The Kalenjin are Kenya's fourth-largest ethnic group with an estimated population
of 12% of the Kenya's population. Sources say they migrated to their current homeland
from Sudan roughly 2,000 years ago. Currently situated east of Lake Victoria in western Kenya, they are part of the
larger Southern Nilotic-speaking people of East Africa. The Kalenjin
tribe is a bigger language family of the Kipsigis, Nandi, Sabaot, Tugen, Elgeyo,
Marakwet, and Pokot
indigenous people altogether.
They have an interesting and rich culture. Men and women alike
at one time pierced their ears, and then put sticks in them to stretch the lobes.
They did this so that in order to wear beads in their ears. A lot of Kalenjin of
the older generation can still be noticed by their stretched earlobes.
They stopped practicing this due to hygiene reasons.
The Kalenjin adore their cows and territory. Up to today, most Kalenjin local people
are still engaged both in farming and animal husbandry. They do
grow crops such as millet, maize, tea and sorghum. Their Kericho town of the Rift Valley province is best known for tea growing.
Traditionally, they built round homes made of sticks and mud plaster, usually with
pointed thatch roofs with a pole out the center. These days' homes are commonly
wood and stone with modern facilities, though traditional homes can still be seen.
The children of Kalenjin were taught to respect elders. Even now, respect is very
significant in their culture. Manners are vital and men are the head of the house.
Girls were taught to kneel before men and weren't supposed to speak to men until
they gone through circumcision. Girls had to learn how to make gourds and pots
used for carrying water. They learned how to carry firewood and gather wild vegetables.
Boys were taught to graze the cattle and guard the territory. Sleeping
the same house with their mother, after the age of 5 was not allowed in boys.
Although still involved in animal husbandry and crop growing, the Kalenjin indigenous
people have also gained international recognition as excellent runners.
The Kalenjin people have attained and also maintained worldwide credit as excellent
runners. From 1980, 40% or more of the top international awards in running have
been awarded to Kalenjin runners, mainly at the longer distances races such as marathon.
Even though the Kalenjin are not very much known for their handicrafts, women make
and locally sell beautifully decorated calabashes (sotet) from gourds. They are
rubbed with oil and adorned with small colored beads and the sold or exhibited in
Do you have Inquiry or comment? Fill in the form below!