Deep in the Western Highlands of Africa lives a group of people known as the Nandi people. These people once lived a sedentary life as cattle herders and agriculturalists. Interesting facts about the Nandi people include beliefs of male and female circumcision. In the past, large ceremonies were held every seven and one half years for male circumcision, which provided rite of initiation into adulthood (Wikipedia, p.1).
While male circumcision is an everyday occurrence here in the U.S., female circumcision is not. Female circumcision was performed among the Nandi females in preparation for marriage. In addition to beliefs such as male/female circumcision, this culture also believed in female-female marriages (Wikipedia, p.1). The female-female marriages solved the problems of marriage failure, and served as a way to rescue young mothers from social and economic distress. Born from this group of intriguing people were the Nandi warriors. Men young and old formed this protective group who later came to be known as one of the most notorious for slaying in Kenyan history (Kamau, p.1).
The Nandi Warriors were successful in keeping out any possible threats to their people by limiting access into their territory. Many outsiders attempted intrusion in order to proceed with trading practices, and as a result, thousands were killed. Small groups of the Nandi warriors would lead intruding caravans deep into the Nandi lands, where, later in the evening, the warriors would massacre their “guests” (Bishop, p.1). Only rarely did the warriors entertain trading opportunities. Items up for trade included ivory and other coastal goods in exchange for cattle (Biship, p.1).
While the Nandi Warriors’ protective measures would continue to last only a short time longer, the British’s own slaying of Nandi Warrior leader Kimnyole arap Sameoi would end slayings on the Nandi people’s behalf completely (Kamau, p. 1) in order to proceed with foreign rule. This defeat, enforced by the Imperial British of East Africa, would end the Nandi Resistance, and allow the peaceful beginnings to show face to the Nandi people, as well as surrounding areas.
The Nandi were noted warriors (Bishop, p.1). After many battles, many victories and many defeats, the Nandi Warriors were feared by anyone who had reason to walk by their territory. Resistance to foreign rule would eventually weaken the opposition of the Nandi Warriors, and much needed peace would be restored in East Africa.
1.Cultural Safari. 2005. Kenya Tourist Board. MK Literary Group. January 2007.
2. Warriors in the Heart of Darkness: The Nandi Resistance. 2002. Koitalel Kenyan Heroes. Dennis Biship. January 2007.
3. The Unresolved Issue of the Kenyan Freedom Movement. 1999, Rev. 2000. Saxakali.com. Michael Mundia Kamau. January 2007.
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