The Samburu are a semi-nomadic people living in the arid areas between Mount Kenya and Lake Turkana in central northern Kenya.
The Samburu are a semi-nomadic people living in the arid areas between Mount Kenya and Lake Turkana in central northern Kenya. They number nearly 240,000 people. Traditionally the Samburu are a pastoralist community that depends heavily on cattle, sheep, goats and occasionally camels. They are related to the better-known Maasai people. Their culture is set up in a way that encourages a strong adherence to its traditions. Samburu people are generally friendly and hospitable, however, it is difficult for them to leave their traditions and shift their loyalty to Jesus.
Kenya gained independence from Britain in 1963. Since then British tourism has been a key element of Kenya’s economy, however, unemployment, poverty and crime remain high. Whilst the majority religion is Christianity, Kenya’s ethnic diversity and vast countryside means there are still many unreached with the gospel.
Most Samburu practise their traditional religion, which focuses on their multi-faceted divinity (Nkai). 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, and guide warriors. Although ritual life focuses especially on cattle, other livestock figure in ceremonies.
Recent years have seen the fast growth of a variety of Christian churches, but the congregations are often small and committed members are few. Remote areas have been left behind and remain very traditional and mostly unreached. From 2014-16 a Training in Ministry Outreach (TIMO) team were based in Lchakwai, led by Martin & Joy Koch (Germany). The TIMO team ended in March 2016, but Martin & Joy Koch are still in Lchakwai, continuing the work the team started.
If you are organising a prayer meeting or just looking for material to help you pray with more insight for some of Africa’s unreached people, why not download a printable Prayer sheet on the Samburu of Kenya.