Tribe Maturity Ceremony. Samburu National Reserve

The most famous national parks in the world are located close to the border between Kenya and Tanzania, however, far removed from the famous border, there are other far less well-known reserves containing animals that the large majority of travellers have never even heard of. This is the Samburu National Reserve.

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A crucial day has also arrived in the life of the young Samburu. A group of young boys, ilayeni in their language, have been initiated by circumcision and have to overcome the following test in order to become il-murran, warriors of their village. They must hunt a bird with bows and arrows.

During the Samburu ceremonies, men and women decorate and paint themselves profusely. In groups separated by sex, traditional dances are organised which attempt to dazzle the opposite sex and encourage competition between the young and agile warriors.

Only those having reached the status of warrior can adorn themselves with red paint. Five years after becoming il-murran, thoughts will turn to the ilmugit lenkarna ceremony, through which they will become adults and, six years later, after another ceremony called ilmugit-lolaingoni, they will be able to marry and reach the community’s highest status: that of the married man.
Samburu men, like their Masai cousins, organise frequent jumping dances, competing to reach the greatest height, while not appearing to make the slightest effort.

The competition is also a performance in front of the female sex and the dance ends by uniting the two groups in a joint celebration.

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