Tribal Kenya-Las Tribus de Kenia

In the 19 century the Sultan of Oman changed its capital from Masqat to Zanzibar where the traffic of abducted slaves was on the 50,000 a year and bringing them from as far as the Lake Tanganyika to provide the human labor that the Europeans need it on their plantations in their Indian Ocean Islands of Mauritius and Réunion.

Today’s conflicts and powers struggles around Kenya and in fact around the African continent, had to do with tribal boundaries. As in the Colonial Era the Britons, Germans, who divided to themselves the area of their influence setting borders where non existed for centuries past. Thy building roads and railways to export the goods produced in the farms the Britons expropriated in the mid 20-century to the Kikuyu tribe.

Kenya host around 70 tribal groups that are basically divided in two language groups: the Bantu and the Nolitic. According with the Lonely Planet East Africa Guide. ISBN 978-174104-769-1 8th edition 2009, the Bantu people arrived to East Africa after 500 BC, and those include the Kikuyu, Meru, Gussi, Embu, Akamba and Luyha.

Nolitic people arrived some time later from the Nile Valley and include the Maasai, Turkana, Sumburu, Pokot, Luo and Kalenjin. The Bantu speakers account for more than 90% of Kenya’s African Population, being the Kikuyu and the Luo the most numerous groups.

The Independence from Great Britain occurred in 1963, becoming its first president a Kikuyu leader Jomo Kenyatta who ruled until his death in 1978, giving to his people all the fertile lands of the Rift Valley and all around Mount Kenya. The Kikuyu people took power of the country and has been a shuffle and reshuffle since then. After Kenyatta vice-president a Kalenjin: Daniel arap Moi took control and stayed in power over 25 years having an iron fist of government.

By the time of the elections in 1997, on which the factions called a fraudulent one the violence arose and the killing of more than 1,700 people still been investigated by the International Criminal Court.

At the time of the first decade of the 21st Century they are only three traditional Tribal groups, the Maasai that through tourism and commercialism is loosing its real reason of being and the Samburu tribe that live on the desert of the northeast of Kenya at the borders of Ethiopia and Somalia. And the Turkana tribe that lives on the Northwest of Kenya with borders with Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda all of them pastoral and it is why they are called “Herds Men.”

I travel and visit the last two on several days of driving on the very rough Kenyan “Highways” and the suicidal way Kenyans drive. I witness several tragic accidents. It is like playing the “Russian Roulette” not knowing if at the end of the next curve death will be waiting for you with open arms.

En el siglo IXX el Súltan de Omán cambió su capital de Masqat a Zanzibar, donde el tráfico de esclavos raptados llegaba a los 50,000 al año y los traían de tan lejos como el Lago Tanganika, para proveer la furza de trabajo humana que los Europeos necesitaban en sus plantaciones en las islas de Mauritius y Réunion en el Oceano Índico.

Los conflictos de hoy en día y las luchas por el poder alrededor de Kenia y de facto en todo el continente Africano, tienen que ver con las fronteras tribales. Como en la Era Colonial los Británicos y los Alemanes se dividieron el continente entre ellos y decidieron en donde eran sus areas de influencia. Construyeron caminos y tendieron vías de tren para sacar los bienes que se producián en las granjas que los Britanicos expropiaron de sus legitimos dueños los Kikuyu a mediados del siglo XX, delineando fronteras donde nunca existieron antes.

Kenia es casa de 70 grupos tribales, que están básicamente divididos en dos grupos linguisticos: los Bantu y los Nolitic. De acuerdo con la Guia Africa del Este de Lonely Planent en su 8va. edición 2009, ISBN 978-174104-769-1, la gente Bantu llego a Africa del Este cerca de 500 DC, y en ellos se incluye los Kikuyu, Meru, Gussi, Embu, Akamba y Luyha.

El grupo Noliticollegaron un tiempo después del Valle del Nilo e incluyen a los Maasai, Turkana, Sumburu, Pokot, Luo and Kalenjin. Los hablantes Bantu son los más numerosos y cuentan un 90% de la población Africana en Kenia, siendo los Kikuyu y los Luo los más representados.

La Independencia de Gran Bretaña ocurrió en 1963, siendo el primer presidente Keniano el líder Kikuyu: Jomo Kenyatta quien gobernó hasta su muerte en 1978, dando a su gente mano hancha quienes se apoderaron de las tierras más fértiles en el Valle Rift y alrededor del Monte Kenia. La gente Kikuyu tomo el poder del país y ha sido un flujo y reflujo desde entonces. El vice-presidente de Kenyatta tomo el poder y gobernó con mano de acero por 25 años: el era Kalenjin: Daniel arap Moi.

Para el tiempo de las elecciones de 1997, los rencores de años atrás afloraron y despues de llamar las elecciones como fraudulentas la violencia exploto y murieron más de 1,700 gentes. Este acto barbárico y criminal sigue siendo investigado por la Corte Internacional de la Haga.

Al tiempo de la primera decada del siglo XXI solo existen tres Tribus que conservan sus tradiciones y rituals, los Maasai que a través del turismo se han comercializado tanto que han perdido su real forma de existencia. La tribu Samburu que vive en el desierto de la parte Noreste de Kenia colindando con Etiopia y Somalía. Y la Tribu Turkana, que vive en la parte Noroeste de Kenia, colindando con Etiopia, Sudan y Uganda. Todos ellos son gente que pastorea sus rebaños y por eso se les conoce como los”Hombres de Rebaños.”

Yo viajé y visité las dos últimas tribus viajando por varios dias en los “caminos’ abruptos de Kenia lidiando con la manera suicida de manejar de los Kenianos. Fuí testigo de varios accidents fatales por los caminos. Es como jugar a la “Ruleta Rusa” sin saber si al final de la próxima curva estará la muerte esperando con sus brazos abiertos.


About marcocastrophotography

I was born and raised in México City, where the mixture of cultures gave birth to the nation that we know as México. My grandmother was the last in my family who spoke fluent Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. Due to the racism in those days, she never taught her daughters the language, and therefore, we, as a family, lost our cultural heritage. I have been involved, however, with the indigenous world, even though I do not believe this happened by coincidence. I have a background as a graphic designer, one credit short of a BA in Graphic Communication Design from the National School of Visual Arts, National Autonomous University of Mexico (ENAP-UNAM). While in a Photographic Workshop at the University Center of Cinematographic Studies (CUEC-UNAM), I met a photographer who changed my life forever: Ignacio “Nacho” López. I can still see how strongly he influences me when I develop my work in my digital darkroom. I have also had the opportunity to share marvelous moments with photographers like Dolores Alvarez-Bravo, Hector García, Lázaro Blanco, and Walter Reuter who introduced me to the etnia Triqui in Oaxaca, Mexico (Triqui Nation). I traveled and worked as Reuter's assistant for several years. I moved to New York City in 1993, which was a dream of mine for years. Here I have had the opportunity to collaborate with newspapers, magazines, and several news organizations, as well as literary publications. I also have been working as a photographer-consultant for the United Nations headquarters in New York City for the past six years at the openings of the General Assemblies. I spent endless hours in my darkroom, even mixing my own chemicals blowing up my prints back in my hometown; skills that I apply today in my digital work with attention to detail. I hold a BA on Communication and Culture from the School of Professional Studies at the Graduate Center City University of New York class of 2010. I consider myself as a Photojournalist with a Humanistic approach; I have an opportunity to rapidly built rapport with my subjects allowing me to break the barriers of language and culture; this open the doors for me to get a glimpse at their experience on their daily life and activities. Taking advantage of the old school and the digital imagining, I take the Previsualization of an image as taught by Anselm Adams with the algorithms of the new digital era and combine them to enhance what I see and experience at the moment of capture. My experience as a printer in Black and White darkroom, has allow me to choose the right material to support my imaginery. Using the Canon Pro9500 MarkII with it’s high-performance, high-density 7680 nozzle FINE print head that produces ink droplets as small as 3-picoliters for stunning, true-to-life images. The Canon LUCIA ink system guarantees archival photo life up to 100 years. All this in a 100 % acid-free cotton paper as the Moab Somerset enhanced velvet 225gsm. In 13” by 19” prints that I sale as fine art. As freelance Photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. Am always open for the booking of my expertise and for hire anywhere in the world as I hold two passports as Mexican-American and a driver’s license for the State of New York.
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One Response to Tribal Kenya-Las Tribus de Kenia

  1. Sara says:

    Where’s the pictures?

    Hi Papa, hope you are having fun! Love Meztli & Atl

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