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:

Pray for a church in Northern Samburu land

From a Samburu pastor: Pray the Lord will open up doors to plant a church in Baragoi, Samburu. This area has been a battle ground of cattle rustling between the Turkana, the Samburu and the Pokot tribes of Northern Kenya.
Pray that the Lord of harvest would bring the laborers to this field that is so ripe.
Pray the Lord would open up our eyes to realize that mission and evangelism is our primary call as Christians.
Pray the Lord would build mission- oriented churches and church leaders in Northern Kenya.

A Pastors’ Training School

A number of Christian pastors and missionaries have a vision to begin a pastors’ training school for northern Kenya. Please pray that the Lord will provide the needed teachers and finances to begin training pastors this year. This school would serve churches in at least 5 area tribes, including the Samburu.

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