Nayece: The Mother of All Turkanas
The story of Nayece, the legendary mother of all Turkana, begins many years ago when a group of eight young men lost a bull. The bull of a specific shade of grey or engiro, was their source of wealth and they could not afford to lose it. The eight young men set out on a journey to find the lost bull.
They passed through valleys and hills, fought with wild animals on the way, passed through communities who saw them as possible spies sent by their enemies and felt threatened. They endured climate changes from one area to another, from scorching sun to heavy rainfall.
They travelled eastwards from the country of Jie in Karamoja, tracking the lost bull of a specific shade of grey, engiro.
Descending to the escarpment which now serves as the border between Uganda and Kenya, the young men arrived at the headwaters of the Tarash River. They were struck by the beauty of this foreign landscape, where the sand is light, the trees are few and the wind blows freely. They could see where the sun touched the ground and they fell in love with the sun set.
There in this foreign land on a hill called Moru Anayece which means 'Nayece's Mountain, they found the bull of a specific shade of grey, engiro, living with Nayece.
Nayece, an old woman, had also come from Karamoja to gather wild fruits. She led the young warriors into a lush and verdant valley, unoccupied by people.
The valley was rich in wild berries which even today are an important part of the Turkana diet. She welcomed the young men by showing them around the area, gave the men fire and taught them how to cook.
Impressed with the area, the young men return to the country of the Jie, to collect additional young men and girls, and to drive herds of livestock back to the Tarash. They decided to remain in the new area permanently, and thus became the Turkana.
Nayece divided the men into the territorial sections which are the basis of Turkana society today. She became the mother-heroine of the Turkana. Ever since, the Turkana and the Jie have been allies.
Nayece's legacy lives on
Lake Turkana, is located in Turkana County in the Kenyan Rift Valley, in northern Kenya, bordering Ethiopia. Lake Turkana is the world's largest permanent desert lake and the world's largest alkaline lake. By volume it is the world's fourth-largest Salt Lake. The Nile crocodiles are found in great abundance on the flats.
The rocky shores are home to scorpions and carpet vipers. The lake is rich in fish and fishing is very important to the local economy. Lake Turkana has three National parks; Sibiloi National Park which lies on the lake's eastern shore, Central Island National Park and South Island National Park which lie in the lake. Both are known for their Nile crocodiles. They are now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nayece: The Mother of All Turkanas by Shujaa StoriesNational Museums of Kenya
Research field work was undertaken in Samburu and Marsabit (for Gabbra, Samburu, Rendille, Saakuye, Dasanach, Elmolo, Waayu a.k.a Waata, and Burji superheroes/heroines), Embu and Tharaka (for Aembu, Tharaka, Ameru and Mbeere superheroes/heroines), Mombasa ( for Boni, Swahili, Pokomo, Segeju and Bajuni superheroes/heroines)and Taita-Taveta/Voi (for Taveta superheroes/heroines) capturing all information about the heroes from the 30 selected ethnic groups/communities by Museum’s research team.
National Museums of Kenya - Contributors
Mzalendo Kibunjia (PhD) - Director General
Purity Kiura (PhD) - Director Antiquities, Sites & Monuments
Julias Juma Ogega - Senior Curator/Research Scientist
Njuguna Gichere - Research Scientist
Lydia Gatundu - Art Curator
Emmanuel Kariuki - Exhibit Designer
Philemon Nyamanga - Curator/Research Scientist
Mercy Gakii - Curator/Research Scientist
Imelda Muoti - Curator/Archivist
Innocent Nyaga - Marketing Officer
Suzanne Wanjaria - Exhibits Designer
Ray Balongo Khaemba - Senior Collection Manager
Raphael Igombo - Education Officer
Nature Kenya - Other Contributors
The East Africa Natural History Society (EANHS)
Daisy Okoti - Shujaa Stories Ltd
Shani Mutarura - Shujaa Stories Ltd
Jeff Muchina- Shujaa Stories Ltd
Brian Kiraga - Shujaa Stories Ltd
Masidza Sande Galavu - Shujaa Stories Ltd
Martha Shavuya Galavu - Shujaa Stories Ltd
Eddy Ochieng - National Museums of Kenya
Linda Tambo - Shujaa Stories Ltd
Juelz Laval - Shujaa Stories Ltd