Kenya: Beading young Samburu girls into sexual bondage

This video, which first appeared on NTV Kenya on Oct 21, 2012, was filmed in the dry, somewhat barren Rift Valley Province in Kenya, and tells the story of how the Samburu community – a semi-nomadic pastoralist group closely related to the Masaai - use an entrenched aspect of their culture to violate the sexual rights of girls as young as eight years old.

Beading is a cultural practice among the Samburu community where girls are ‘booked’ (engaged) to older men by use of beads, a traditional attire.

Through interviews with victims, human rights activists and community opinion leaders, we see a cultural wall that has to be broken down in order to put an end to a centuries-old cultural practice. As Jane Meriwas, a Samburu human rights activist aptly puts it, ‘You cannot fight culture, but we need to do away with certain aspects which don’t promote our culture.’

The challenge remains on how to change the sometimes deeply ingrained community attitudes.

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Date: 31/10/2012




Culture and Tradition
Indigenous Peoples

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