Rendille People - Overview


The Rendille are believed to have originally migrated down into the Great Lakes area from Ethiopia in the more northerly Horn region, following southward population expansions by the Oromo and later the Somali.

Traditionally, they are nomadic pastoralists, tending camels, sheep, goats and cattle. The camels are generally kept in the northern part of their territory and the cattle in the southern section.

The first ethnological study of the Rendille was published at the turn of the 20th century by William A. Chanler. It described the unmixed Rendille that his party encountered as tall, slender and reddish-brown in complexion, with soft, straight hair and narrow facial features. Chanler additionally remarked that many of the Rendille possessed "fierce" blue eyes, a physical peculiarity that was also later noted by Augustus Henry Keane (1900), John Scott Keltie (1904) and John Henry Patterson (1909).

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