War II. Individuals from the tribe fighting in the war used the term kale or kole (the process of scarring the breast or the arm of a warrior who had killed an enemy in battle) to refer to themselves whereas wartime radio broadcaster, John Chemallan frequently used the phrase kalenjok (“I tell you,”) in his broadcastings.

422586_336746216372268_124777214235837_910393_62160322_nLater on, students from the tribe attending Alliance High School formed what was to become the future Kalenjin elite. Numbering fourteen in total, these students who constituted a distinct minority in the prestigious school in seeking an outward manifestation of identity and solidarity to distinguish them from the dominant group of students from the Gikuyu tribe formed a “Kalenjin” club. An identity that was thereafter consolidated with the founding of a Kalenjin union in Eldoret in 1948, and the publication of a monthly magazine called Kalenjin in the 1950s.

The Kalenjin are as synonymous with politics as they are with athletics. Since the attainment of independence, the tribe has produced numerous top players into government and the political arena having produced Kenya’s second and longest serving president – Daniel Arap Moi, current deputy president – William Ruto, beside many other prominent politicians and government officials. Traditionally, the basic unit of  political organization among them was the koret or parish which was a collection of twenty to one hundred scattered homesteads.

moiFormer President Daniel Arap Moi, one of the pioneers of politics among the Kalenjin

It was administered by a council of adult males known collectively as the kokwet and was led by a spokesman called poiyot ap kokwet . This spokesman was someone recognized for his speaking abilities, knowledge of tribal laws, forceful personality, wealth, and social position. At public proceedings, although the poiyot ap kokwet was the first to speak, all of the elders were given the opportunity to state their opinions. Rather than making decisions himself, the poiyot ap kokwet expressed the group’s opinion, always phrased in terms of a group decision.

A number of koret formed the next level of political organization, the pororiet. Each was led by a council, the kiruokwet ap pororiet. This council consisted of the spokesmen of the individual koret, over whom presided two reasonably active old men called kiruokik, the “councillors.” In addition, among the Nandi, there were two representatives of the orkoiyot; a Nandi prophet called maotik and two senior military commanders of the pororiets warriors, kiptaienik ap murenik (B. Roberts – Gale group).

This system was later to be replaced by the system imposed by the British colonial government of village elders, assistant chiefs, chiefs, district officers, district commissioners, and provincial commissioners. Today, the realization of a new constitution has since revolutionized Kenya into a decentralized republic doing away with the British system to a larger extent.

SUB2PIXDeputy president William Ruto and Kalenjin elders

The Kalenjin are a religious people as well. Their traditional religion is based upon the belief in a supreme god, Asis or Cheptalel, who is represented in the form of the sun. Beneath Asis is Elat, who controls thunder and lightning. The Kalenjin also believe that spirits of the dead, oyik, intervene in the affairs of humans, and can be placated with sacrifices of meat and/or beer, called koros.  A peculiar practice of the Kalenjin regarding the dead was the burial of only the people who had borne children; the rest would be taken out to the bush for hyenas to devour. Something else that the Kalenjin had strong belief in were the diviners, called orkoik, believed to have magical powers and who assisted in appeals for rain or to end floods.

429458_336742066372683_124777214235837_910344_862548011_nToday, nearly every Kalenjin member belongs in an organized religion—either Christianity or Islam. Major Christian sects here include the Africa Inland Church (AIC), the Church of the Province of Kenya (CPK), the Roman Catholic Church as well as the African Gospel Church (AGC). Muslims are relatively few in number among the Kalenjin. For the most part, only older people can recall details of traditional religious beliefs.

427136_336748073038749_124777214235837_910416_733537409_nTransformation from childhood to adulthood among the Kalenjin constituted an initiation ceremony ‘tumdo’  which involved circumcision for both males and females. Traditionally, the ceremony took place every seven years to which the initiates were bestowed new status as members of a named age-set ‘ipinda’. After circumcision, the young men would be put into seclusion for instructions about the skills necessary for adulthood. They would then be expected to begin a phase of warrior hood during which they would act as the military force of the tribe. Circumcision for girls on the other hand prepared them for marriage. Today, male age-sets have lost their military function, but still provide bonds between men of the same set. Female age-sets on the other hand have lost much of their importance.

the-nandi-circumcision-ritual-21491379Nandi boys prepared for Initiation ceremony

Marriage as an important stage of life is very vital among the Kalenjin. Typically, after marriage men brought their wives to live with them in an extended family sort of setting. The practice of polygamy was and still is permitted albeit today’s economy has caused a setback to it as bride price has proven to be quite burdening for many. Monogamous marriages now prevail and nuclear families are becoming more common. Children were traditionally seen as a blessing from God hence the high population rate among Kalenjin. The younger generation however is opposed to having larger families and tend to have fewer children when they marry. This can be attributed to the fact that to some degree, many women are now prioritizing career over raising children and also the cost of raising children today has greatly sky rocketed.

In family settings, work division among the Kalenjin is traditionally divided among gender lines. Men do the heavy work; clearing fields for planting, turning over the soil, herding livestock among other pursuits while the women take over the bulk of farming; planting, weeding, harvesting, and processing crops. The women are also involved in the general running of the household.

Batwa-hut

Most Kalenjin are rural dwellers who do not have electricity or indoor plumbing. Traditionally, the Kalenjin made round walled thatched houses constructed from bent saplings anchored to larger posts and covered with a mixture of mud and cow dung; roofs were thatched with local grasses. While these kinds of houses are still common, there is a growing trend toward the construction of square or rectangular houses built with timber walls and roofs of corrugated sheet metal.

news_163755_0One of the major challenges that the Kalenjin grapple with to date would be Cattle rustling. Although raids have always been a part of the Kalenjin culture, especially among the Pokot, the situation has now exasperated as raiders have since upgraded their tools of trade from spears, bows and arrows to semiautomatic weapons like AK 47 rifles. The Marakwet in particular have continued to suffer at the hands of armed cattle rustlers, often from the Pokot. To make matters worse, their marginal status does little to help them as their complaints are met by a general lack of concern from the government. Aside from raiding, other challenges that the Kalenjin face include ethnicity, HIV/AIDS and land disputes.

Kenya’s Cultural Symbol; The Maasai Tribe

Performing the adamu (the jumping dance – performed when a circle is formed by the warriors, and one or two at a time enter the center to begin jumping while maintaining a narrow posture), they stand tall and slender in somewhat stylish long ochre-dyed hair with Shúkà attire (red sheet-like material with hints of other colours e.g blue wrapped around the waist or over the shoulder) completing their overall look. On other occasions you’ll spot them with a spear clutched on one hand and right foot hooked on the crook of the knee of the left leg; these are the stereotypical images we’ve become accustomed to when it comes to the Maasai in the tourism world.

Masai_Mara_Kenya zuru kenya

Maasai_Dance. zuru kenya

Maasai Warriors Dancing zuru kenya

They are undoubtedly the most known Kenyan tribe outside of Kenya, having grown into a brand in itself  not only for Kenyan tourism but also steadily for global fashion.  The maasai brand is all over; maasai carvings and merchandise are in display in numerous curio shops, the maasai market has also overwhelmingly grown overtime, the maasai themselves stand on display at many hotel entrances as an attraction to the guests, even the high-end fashion house Louis Vuitton has a maasai line that includes; hats, scarves, duffle bags and beach towels. The distinctive Maasai beading and decorative jewellery has become a fashion item in the West, and remain one of the most popular items taken home by visitors to Kenya. So popular has Maasai beading become that many modern functional items, including watchstraps, belts, handbags and even mobile phone covers are being produced in Maasai designs. There are currently about 80 companies around the world using either the maasai image or name; showing just how big a brand the maasai have become. Sadly though the ‘Maa’ speaking people aren’t part of the trade – anyhow, that’s a story for another day . But who really are the Maasai?

Louis-Vuitton_Kenya_Masai_1_zuru kenya

Maasai fashion zuru kenya

Louis Vuitton maasai inspired fashion

Over the last one week, renewed effort has been put in, both in print media and on international websites such as BBC, on the pertinent issue of Who Really owns the Maasai Brand? The debate goes, Maasai brand is currently everywhere globally, and it is big money – but the community itself is receiving little benefit from their own brand. To quote from today’s issue of Daily Nation’s DN2 Pullout, “there are currently about 80 companies around the world using either the Maasai image or name. These include a range of accessories called Maasai made for Land Rover; Maasai Barefoot Technology, which makes specialty trainers; and high end fashion house Louis Vuitton, which has a Maasai line that includes beach towels, hats, scarves and duffle bags.” – See more at: http://northkenya.com/2013/05/who-owns-the-maasai-brand-in-kenya/#sthash.A77AID3U.dpuf
there are currently about 80 companies around the world using either the Maasai image or name. These include a range of accessories called Maasai made for Land Rover; Maasai Barefoot Technology, which makes specialty trainers; and high end fashion house Louis Vuitton, which has a Maasai line that includes beach towels, hats, scarves and duffle bags.” – See more at: http://northkenya.com/2013/05/who-owns-the-maasai-brand-in-kenya/#sthash.A77AID3U.dpuf
Over the last one week, renewed effort has been put in, both in print media and on international websites such as BBC, on the pertinent issue of Who Really owns the Maasai Brand? The debate goes, Maasai brand is currently everywhere globally, and it is big money – but the community itself is receiving little benefit from their own brand. To quote from today’s issue of Daily Nation’s DN2 Pullout, “there are currently about 80 companies around the world using either the Maasai image or name. These include a range of accessories called Maasai made for Land Rover; Maasai Barefoot Technology, which makes specialty trainers; and high end fashion house Louis Vuitton, which has a Maasai line that includes beach towels, hats, scarves and duffle bags.” – See more at: http://northkenya.com/2013/05/who-owns-the-maasai-brand-in-kenya/#sthash.A77AID3U.dpuf
there are currently about 80 companies around the world using either the Maasai image or name. These include a range of accessories called Maasai made for Land Rover; Maasai Barefoot Technology, which makes specialty trainers; and high end fashion house Louis Vuitton, which has a Maasai line that includes beach towels, hats, scarves and duffle bags.” – See more at: http://northkenya.com/2013/05/who-owns-the-maasai-brand-in-kenya/#sthash.A77AID3U.dpuf
“there are currently about 80 companies around the world using either the Maasai image or name. These include a range of accessories called Maasai made for Land Rover; Maasai Barefoot Technology, which makes specialty trainers; and high end fashion house Louis Vuitton, which has a Maasai line that includes beach towels, hats, scarves and duffle bags.” – See more at: http://northkenya.com/2013/05/who-owns-the-maasai-brand-in-kenya/#sthash.A77AID3U.dpuf

Predominantly a warrior tribe, the maasai are a semi-nomadic group whose lives revolve around cattle. They cherish these animals so much so that “I hope your cattle are well” is regarded a common greeting among the maasai. They speak ‘maa’, a language family related to Dinka and Nuer and they also have a common ancestral tie to the Samburu and the Njemps. The Maasai have a strong belief that God entrusted cattle to them and therefore to them, wealth is measured by how many herds one owns. This very belief is what has seen result to many cattle raids among the ‘maa’ speaking groups as they believe that stealing from other tribes is okay seeing as cattle was given solely to them by the creator.

Maasai zuru kenya

Maasai warrior standing on the edge of Suswa crater

Maasai warrior standing on the edge of Suswa crater

The Maasai as a cultural people, have managed to retain their beliefs and lifestyle despite modern world temptations to change and adapt with new technologies. They live in small settlements in Kraals, surrounded by thorn bush fences. Their manyattas ( traditional house/hut) are made out of  branches, grass, twigs and cement made out of cow dung and urine. Animal skin and cushions of dry grass serve as interior decor for the huts. For survival, the Maasai rely on cows blood, meat and milk although recent times have seen them adopt agriculture as well. The blood is obtained from the jugular vein of the cow using an arrow and after drawing of the blood, the animal is cared  for ’till it heals.

child-in-the-maasai-manyattaImage credit; towelspacked

maasai zuru kenya

MaasaiVillage_zurukenyaThe Maasai tribe constitutes a highly developed system of initiation and age-sets. The highest ranked being the Oloiboni – a spiritual leader, who also takes the role of a political leader. Along with Oloiboni is alaigwanani, holding the political leadership role only, confined within clan parameters unlike the Oloiboni who has an added religious role that goes beyond clans to a larger community setting in Maasai land. The Maasai also consult diviners; Loibonok whenever misfortune hits the community who also double up as physicians treating diseases. The tribe’s clans are lead by Laigwanak (heads of clans) whose roles include settling land disputes, resolving conflicts between Maasai communities and other tribal groups, as well as serving as intermediaries between the Maasai community and the government.

 maasai elder zuru kenyaMaasai elder

The first initiation stage that the maasai go through is circumcision of boys who are considered junior moran afterwards. They then grow their hair into long braids, usually decorated with red ochre, which is also used to slather their upper bodies. A huge task that the morans previously undertook afterwards but is no longer in practice for wildlife endangerment reasons was lion hunting; Olomayio. This served as a testing for how courageous the young morans were and was a very daunting and daring task having to fight a lion and escape with their life. The victorious warriors would then perform a dance called Engilakinoto.

Maasai morans zuru kenya

african-lions-of-artis-growling-by-stephen-oachs

Age-sets to the maasai are an integral part of the society. These are derived during circumcision where a group partaking in the exercise together form an age-group. Each group has a specific role in the community. For instance, boys (age six and seven) begin to learn herding from their older brothers before undergoing circumcision. There are four age groups in total; junior warriors, senior warriors, junior elders, and senior elders. The junior warriors learn about warfare under the tutelage of the senior age group, prepping to be defenders of the land. They also learn about the customs and traditions of the Maasai people as it will be their duty to pass it on to the next generations. The senior warriors on the other hand assume a tremendous responsibility of defending the land from all sorts of enemies. These two groups serve within a time period of about twenty years until another group gets circumcised. There are no age groups for women, instead they automatically fall into the age group of the men that marry them.

maasai rituals zuru kenya

maasai rituals zuru kenya

Women are the heart of the Maasai tribe, having to carry out many of the chores in the community. Aside from building manyattas; a task that takes them a period of about seven months to complete, the women fetch water and firewood, milk cows, pick calabashes and gourds decorating them with leather and beads, look after their homes amongst many other duties. Even though women in this society have a strong voice in their culture functioning as religious leaders and educators, they are on the other hand, considered a minority. They have no right to own neither cattle nor land and are represented by their fathers when it comes to sensitive matters and tough decision making and later on after marriage, their husbands. If unfortunately one doesn’t get sons in her marriage, the poor woman will be left on her own with no money, possessions or anyone to take care of her.

Masai Ladies in Manyatta zuru kenya

Masai-Tribe zuru kenya

The Maasai are not only known for their traditional beliefs but also for their exquisite artistry. To some of us it appears simply as fashionable but what many do not know is that beading to the Maasai is actually symbolic. This tribe has about 40 types of bead work that mostly feature the colours red (colour of the Maasai), blue (Godly and reflecting the colour of the sky) and green (colour of God’s greatest blessing, fresh grass after rainfall). The bead work is done by the women but is worn by both genders of the community. Unmarried women adorn one of the beautiful pieces created; a large flat disc that surrounds the neck, made up of rows of beads threaded onto wire, secured and spaced with cow hide strips. Married women on the other hand, wear long blue beaded necklaces, and also decorate their earlobes with long beaded flaps. This amazing bead work has gained the Maasai a large market for their creations with locals as well as tourists serving as big customers.

maasai woman zuru kenya

maasai jewellery zuru kenya  maasai woman zuru kenya The Maasai tribe is crippled by a number of challenges today; competing with wildlife for their land, natural calamities such as drought causing loss of herds, illiteracy is another thing that short changes the community and constant cattle raids leading to loss of life and property. Despite being seen as a rigid society for preserving their traditional ways, their conservatism has undoubtedly gone a long way in bringing the Maasai a lot of fame overtime.  Today, they are revered as a community of beautiful culture that has earned worldwide respect.

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