Nayece: The Story of the Mother of All Turkanas

By National Museums of Kenya

Nayece Part I
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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.

Nayece Part II
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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.

Nayece Part III
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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.

Nayece Part IV
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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 Part V
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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.

Nayece Part VI
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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 Part VII
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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

Credits: Story

Credits: Story
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)

Editing
Daisy Okoti - Shujaa Stories Ltd
Shani Mutarura - Shujaa Stories Ltd
Jeff Muchina- Shujaa Stories Ltd
Brian Kiraga - Shujaa Stories Ltd

Illustrations
Masidza Sande Galavu - Shujaa Stories Ltd
Martha Shavuya Galavu - Shujaa Stories Ltd

Photography
Eddy Ochieng - National Museums of Kenya
Linda Tambo - Shujaa Stories Ltd
Juelz Laval - Shujaa Stories Ltd

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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