Nandi People: The Origin and History Of Nandi People.

The history and origin of the Nandi people.

The “Nende”, more commonly known as the Nandi, now primarily inhabit the Nandi County in western Kenya.

The Nandi are a Nilotic, traditionally cattle herding and small scale farming community of Kalenjiin speaking people, which includes other groups such as the Tugen, Kipsigis, Keiyo, Marakwet, Pokot and Sabaot.

They are believed to have migrated from Sudan and Ethiopia into the Rift Valley and surrounding regions centuries ago, and once occupied a much larger territory stretching into Uganda.

The Nandi were known as such fierce fighters that even the Maasai came to avoid them. They would often terrorize Arab caravan traders attempting to pass through their territory, even destroying their fortified stations in the second half of the 19th century, forcing the wholesale withdrawal of Arab traders from the Nandi territory.

For decades, Nandi warriors armed with spears, hide shields, bows and arrows, successfully fought off incursions of traders and soldiers armed with gunpowder weapons.

“Like the Maasai, the warriors drew the enemy’s fire by a sudden rush at which time they hit the ground. Then the warriors charged the caravan porters before the muzzle loading weapons could be recharged.

The porters bolted into the reloading riflemen followed closely by the Nandi warriors, and in this confusion, the Nandi warriors could spear the panicked men.” -Institutions of the Nandi Orkoiyot and Age Set Systems and their Role in Colonial Resistance in Kenya

The Nandi also waged an impressive 16 year long military resistance movement to British colonial rule from 1890 to 1906, known as the Nandi Resistance.

This resistance movement only came to an end with the unceremonious killing of Koitalel Arap Samoei, the Nandi “Orkoiyot”, or chief spiritual and military leader.

Samoei, who led the Nandi resistance movement, was shot dead by the British Colonel, Richard Meinertzhagen, during a meeting set up under the guise of truce negotiations.

Norbert Bwire

Norbert Bwire is a writer and founder of upasho.co.ke. He specializes in trending stories and local news. His goal is to share the best tips and news articles so as to help you understand what happens around the world.

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