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Title:Some effects on a district boundary in Kenya
Author:Schlee, GŁntherISNI
Book title:The Politics of Age and Gerontocracy in Africa
Geographic terms:Kenya
Great Britain
Subjects:ethnic relations
Abstract:The presence or absence of boundaries and the access to resources regulated by them shapes many aspects of social life, among them ethnic affiliations. This chapter deals with district boundaries in Kenya and the effects on interethnic alliances between Samburu and Rendille and the emergence of the Ariaal, an intermediate category of people with clan links to both sides. It argues that between the Rendille and Samburu there was a continuum of transition, rather than an ethnic boundary as suggested by the colonial administration and that, in fact, the colonial policy of separating 'tribes' unintentionally furthered interethnic migration and forms of ethnic re-affiliation. Attempts by the colonial administration to close the boundary between Marsabit and Samburu Districts to stock movement also had a negative effect. Ecological conditions forced the Rendille to move to higher ground very frequently. If anybody, nomad or trader, wanted to drive his stock outside Marsabit District, he met with the usual difficulties of crossing into other restricted areas. Today, the outlets of Marsabit District are still characterized by artificial bottlenecks and barriers, and the ingenuity of herders and traders in circumventing these obstacles is a factor which has remained constant since colonial times. Notes, ref.