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The Sabiny/Sebei Tribe

Intaresafaris invites you to discover the captivating culture of the Sabiny/Sebei tribe, nestled on the beautiful slopes of Mount Elgon. This tribe speaks the Kupsabiny language, which is a part of the Nandi cluster, known as Kalenjin in Kenya. You can find them in the picturesque towns of Kapchorwa, Bukwa, and Kween, offering breathtaking views of the Sipi Falls. The Sabiny/Sebei tribe is well-known for their distinctive cultural practices, such as female genital mutilation and male circumcision.

Sebei Tribe

Detailed visit to The Sabiny/Sebei Tribe

The Origin of the Sabiny/Sebei People

Believed to be part of the larger Kalenjin group in Kenya, the Sabiny/Sebei tribe also has a presence in Sudan, although in smaller numbers. In Uganda, they reside in the districts of Bukwo, Kapchorwa, and Kween. On the Kenyan side of the border, you can find sub-tribes like the Book, Kony, Musoop, Soneck, and Bongomek. Together, they inhabit the hills of Mount Elgon and collectively refer to themselves as “Saboats.”

The Historical Background of the Sabiny/Sebei People

The Sabiny/Sebei people are descendants of three tribes, known as Sebei, Mbai, and Sor, who were closely interrelated and lived in the northern and northwestern parts of Mount Elgon slopes. Originally, there was confusion between the terms “Sebei” and “Sapin,” which are names of different tribes. Over time, they formed a united identity as the Sebei tribe. Political factors have influenced their relationships and led to the formation of the Sabot Union, which represents the three Sebei tribes in Uganda and their sister tribes on the Kenyan side of the border.

Political and Social Structure

The Sabiny/Sebei people have a well-organized social structure, with clans, kinship systems, and age sets. Each clan is headed by a clan leader, and their society is hierarchical in nature. The clans and lineages play a crucial role in the spiritual and social lives of the community.

The Ritual Transformation from Childhood to Adulthood

A significant cultural practice among the Sabiny/Sebei tribe is the annual general celebration where female genital mutilation and male circumcision take place. These rituals occur every even year and bring together people from various clans, families, and towns. The rituals are believed to be guided by spirits, and women often experience spiritual encounters before undergoing mutilation. The circumcision ceremonies involve specific rituals at river sites, and the entire process is surrounded by cultural significance and traditions.

Marriage Customs

In the Sabiny/Sebei culture, the mutilation of girls and circumcision of boys serve as prerequisites for marriage. Girls are usually married off at an early age by their parents, with the groom providing wealth or bride price in exchange. Failure to undergo mutilation brings shame to the girl’s family, and it also affects their ability to participate in certain activities within the community. Boys who have not undergone circumcision are not seen as ready for adult responsibilities and may lack respect from the elders.

Economic Activities

The Sabiny/Sebei people primarily engage in subsistence farming, focusing on crops such as millet, potatoes, beans, sunflower, coffee, and more. Animal husbandry is also an important aspect of their economy, with livestock such as cows, goats, sheep, and chickens being raised. Their specialization in root crops is due to the wet nature of the Sabiny region’s soil. Additionally, hunting is practiced for survival.

Embark on a Cultural Expedition with Intaresafaris

Intaresafaris invites you to join us on an extraordinary cultural expedition to explore the traditions and customs of the Sabiny/Sebei tribe. Immerse yourself in their vibrant culture, witness their rituals, taste their traditional cuisine, and experience the warmth of their community. Book your cultural adventure with Intaresafaris today and create unforgettable memories in the heart of the Sabiny/Sebei tribe’s homeland.

Tour Inclusives

  • Transportation in a tourist vehicle with pop up roof
  • Services of the English speaking guide
  • All activities are described in the itinerary.
  • Park entrance fee is according to the program.
  • Drinking water

Tour Excludes

  • Personal Expenses like tobacco, telephone, drinks, laundry, porter fee
  • Personal insurance
  • Visa
  • Beverages

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