Samburu of Northern Kenya

African Culture of the Day: The Samburu of Northern Kenya πŸ‡°πŸ‡ͺ

The Samburu tribe from north – central Kenya are pastoralists from the great plains of the Samburu region . They are closely related to the Maasai people of Kenya and are said to have migrated south from the Nile region of North Africa . The Samburu people speak a dialect of the Maa language which they share with the Maasai. The Samburu are however considered to be even more remote as the region that they inhabit is dry and arid and so can support less life.

Pastoralists , the Samburu raise primarily cattle but also keep other livestock like goats, sheep and even camels . Because of the arid environment that they inhabit , this African tribe is traditionally nomadic . Constantly in search of pastures for their cattle, much of the conflict in their ever – shrinking range is caused by the search for land. The Samburu diet , like the Maasai , consists of milk and animal blood, while eating is reserved for special occasions.

The Samburu are renowned for their colourful clothing and their unique social structure . The men wear pink or black cloth in a manner similar to the Scottish kilt and adorn themselves with bracelets , anklets and necklaces. The warrior age – group or Moran , are known to wear their hair in long braids . The women , on the other hand , keep their heads shaven and wear two cloths , one around the waist and the other around their chests . The cloth is usually blue or purple and the women adorn themselves further by applying ochre to their bodies in a fashion similar to the Himba of Namibia .

What sets the Samburu apart , however , is their gerontocracy . A gerontocracy is a social structure which is governed strictly by the elders who make all the decisions . The leaders are the oldest members of the society and they have the final say in all matters as well as possessing the power to curse younger members of the tribe . The ultimate source of power for the deeply religious African tribe of the Samburu is their God Nkai . The elders , responsible for law and order are devout and follow his guidance in all matters .