When the Maasai migrated from the Sudan in the 15th century, they attacked the indigenous groups they met along the way and raided cattle. By the end of their journey, they had taken over almost all of the land in the Rift Valley.
“Lions can run faster than us, but we can run farther”
The Maasai’s entire way of life has historically depended on their cattle, following patterns of rainfall over vast land in search of food and water. Nowadays, it is common to see young Maasai men and women in cities selling not just goats and cows, but also beads, mobile phones, charcoal and grain.
The Samburu live in northern Kenya, where the Ndoto mountains give way towards the Chalbi desert. As cattle-herding Nilotes, the Samburu reached Kenya some five hundred years ago, moving southwards along the plains of the Rift Valley in a rapid advance.
“A deaf ear meets with death, a listening ear with blessings”
The Samburu have to relocate every 5 to 6 weeks to ensure their cattle can feed themselves. They are independent and egalitarian people. Their society has depended on cattle and warfare for so long that they find it hard to change to a more sedentary lifestyle.