THE KALENJIN PEOPLE INTRODUCTION

The Kalenjin tribe belongs to the Nilotic ethnic group called highland Nilotes which consists of the following sub-tribes spread throughout East Africa;

• Kipsigis

• Nandi

• Keiyo

• Marakwet

• Sabaot/Kony

• Pokots/Suk

• Terik

• Ogiek/Dorobo

• Tugen (Samor, Eldorais, Lembus,Pokor keben,Aror)

• Sengwer/Cherangany

The above are in Kenya while in Tanzania consists of:

• Barabaek

• Tatireek

• Hilbangrangaek

• Sonjoek

• Sirikwaek (Sindawi)

• Nataeek)

• Badyut

• Tatogaeek

In Sudan are Morule among others while in Uganda are Sebei or Kipsabiny among others.

The word or term ‘Kalenjin’ was coined by earlier scholars of the tribe during 1940s probably at Alliance High school. This is because all the sub tribes of Kalenjin always utter the word ‘Kaleeii’ meaning ‘I say or l say to you’, before uttering or saying any word. Thus the word ‘kaleeii’ is common to all of the sub-tribe hence Kalenjin collectively.Earlier the colonialist used to refer to all kalenjin as Nandis,thus actually all Kalenjin collectively resisted colonial rule in Kalenjin land, lead by legendary Koitalel Arap Samoei in Nandi, Kipchomber arap Koilegen alias kiptoingeny kochichlem, kibuigut Arap Singoe and Kipkirui Arap Boisio in Kipsigis land.All were sons of legendary Kipnyole Arap Turugat alias Simbolei.Koitalel Arap Samoei ,Kipnyole last born was finally assassinated by colonolist while others first born Kipchomber Arap koilegen and other brothers were finally deported to Maragwa and his kinsmen later deported to Gwasi area heavily infested with tsetsefly in Lambwe valley actually a form of genocide.

The original name of kalenjin is ‘miot’ meaning lovers of honey and milk since they are their preffered meal. The kalenjin myths claims that they are the miot lagokab lote (miot children of lote) Miot could also refers to Moabites in Bible which is an indication that they may have come across each other and intermarry at a place called Goshen.The current kalenjin council of elders are called Miot because of above.

The Old Testament of the Bible shows a very closely related cultural practices of Jews and kalenjin showing that they have a common ancestry.When Jesus Christ was born ,King Herod instructed the wise men to determine when Jesus was born using stars.In Kalenjin there are too wise men with special instinct abilities who can read stars i.e Koromerik and kipsomoguk to tell various events, reading of intestines to determine the situations among others

The Kalenjin were monotheist; worshippers of one Supreme Being. This made it easier for them to accept the Christian message. The Supreme Being was called Asis which has many attributes;

Cheptalel ( the controller of all things),or Cheptalil i.e one which glitters meaning purity

Chebonomi (giver of life),

Chepokipkoyo (God the protector);

Chepomirchiio (God who over sees armed forces);

Chepkeelyen sogol ( the Omnipresence God),

Chemalus (God knows all ),

Chepokimabai (God the controller of all harvest) ,

Weriit neo (God is important of alland has feelings),

Cheboo (God is great);

Chepwooboit (God the great worker);

Chepkochor (God is everlasting),

Tororot (God is the most high) just like in Bible, Adonai, Jiren, Nissi, Shalom, Shammah, Tsidkenu, Elshadai, Elohe among others are the attributes of Jehovah.

A study by Dr. Kipkoech Arap Sambu in his book Egyptology has found that kalenjin share words with natives of Egypt (Kemet), native Egyptians refer to God as ptah, where as Kalenjin called Him Kiptayat and sun both called Asista. Most Kalenjins myths claims that they originated from Tot or Burgei (warm place) from the North which is probably Egypt (Kemet).This is why when kalenjin are blessing they always utter words Burgei kole burgei signifying their originality.

According to legends, the Kalenjin came from Tot probably Dwo in Egypt (kemet). The ancestors of Kalenjin were Tapnai and kingo who had the following Sons; Cherang Muukwo, Kipsirikwo, Kipongom and others from several wives. When Kingo was about to die as a result of old age his eldest son Olchiangwal inherit his younger wives and the named to non kiindi (one who inherits) and later name was shorted to Nandi. His other son move to different fertile territory and became prolific and this Kipsigis ki-po-sigis i.e ‘one who gave birth to many. ‘

Another version was that, while the sons was tending cows, one found the vessel called kiisiet (traditional bowl of ugali) he was then reffered by other as Kipsich kisiet i.e ‘one who found kiiset’ and later name of his generation became Kipsigisiek. One of the Sons when to a safari but disappeared, he was waited in vain but they kept on faith and said to kigeni (two are still having hope of waiting) and his generation because of event became The Tugen. Other Son went far field milking kingos called when others asked about the cattle his response was kei-yoo i.e ‘the mother is milking’ hence his generation became The Keiyo.

Other Son is believed to have demanded for kwesta (Ram) and was called mach kwesta and later his generation became The Marakwet. The other Son was banished for misconduct and he disappeared from home, he was later tought to be dead but the mother kept on saying sobei (still alive) and thus his generation became The Sebei of Uganda. The other Sons remained at kingo’s homestead these were Koony and Pokot. Pokot means Pokoot i.e ‘the owner of the house’ and Koony means ‘ our home’ this gives rise to Pokot generation.

There are ancient songs and myths which shows that Kalenjin and Jews might have encounter each other. For example okwasien wee beechu asi agonok sonoiyat ne leel ak ne tui. Meaning ‘please water, may you be clear so that I can give you white and black beads’, which is almost related to rituals done by Moses during crossing of Red sea by Israelites. Song Ndama riretab musaya could be the attribute of role of Mosses to children of Israel when they were crossing sea.

The traditional huts resembles Egyptian pyramids, totems of clans are used by both Egyptians and Jews showing that they have common phylogeny or ancestry.

Israel is derived from two deities Isis(Asis) and Ra and El – the semitic deity. The kalenjin say that in their migratory journey in a wild far country, they were pursued by an enemy. One elder upon a lake they could not cross intoned four times – Beekab kamama yas ole yas (waters of maternal uncles part say part), the water parted and on reaching the other side of the river the same elder intoned again four times – Beekab kamama king ole king (waters of maternal uncles meet say meet) and the water met killing the enemy instantly. However the kalenjin still remember the elder who intoned as musaika as they sing a song called ndomo rireetab musaika as sing a song called ndomo rireetab musaika kotomokimi emoni – a song sung after women have been circumcised.

The entire kalenjin sometimes called themselves Bikab kutit (people of mouth). This is because when missionaries came earlier they noticed that most members of this tribe had good white teeth (Good teeth – kutit).

Thus kalenjin then called themselves bikab kutit (people with good teeth as they are found of taking milk which have calcium for proper teeth formation. Mouth (space between the jaws) is actually called Ngesemta or moromet.

The Kalenjin entirely were ruled and governed by council of elders, where the Orkoiyot was the chief medicine man, religious leader and guide the community when to undertake anything whether planting or raiding other communities. The Orkoiyot was both the person and the highest office on land. The Oorkoik (workoiik) were royal people who lead kalenjin in olden times.Oorkoi means ‘this house of big or intelligent people.’ The Hellenic Greeks called them Arkhont. Oo (big), Koi (house or stone) Hence workoii (Oorkoi) means these people are from the house of leaders (rocks). Amazingly woorkoik were given “Rock” names like Jewish prophets, Koitalel (white rock), koilegen (spotted rock) kobogoi, koitabai (rock of grinding millet). And in the Bible we have Peter the Rock (Cephas) and Rock of Ages, what a great connection!

The Bedouins of Israel have an uncanny ability they are known as the best desert trackers in the world. They are able to find traces of people or animals in the sand; tell whether the animal was running or whether a man or woman and was carrying equipment.

This very special skill has made Bedouins very valuable to the Isreal army, especially for guarding the borders. They are among those few Israel Arabs who can volunteer to serve in army and are always called upon to track down enemy troops who have broken through Israel’s border defenses.The Bedouins like some Kalenjins pride themselves on their capacity for hospitality and concern for people. However, their code of conduct does not see habit of raiding other tribes livestock as something that is wrong. The kalenjin participated greatly in British army during Second World War and there are a lot of claims that it was their envolment which leads to the end of the war.

The reasons for Kalenjin migration from Egypt were; search of greener pastures, drought, hostile neighbouring communities, disease outbreaks, enslavement and to fulfill myths of their fore fathers.And in particular attacked by powerful invaders called kipyayamungen who were white.

The kalenjin during pre-colonial period had a well organized social, economic and political organization with well structured central government. The religious system were well organized and the religious practices were strictly adhered to which in turn leads to a well rounded person in all aspects that is mind, body and spirit.

Kalenjin since time immemorial from Egypt has demonstrated leadership position several Egyptian pharaohs were actually Kalenjin.Too in build instict of military organization of Kalenjin was used by pharaoh in expansion of its territory.

In modern Africa Kalenjin has produced several political leaders namely;Daniel Toroitich Kapkorios Arap Moi who ruled Kenya for 24 years as president Jomo Kenyatta kenyas first president and His son Uhuru Kenyatta Kenyas fourth President are claimed to have Kalenjin blood,Proffesor Yusuf Lule of Sebei of Uganda ruled Uganda for one month as president ,current Republic of Kenya Deputy president William Kipchirchir Samoei Arap Ruto among other reknown persons in proffesinal fields.kongoi konyon gotab kandoik gotab lole mat.

Kenya is known internationally especially because of its unique athletes who have dominated the track for couple of decades because of their outstanding track records where the Kalenjin names features prominently.Those who excell from other tribes are mainly immediate neighbours of Kalenjin and thus rumours goes that it may have been born as a result of generosity of Kalenjin sharing their genes with neighbours.The Ethiopians Oromos too are claimed to be splinter group of Kalenjin while they were dispersing from Egypt that is why they are very good athletes.Oromo comes from Kalenjin term bik che koromen i.e. people who are fierce.

The children songs and riddles used to prophesy the future events which actually came to pass for example, the song Chepkongo teme ano tinget ,ame ano tuga sung in 1940s predict the current event of land scarcity as a result of population explosion Teretab kogo chemagirgir tondet,kigome anan tomi, kigome was sung by children in earlier 1930s when the traditional pot was used for cooking which takes a lot of time to cook food,the children predicted the use of modern sufurias which take very much shorter time because of their good conductivity since they are made of alluminium..The riddle Telelen kiptiltilyet iitit asi kogur chemunai nemi oi i.e .simoit was used by children in 1950s and currently actually every one owns a phnone.The past kalenjin prophets notably Kimondit Arap Mugeni boiyot kiptormesendet of Chemagel Sotik prophesies a lot which actually came to be very true just like the Biblical prophets

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