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AfriGeneas Africa Research Forum

Ethnic Classification
In Response To: The Samburu People & Culture ()

The Samburu are part of the Maa speaking people as are the Maasai. About 95% of the words of both languages are the same. The name 'Samburu' is also of Maasai origin and is derived from the word 'Samburr' which is a leather bag used by the Samburu to carry a variety of things. It is unclear when Samburu became a distinct ethnic identity. As is common many places around the world, ethnic identities became fixed and defined at the point of colonial contact. 19th century European travellers often referred to Samburu as "Burkineji" (people of the white goats), and there are many interconnections with other neighboring ethnic groups. Some Samburu are descended from remnants of the Laikipiak Maasai, a Maasai section which was destroyed in the late 19th century. Others are from Rendille, Turkana and Borana ethnicity.

Samburu practice polygynous marriage, and a man may have multiple wives. A Samburu settlement is known as a nkang or manyatta. It may consist of only one family, composed of a man and his wife/wives. Each woman has her own house, which she builds out of local materials, such as sticks, mud and cow dung. Large ritual settlements, known as lorora may consist of 20 or more families. However, settlements tend towards housing two or three families, with perhaps 5-6 houses built in a rough circle with an open space in the centre. The circle of huts is surrounded by thorn bush fence.

One of the groups in the third Survivor was named "Samburu" in honor of the real Samburu, the other being "Boran," after Borana.

Messages In This Thread

The Samburu People & Culture
Ethnic Classification

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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