the Cherangany were a powerful race called Sengwer….”.
are not Marakwet, but Sengwerr.”
Sengwer (Cherangany) is a minority, unrecognized, marginalised, oppressed
and discriminated against hunter-gatherer indigenous ethnic group. “…The Cherangany is a nickname given to us by the Maasai. Sengwer acquired cattle from
the Maasai through blackmail.”
“…We were robbed of our cattle by the Karamojong and then
the Maasai laughed at us because we had no cattle, and called us Cherangany (ni).” We are also referred to as Dorobo. “…The Dorobo problem has risen because these people, living in small scattered groups, spread over large areas
without any property…lived from hand to mouth by hunting and bee keeping…”
“…We used to go
over to Cherangani shooting and the only people with whom we came in contact along the Cherangani Hills were the Cherangani
Dorobo, a small tribe of Dorobo.”
the Maasai menace, it did not exist. If the Maasai shared Kaptiony salt-lick, as they almost certainly did, they did not interfere
with the Cherangani. No wise cattleman offends the little from the forests…”
We are currently distributed in Trans
Nzoia, Marakwet and West Pokot districts in the North Rift Valley province. Sengwer form a minority in these districts. Sengwer
population is approximately 60,000. This population includes Sengwer peoples in diaspora.
Commences from Kiporoom River in Uasin Gishu District. It extends along Kapsumbeywet river through Ziwa (Sirikwa) centre, Moiben Posta and
Kose hills in Uasin Gishu. From Kose hills it goes down to join Moiben river.
The boundary goes up river Moiben to the confluence of Ko’ngipsebe and Kimowo streams.
It turns eastwards to cover areas of Maron sub-location in Emboput location in Marakwet District. Turning to the west
it then goes to Kamolokon along Marakwet/West Pokot and Marakwet boundary. From
here it drops to Sebit, Somor, then to Kongelai and up along Swom river. From
Swom river to the confluence of Swom and Cheptenden river. From Cheptenden river
to the confluence of Cheptenden river and Moiben river where these two rivers confluence with Kiboorom.
Before the coming of the colonialists Sengwer lived in these areas from
time Immemorial. They bordered from Nandi, Pokot (Suk), Marakwet, Uasin Gishu,
Maasai, Keiyo, Karamoja, Kony and Sebei (Sabiny) communities. They had good relationship
with their neighbors and they used to exchange commodities such as tools, honey, dry meat and food crops in a bartering way. Sometimes communities such as Uasin Gishu Maasai, Karamoja and Nandi seldom intrude
Since the coming of the colonialists and later other communities, Sengwer
were termed as a community who does not EXIST. To date they are forced to identify
themselves as Pokot, Marakwet or Keiyo. This is depicted when registering for
national identification cards where recognised ethnic groups are given code numbers to facilitate the issuance of the identity
cards. They are not yet recognised groups like Sengwer are forced to register either as Kalenjin, Pokot, Marakwet, Nandi,
Sabaot, etc. “...We are not Marakwet, but Sengwerr...”.
Sengwer owned their ancestral land communally on sub-tribe
until 1911 when the Colonialists started to interfere.
had two sons named Sirikwa (elder) and Mitia. Sirikwa occupied the plains (Soi) of what is now part of Trans Nzoia, Lugari
and Uasin Gishu districts. Sirikwa had his first son named Chepkoilel. The plains have since been referred to as Kapchepkoilel.
The children of Sirikwa and Mitia form the sub-tribes of Sengwer. These are Kapchepororwo, Kapchepar (Kaptoyoi), Kapumpo,
Kaptogom, Kapcherop, Kaki-sango, Kimarich (Kamosus), Kapsormei (Kapseto), Kapteteke, Kipsirat, Kamengetiony (Kopoch &
Kapkotet), Kaplema and Kamesieu. Each sub-tribe had their portion of land running from the highlands to the plains.