Nandi Farming and Pastoralism

Discover the traditional livelihoods of the Nandi community

By National Museums of Kenya

Nandi (1997) by Leonard KateeteNational Museums of Kenya

Meet the Nandi

The Nandi community are settled in Nandi County and, due to its fertile soils and abundant rainfall, traditionally practiced agriculture and livestock keeping. Their abundant forests also encouraged beekeeping, and planting crops like maize, millet, and cassava as well as tea.

HoeNational Museums of Kenya

Farming

This farm tool was known as a Mokombet. It was made from an iron blade strung on a wooden handle, and was used for digging and cultivating the farm.

CowbellNational Museums of Kenya

Pastoralism

These cow bells (Twolio) were made from scrap metal by a local blacksmith. The metal was heated over burning charcoal and hammered into shape. They would have been hung around a bull's neck to enable the herdsmen to keep track and locate their herd.

Leather bag (1963)National Museums of Kenya

Honey harvesting

This large hairy skin bag (Lolet) was sewn from a heifer skin. It would have been used when fetching and carrying honey from the forest. Men often placed and carried this kind of bag on their backs while transporting honey home.

Head SpearNational Museums of Kenya

Hunting

This spear head was made by a blacksmith using scrap metal, which is heated and beaten into the desired shape. It was then fitted on a long wooden shaft and used by men during ceremonies, hunting wild animals and for defense in case of an attack on the community.

Sickle (1975)National Museums of Kenya

Working in the fields

This long handled sickle was made from hammered iron and whittled wood. A hole was cut at the top of the handle and the blade hammered in. It was used only by men for chopping wood, cutting grass, millet or any other plants.

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