Kenya: Rapid urbanization grabs land from Maasai (Trust)

| August 8, 2016

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A few years ago, Josphat Ole Tonkei would have been counting his herd of cows at sundown. Today, he is still walking the long road between grazing fields and water points to reach his manyatta, or homestead, where the Maasai man will count his herd.

Rapid urbanization around Nairobi is encroaching on traditional Maasai land in the plains around Kitengela town, 30 kilometres from the big city. Commercial properties and gated communities now occupy land on which Mr. Tonkei used to graze his cattle, pushing herdsmen further afield in search of pasture and water.

Mr. Tonkei says, “We don’t know who sells our land to private developers. We only realize it has been sold when we see them erecting concrete fences and putting up structures.”

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Photo credit: Shadack Kavilu