ISBN 9789966250940
Pages 120
Dimensions 216 x 140 mm
Published 2003
Publisher East African Educational Publishers, Kenya
Format Paperback

Olonana Ole Mbatian

by Peter Ndege

Olonana ole Mbatian, popularly known as Lenana, was one of the most outstanding Masai and Kenyan leaders, African chief and Laibon (prophet/visionary), whose life spanned the second half of the nineteenth, and the first decade of the twentieth centuries. He lived through and influenced a crucial period in Kenya's history: when the Masai were engaged in nation building, there was competition for leadership, land, people, livestock, wealth and power; and when European intrusions, which were becoming ever more intensive, were shaping Kenya's colonial culture and economy.

This is a balanced and critical study of an individual's biography, and historical context. It analyses for example to what extent Olonana's relationship with the colonialists influenced colonial policy on pastoralism; the devastating effects of colonial policy on pastoralism; and why the Masai shunned westernism, education and trade in favour of traditional pastoralism, and the position of Olonana on these issues. It considers popular perceptions of Olonana as a champion of Masai cultural heritage; and assesses his achievements and legacy. This is a concise biography of a key figure in Masai history, about whom little has been written, which serves well as a general introduction to the history and key figures of the period.

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