On this page, I am going to
introduce my recent fieldwork and studies. This time, I'd like to
talk about my field: Rendilleland & Rendille people.
- Location: Some 50000km˛ area in
the southern part of Marsabit District,
north-central Kenya. The area is from the east
shores of Lake Turkana to the west foot of Mount
Marsabit. The northern boundary is marked by
Chalbi Desert, and the southern by Mt. Ndodo. and
Mt. Mathews. Only two towns(Korr & Kargi) are
located in central lowland. Here is one of the
driest regions in East Africa.
- Topography: Central lowland is
an area of semi-rocky desert with an elevation of
400~600m. There is a zone of black lava extending
from the east shores of Lake Turkana to the west
foot of Mt. Marsabit. The southern mountainous
regions are more than 1500m high.
- Climate: Average temperature is
from 22 to 39ēC. Four seasons:
Rainfall is unpredictable and short or long
drought repeats in every few years.
- Vegetation: Bushland and
thicket, semi-desert grassland cover more that
80% of all area. Acacia and Commiphora
grow predominantly in the upper and middle strata
whereas Sericomopsis, Blepharis
and Indigofera occur in the lower
- Fauna: Carnivores--black-backed
jackal, hyena, lion(?) ; Herbivorous--gerenuk,
gazelle, oryx, dik-dik, hare etc.
- Water Resources: Alkaline spring
in Kollale(some 20Km from Kargi), digged wells
around Kargi and Korr, surface water after the
- Population: about 27000 (1990
Kenya Population Census)
- Language: Rendille language (a
Cushitic language related to Somali)
- Descent group: Two moieties:
Belesi Bahai(with 5 patrilineal clans) and Belesi
Berri(with 4 patrilineal clans)
- Age system: Composed of
age-grades, age-sets,and generation-sets. Tribal
circumcision ceremony is held in every 14 years,
after this ceremony circumcised young men form a
new age-set(from boyhood to warriorhood).
- Subsistence activities: If you
have travelled east African countries such as
Kenya and Tanzania and have seen my pictures of
Rendille people, you might say: Oh! they look
like Maasai - a famous tribe with beautiful beads
ornaments and brave warriors(moran) that
had dominated east African savanna for more than
3 centuries before European colonists came.
Although Rendille look like Maa speakers(Nilotic
linguitic groups such as Maasai, Samburu etc.),
they are a defined and cohesive group(classified
as a Cushite linguistic group).
Rendille are essentially subsistence
pastoralists, graze their camels, cattle and
small stock(goats and sheep) in the arid
lowlands, subsist exclusively on the milk and
blood of their camel herds and meat and trade
from their small stock for maize flour, tea
leaves, sugar and household goods. Rendille live
in two different types of residences, the
settlement and the herding camp. The settlement
is large and occupied mainly by sub-clan agnates
and their families. According to the type of
livestock to be herded, herding camps are
distinguished into camel camp, cattle camp and
small stock camp. Married men and women with
small babies often live in the settlement,
whereas young boys, girls and young men(her:
warrior) who work in camps as herders support the
livestock based economy.
|My interest and research
- Current pastoral activities and adaptation
- Pastoral ecology in respect to livestock herding
- Social-ecological changes relate to drought,
political insecurity and government and
international agencies' development projects.