The people of the far north, Dasnaach people

When people think of northern Kenya they always thinking of poverty and tribal clashes that have dominated the area since time immemorial. This is just a negative aspect of the north that people like sharing but under the scorching sun of northern Kenya and dry winds live beautiful people with mind-blowing cultural practices. The Dasnaach people also known as Shangila dominates the northern part of Lake Turkana around Illeret area.

I wish to start by bringing into light the forgotten tribe of Dasnach that inherits the border of Kenya, Ethiopia, and Sudan around River Omo basin. The Dasnach are primarily pastoralists in nature and they roam along the Kenya- Ethiopian border.  Dasnach people rely on their goats and cattle which give them milk and are slaughtered in the dry season for meat and hides. Due to the droughts that have affected their inhabiting area the Dasnach has turned to agropastoral activities where they grow corn and sorghum, they also practice fishing in lake Turkana also known as Lake Rudolf.  Sorghum is cooked with water into a porridge eaten with a stew. Corn is usually roasted, and sorghum is fermented into beer. The Dasnach, the cattle herders live in dome-shaped houses made from a frame of branches, covered with hides and woven boxes (which are used to carry possessions on donkeys when the Dasnach migrate. The huts have a hearth, with mats covering the floor used for sleeping.


Also Read: Marsabit-Lake Turkana Cultural Festival

The upper-class people are mostly cattle keepers while the lower class, are people who have lost their cattle and their way of living. They live on the shores of Lake Turkana hunting crocodiles and fishing. Although their status is low because of their lack of cattle, the Dies help the herders with crocodile meat and fish in return for meat.

Women wear a pleated cow skin skirt and necklaces and bracelets, they are usually are married off at 17 while men are at 20. Women pierce their ears and wear beads around the neck, they also braid their hair into lines doing forward toward the forehead and backward towards the neck. Dasnaach women apply red-earth with animals oil into the hair to make them thick and locks-like. Men wear only a checked cloth around their waist and apply multi-colored soil in their heads as a form of cultural decoration, they also apply colored soils in their faces as a cultural decoration.

Dasnaach community are still in the ages of cultural practices and westernization has played little role in changing society and their daily practices