Kenya: Endorois Traditional Song
The Endorois are a semi-nomadic indigenous community of approximately 60,000 people, who for centuries have earned their livelihoods from herding cattle and goats in the Lake Bogoria area of Kenya’s Rift Valley.
Endorois land was originally appropriated by the Kenyan government in the 1970s to create the Lake Bogoria National Reserve.
When tourists flock to the Reserve they have little idea of the high cost the Endorois have paid for their eviction. The vast majority of the community live in severe poverty, have little or no electricity, walk miles to collect water in an area stricken by drought, and are consistently dependent on relief food.
Since the creation of the wildlife reserve, the Endorois have been unable to gather the plants they once relied on for medicinal purposes, conduct religious ceremonies at their sacred sites or visit the graves of their ancestors.
In a landmark decision, in February 2010 an African regional body found the Kenyan government guilty of violating the rights of the Endorois community, by evicting them from their lands to make way for a wildlife reserve.
The decision, by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, creates a major legal precedent by recognising, for the first time in Africa, indigenous peoples’ rights over traditionally owned land and their right to development.
This recording, made by MRG staff members during a ceremony at the village of Loboi on the outskirts of the Reserve, is a traditional Endorois song, performed by women members of the cultural troup.
For more information on Kenya and Endorois see MRG’s Online Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples
Emma Eastwood, MRG's London Media Officer, or Mohamed Matovu, MRG's Africa Regional information officer in Kampala. See Contact page for details.