Second largest town in the county, Nandi Hills remains to be the most historical home deeply connected with community’s ancient and present day lifestyle of the Nandi People.In the entire Kalenjin tribe, Wikipedia notes that Nandi sub-tribe featured the most brave and strong people of the land. The following are few notable unique features found in Nandi Hills and its close environs.
The Land of Heroes, Heroines and Champions
Many reknowned leaders came out of Nandi. From Koitaleel Arap Samoei, Jean Marie Seroney, Chelagat Mutai, and Bishop Alexander Kipsang Muge, Barsirian Arap Manyei, Barbarani Arap Turugat etc.
Koitaleel Arap Samoei was a great seer, divine leader. He led Nandis to successful raids and foretold attacks that always resulted in victory.
In recent times, there have emerged new heroes and heroines and Seroney in particular worked tirelessly from as early as 1950 and he believed in education as a key to prosperity. After he came back from India in 1951 he joined KAU and led it to fame with a tour of the Rift Valley alongside Kenya’s first President Jomo Kenyatta before he was imprisoned.
Through his close friendship with Tom Mboya he helped organize the famous ‘Air Lifts’ that sent many Kenyan’s to universities in the United States starting from the late fifties. – Wikipedia.
Koitalel Samoei mausoleum in the CBD is a heroic symbol and a remembrance of late Nandi’s great leader and seer who led without defeat until his death.
Nandi Bear and Nandi Bears Club
N-Hills was noted to be home to the Africa’s biggest strange bear called Nandi Bear – known as Chemosit in local language.
“What the Abominable Snowman is to Asia, or the great Sea Serpent is to the oceans, the Nandi Bear is to Africa. It is one of the most notorious of those legendary beasts which have, so far, eluded capture and the collector’s rifle.”
~ Frank W. Lane
See sighting evidence of Nandi Bear here.
Nandi Bears Club is a golf course, where several annual tournaments are held annually such as the Gill Trophy, the Kenya Ladies’ Golf Union and the prestigious Kenya Breweries Festival of Golf besides rally and cross countries.
Cradle Land For The Running
Nandi Hills, is often referred to
as the “cradle land of Kenyan running”. The area is home to many world-renowned athletes, including Kipchoge Keino, Wilson Kipketer, Janeth Jepkosgei, Augustine Choge, Wilfred Bungei, Henry Rono and Mike Boit among others. Our runners championships is believed to be as a result of running and doing regular practice in the hilly places.
Was Immensed With Culture
There were many cultural practices that were highly done within Nandi Hills including the old sieu that was done in a high cliff in Tabendoi, which literally translates to viewpoint – is a place where the very old people tired of waiting exhaustedly for death which seemed unforthcoming would plunge themselves down the cliff to ease the burden they felt they imposed on their families and community.
Many rituals were performed including appeasing gods, initiation and marriage. Today majority of Nandis are christians and believe in Almighty God.
However, many traditions (e.g. Kipsuunde – after harvesting ceremony) have been abandoned through civilization and christianity but circumcision still remains communitywide practice.
The Central Battle Field
Kang’etuny was the mid zone of war between us and the British colonialists. According to Wikipedia, Nandi resistance would stand out for being the longest and most tenacious battle in history of Kalenjin and Nandis in Nandi fought tooth and nail to protect their lands and resources against strangers and external attacks.
On October 19, 1905, on the grounds of what is now Nandi Bears Club (which is in Nandi Hills town, about 200m from the CBD opposite DC offices), Arap Samoei was tricked to meet Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen for a ceasefire but he instead killed Koitalel and his company in cold blood.
Sosten Saina, grand-nephew of one of Arap Samoei’s bodyguards notes that:
“There were about 22 of them who went for a meeting with the ‘mzungu’ that day. Koitalel Arap Samoei had been advised not to shake hands because if he did, that would give him away as the leader. But he extended his hand and was shot immediately”.
In this town lies his grave in what is now a developing museum.
Epitome of Nandi
Nandi as a name that represents 3 key things:
1. The name of the people
2. The name of the place
3. The name of the devolved government – Nandi county.
Spectacular green hills and extensive rolling plain and valleys of tea, forests and crop plantations leaves a fresh and a beautiful green nature. Blessed with two raining seasons, cash crops like tea and sugarcane and subsitence like maize and beans performs well in the rich volcanic soils which makes the area ideal for agriculture. Nandi Hills is known for many tea estates including Nandi Tea Estates LTD, Eastern Produce Kenya, Williamson Tea, Kakuzi and more.
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