Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender

pp 716-724


  • Regina Smith Oboler

Alternative Names

The Nandi are also known as Chemwal (Old), Kalenjin (includes societies with other ethnic designations, e.g., Kipsigis, Keiyo, Tugen, Marakwet, Endo, Kony, Terik, Pokot).


The Nandi are located in the highlands of Western Kenya, East Africa.

Cultural Overview

The Nandi are a section of the several million Kalenjin-speaking people in Kenya. Greenberg classifies the Kalenjin languages as part of the Nilotic sub-branch of the Eastern Sudanic branch of the Chari-Nile subfamily of the Nilo-Saharan language family. The Nandi were formerly semipastoralists, who kept cattle, sheep, and goats, and planted eleusine (finger millet) as the staple crop. In the 20th century they have become settled cash-crop farmers, who produce maize, milk, and tea for national and international markets.

During the 19th century cattle were central to the economy, and at times the cattle-to-people ratio was as high as 4 : 1 or 5 : 1. Cattle were also cent ...

This is an excerpt from the content