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Blend of culture, modernity as 100 initiated

 President William Ruto at the Kalenjin rite of passage ceremony for boys on December 16, 2023, at Karen in Nairobi, where over one hundred boys graduated. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

It was a day to prove traditions and modernity can thrive together. 

Fathers came dressed in dark suits, white shirts, red ties and cowboy hats; while their sons, the initiates, wore maroon blazers over black polo necks and trousers.

The initiates’ mothers wore brown dresses decorated with cowry shells as they cheered their sons whom they had not seen for a month.

The initiates marched to the venue of the ceremony a step behind their fathers as traditional Kalenjin music boomed from a sound system, setting the mood for the cultural event in the city away from its traditional set-up in the Rift Valley region. 

President William Ruto joined the families of over 100 boys from the Kalenjin community during a passing out ceremony after undergoing initiation in Karen, Nairobi, on Saturday.

Kalenjin Council of Elders Chairman John Seii led a naming ceremony for the initiates symbolising their new status in the community, saying that they are now responsible men who are supposed to work hard work for the good of their families, their community and the country.

“The young men paraded here today have gone through proper training and are now men who are dependable in society and are totally prepared to face life. They have been taken through career development and many good cultural aspects of the Kalenjin community,” said Seii.

In his speech, the President said he was building a solid foundation for the future of the country and that he had a clear mission to turn the country around.

“I promise all of you that we are going to change Kenya, when I said I am a man on a mission, I did not become a President to be popular or be praised by anyone but to change Kenya; that is what I am doing at the moment,” said Ruto.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua who accompanied the President to the event said some political leaders thought he would engage the President in a supremacy battle, and they are disappointed that one year down the line they are still together.

“Some people have been waiting for the day the President and Deputy President will engage in political squabbles, let me assure them it will never happen during our 10 years in power, these individuals should look for something better to do,” he said.

Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen had two of his sons among the initiates who had been living in seclusion for one month after undergoing circumcision and being taken through a curriculum to learn the cultural values of the Kalenjin community.

Murkomen said the ceremony had brought together boys from the Kipsigis, Nandi, Pokot, Tugen, Keiyo, Sabaot, Terik and Lembus sub-tribes.

“In this initiation process we have picked what is good in our culture and inculcated with Christianity and education so that we bring up well-rounded young men who will take over from us in ensuring that the Kalenjin community does not lose its cultural values,” said Murkomen.

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