Rendille and Samburu: Ethnic Fashion and Adornment

There is no doubt that Kenyans take the prize when it comes to their bright ethnic fashion. They have some of the most unique and stunning ways of adorning their bodies.

Portrait Of A Rendille Tribeswoman, Marsabit District, Ngurunit, Kenya (All Photos/Eric Lafforgue)

Portrait of a Rendille tribeswoman, Marsabit District, Ngurunit, Kenya (All Photos/Eric Lafforgue).

In the pictures that follow are gorgeous images of ethnic fashion from mainly two tribes: Rendille and Samburu. The Rendille tribe is located in the northern eastern part of Kenya while Samburu people are found mostly in the north-central part of Kenya.


The Rendille. Pushed away by their neighbours, they henceforth inhabit a vast territory : from the Kaisut Desert to the east to the shores of Lake Turkana to the west.They are semi-nomadic, that is to say both nomad and pastoralist. Clans live in temporary settlement called gobs. The Rendille never stay long at the same place to look for water sources and pasturing areas. They move 3 to 5 times a year. Women are in charge of taking the houses apart and putting them back in the new location. The Rendille favour camels rather than cattle, because they are better suited to the environment. The Rendille depend heavily on them for food, milk, clothing, trade and transport. The Rendille are skilled craftsmen and make many different decoration or ornaments. Like the Maasai with cows, camels are bled in order to drink their blood. Marriage is not allowed within one's own clan. Society is strongly bound by family ties. The Rendille still believe in their God, called Wak or Ngai. They also have fortune-tellers who predict the future, and perform sacrifices to make it rain. Special ceremonies take place at a child's birth. A ewe or goat is sacrificed if it is a girl, a ram if a boy. The girl is blessed 3 times while 4 for the boy. In the same way, mother drinks blood for 3 days for a babygirl, 4 days for a babyboy. The weeding ceremony takes time. The prospective groom must give the bridewealth to the bride's family: 4 female and 4 male camels. Les Rendille. Repoussés par leurs voisins, ils habitent désormais un vaste territoire, qui va du Désert de Kaisut à l’est aux rives du Lac Turkana à l’ouest.Ils sont semi-nomades, c’est-à-dire à la fois nomades et pasteurs. Les clans vivent dans des installations temporaires appelées gobs. Les Rendille ne restent jamais longtemps au même endroit pour chercher des sources d’eau et des pâturages. Ils se déplacent 3 à 5 fois par an. Les femmes sont chargées de démonter les maisons et les replacer dans leur nouvea







Source: This is Africa

Originally from Sweden, Chris is a journalist with an extensive interest for African culture and the arts.