One of The Nandis’ Oldest Ritual of All Time

Part I

Perhaps it is the most impressive and highly celebrated practise in Kalenjin Community that is one of the oldest, and one of the newest again.


This paradox explains the highly guarded secrets of Nandi, Tugen, Marakwet, Kipsigis and Terik that all share a bit similar rituals and doctrines of initiation passage. Traditional elders along with the families identifies groups of young men said to be ready to undergo the secret practice in a very guarded and secluded bush – A bush that is only accessible by authorized people – matireniikand after 30 to 50 days of life in the cold characterized with intense and sophisticated training, eating, singing, hunting and gathering, art and crafting,  everything is brought down to ashes leaving no single trace.

The private and confidential ritual is done after public gathering called Cheptileet, which is done few hours to dusk to bid bye to families, friends, and the community, so that the real hit takes centre-stage through the midnight, far in the bushy and hardly accessible areas – for close to 50 days!

Secrets: In The Darkness

In the darkest hour, step by step the circumcision practise commences. Within a blink of an eye, thunderous folks,  soft hyms and repetitive curse-like utterances covers the jinxed atmosphere of uncertainty.

I was there. Facing the heavens, I bit my teeth and closed my eyes as the most pain I’ve ever felt ran all over my central nervous system. Not even an “ouch!” sound I did made.

What Happened Today?

Today, several villages in Nandi Hills and across Kalenjin territories, are celebrating this momentous ceremony in their own style and to the best. Every month of November to December is our season.

As a qualified matiryot, I want to express my concerns over the deterioration of our culture.

What is fading away our strongest, hardest and strict culture?

I’m told of Kipsigis that they allow common women to access areas of secluded warriors of the land? Why?

I am surprised that the other counterparts, the Kipkanisa/Kapsipiress/Kapindiziin, are now told of what the REAL men and warriors of the land undergo, by the “reformed” loyalists! Why?

Furthermore, some influenced families have created myths out of the blue citing that the original culture – the real domain is mared by improper coaching and as a result, they take their boys to the less-cultured, immature and childish faction of kipkanisa.

Take It From Me

Mwacha mila ni mtumwa. Pretending to be reformed and so holy is a wrong move that later makes the boys slaves like the above proverb asserts. You find out that boys initiated through the holy-playing and sympathetic seperatists are the ones leading lifestyle that is not on the conformity of Kalenjin course of doctrines.

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They drink to stupor in our towns and cities, act so stupid and fail to manage their girlfriends or wives.

They are shy and afraid to join conversations of the real men warriors in daily life. This in turn affects inclusivity of the society, and also locks out ideas, critics  and opinions during policy and decision making.

Another shaming outcome is later when already circumcised “man” decides to buy the traditions and requests matireniik to take him through the highly guarded ritual for him to be a man enough in the society and take part in making such decisions in developmental issues.

Therefore, instead of going the other long, wrong and childish way of cowards, just decide to face it and embrace original practices of the tribe Nandi free of charge. Why go the cowards way then later buy the practice?

Classified – What You Don’t Know!
This goes to the kipkanisa! You absolutely know nothing… What you were told and taught about The Real Heroes is not true. Those who teach you are fake just as the information they give. Why so? Because, those who tries to reveal our highly guarded secrets are whisked away immediately by madnesses, or dumbness, or sticked necks – meaning the classified information is not released at all.

The only people who know the truth and how it feels are those who faced the heroism head-on and embraced the original traditions during their seclusion.

PHOTO: Dismas

Tumdonyo manei lem. Bo Chameet Karoon. KING ole KING!


Part Two Coming Soon



18 thoughts on “One of The Nandis’ Oldest Ritual of All Time

  1. Weri,, kile Kiptayat kimamakekei atkinye kimaotinye naet,, oronii anyun kakobit naet,, tailelee akoi kotianiit?!taiyooe tararameek akoi kotaniiit??taiyotee cheptailelishekab ngony chemasabtos akoi auyo?!
    Siiku weroo kotakomii kasarta,, tinyee riryet Kiptayat Jesu,, Kimee inendet sikesorwech eng tengek,, mang’uu eng misri,,
    ilelee akoi kotyaniit?!chomiin Jesu Akochobot konyoun kaat


  2. The old traditions have no place in the current dispensation. I did not undergo the traditional circumcision but I am proud that I am a man enough and I have been able to study to the PHD Level and I have employed the sons and daughters in good jobs. I am an HR professional and I have also graded roads in the village. No one dares me and even those who call themselves men come kneeling begging for money for the liquor. Issues below the belt are non issue in this era and the brains that someone has will transform our society.


    1. Yes,our beautiful culture is not important to you coz u dont know,indee this culture is irrelevant in most aspects more so your point and yet we are proud of it and we will be passing it to next generation,i love it ,can you then bail me also?0706724507


    2. degrees or no degrees, we need pple. whether rich or otherwise we need them. i would advise frens that issue in question is simply a process, the outcome is what matters. what kind of person are you after the event? is it the one that brags? the one who calls others beggers? degrees doesnt add up to culture! It is circumcision, whether traditional or otherwise “the so called *religious” that form a culture! Consequently, we are all cultural. style up


  3. no matter,what one believe chebuchaa will remain the same nyikonik will remain to be moreless even in isreal it was amandate to bo circumcised according to tradition so what can one instigate our traditions check on your status hoi tumto..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Its good to preserve the culture through writings and recordings but it doest guarantee betrayal to our culture by exposing our secrets….people pretend that they are civilised,educated or religious. That fact that you have another point of view about what you believe doesnt give you a right to reveal our secrets if you are a real nandi.Even Jews had their own culture which even Jesus went through its rituals.If Jesus preserved his culture,then who are you?Culture is what defines us in our society, it gives us a sense of unity and solidarity that we cant get elsewhere.

    In short one can expose any other aspect of culture but please i beg you to leave anything concerning Nanda initiational secrets.Call us the sons of darkness but at least leave us to enjoy our darkness

    In both classical and contemporary literary approach, cultural studies is stressed and the need for language and cultural preservation is given a platform.This fact calls every member of a given cultural settings to appreciate and preserve their cultures.NANDI culture is not exeptional.its worth respect and preservation and therefore i urge prople from nandi culture concentration areas such as my place Kapchepkok,kipsamoite,kapsisiywa,Aldai and other villages to be the ambassadors of culture

    “……..kolelit kou chepkelel” kim lavine,A teacher of literature and cultural studies as well as a staunch ambassador of Nandi culture

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The culture has +ve and -ve implication on the participant. Nandi circumcision Rituals we must accept has been changing over time. So nobody will claim they have an upper hand in it. Or can I say what has changed? So please. Let’s circumscise our brains too.


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