The Samburu of Kenya

Population: 240,000

Location: Remote North Central Kenya greatly dispersed between Mt Kenya and Lake Turkana.

History: The Samburu are a Nilotic people who originally migrated from Sudan, settling in Northern Kenya centuries ago.

Culture: Their name comes from their traditional leather bag they carry called a ‘samburr’. They are related to the Maasai. They are semi-nomadic pastoralists, keeping cattle, sheep, and goats. They especially love their cattle. Like the Maasai, they believe all cattle belong to them, and cattle raiding is a major preoccupation. Young unmarried men are warriors, charged with protecting the village from lions and hyenas, as well as raiding other tribes’ cattle.
Both men and women adorn themselves with colorful beaded necklaces and the young men braid their long hair and coat it with ochre.
Elders rule the clan and their curse or blessing is taken seriously.

Religion: Animism. The Samburu believe in a creator god ‘Nkai’. They pray and seek his blessing. Their beliefs are expressed in their traditions and rituals, which they are very careful to follow. It is not uncommon for children and young people, especially women, to report visions of Nkai. A few children gain a reputation for prophecy throughout their lives. Samburu also have ritual diviners, called ‘loibonok’, who divine the causes of individual illnesses and misfortune. Sin has a very restricted meaning and therefore, many would say they have no sin.

Latest Prayer Updates:

Leave Old Things Behind

Pray that a Samburu pastor who is visiting a village with a new church plant will not grow weary in well-doing but persevere and that the men in that village will be converted to Christ. Pray that the areas of Samburu land that do not yet have a gospel witness will soon have evangelists, pastors and missionaries living among them. Pray especially that the Samburu will be willing to leave behind any traditions or practices that are opposed to Christ.

Hunger for God’s Word

A group of Samburu men met to hear God’s word on Saturday mornings from February 2019 until January 2020. A number of them acknowledged that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. However, traditional celebrations and Covid-19 disrupted those meetings. Last Saturday, these men were again invited to come to the tree to hear God’s Word but no one came. Pray that God will put a hunger to know God in the hearts of those men. Pray that they will once again meet and commit to following Jesus as Lord.

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