Cultural Exchange: Meet Simon, an Okiek

Photo by: Adam Stone Simon at Singing Nettle Farm

Come to the Aina Moja Shop, 39 Main Street, Belfast to meet an Okiek named Simon visiting Belfast.  Tuesday from 10 am – 3 pm, Simon will answer your questions about the Okiek of Kenya and their fight to save the forest and their way of life.

Okiek, Ogiek, Ndorobo; All name variations of a group of hunter-gatherers in Kenya.  These people call the forests of Kenya home.   Hunting small game, gathering honey and,  after the British moved them to the forest periphery, they added farming to their subsistence life style.   One of Kenya’s smallest ethnic groups, the Okiek became marginalized and victims of land grabbing, relocation schemes and corporate greed.

Group-ranch demarcation began in the 1970s, crossing lineage land boundaries, incorporating non-Okiek into some groups, and registering some Okiek land to individuals who had never lived there.

The timber rich Mau Forest, once protected, has now become a “fields of dreams” for timber companies.

The Ogiek have made numerous claims against the government of Kenya alleging unfair treatment, especially that they have been illegally dispossessed of their land.

Simon is here only briefly, if you would like to have him visit your group, school class, or farm, please email and we can schedule a visit.

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