The origin of El-molo people is not certain, one of their oral traditions suggest that El-molo people came from Ethiopia alongside the Rendille tribe and settled along lake Turkana before Rendille migrated further south. According to their oral traditions, it is asserted that they originally settled on the Northern shores of Lake Turkana, where they were they meet hostility from other forcing them to move south to the small islands in front of the “Island of Ghosts” or “Island of No Return”.

Fisherman on the shows of Lake Turkana   
Fisherman on the shows of Lake Turkana/Photo: Wilfred Letawa

The story of how the El Molo came into being is borrowed from a popular story of their great heroine, Sepenya. “A long time ago, Lake Turkana did not exist,” narrates Steve Lepesta, the finest local tour guide with an inborn knowledge of Lake Turkana ecosystem and its communities. “A pregnant woman known as Sepenya visited a local spring for water. After fetching water, Sepenya forgot to cover the spring with its lid. Water flooded the whole area forming the lake that you can see from where you are standing.”

 

A view of Malabo Resort from Teleki Rest/ photo: Wilfred Letawa

Also Read: El-molo Shrines: The El-molo people and their shrines
Later, Sepenya gave birth to a son called Melissa. Without any other human being around, mother and son bore the El Molo community which inhabited the southeastern shores of the lake at El Molo Bay. Today Elmolo people are gathered into two villages, one called Komote consisting of about 150 families and the other, Laiyeni of about 70 families.

 

Komote Village, El-molo Bay/Photo Wilfred Letawa