A song from the Kipsigis people of the Kericho highlands in south-west Kenya, celebrating the beauty of the landscape. The description is almost entirely in terms of the singer’s cattle and of the scene’s colours.

We live at the field of Kagipsirich, (1)
We live where the calf, the calf plays with the calabash:
We live at that hill the colour of sandy-sided cattle,
That hill where the grass is burned until only a patch remained where the rabbit sleeps:
I love that stone, stone of Kiboney (2)
Which rolls into the shade and rests there like a man purging himself:
I love the salty water at Pirar, where the cattle drank until the pebbles showed: (3)
We live at this hill where the blue-grey bulls, the blue-grey bulls are grazing.

from Social Institutions of the Kipsigis (1939)
J.G. Peristiany


Footnotes

  1. Kagipsirich: The name of a group of villages.
  2. Kiboney: The name of a hill.
  3. Pirar: A salt water spring.