Namorutunga Stones where a Turkana ‘god’ once danced

Monday February 1 2016

Turkana models pose on top of Namorutunga Stones. The site, now acclaimed internationally, has already been mapped by the county government as one of the premier tourists’ attractions. PHOTO | SAMMY LUTTA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Turkana models pose on top of Namorutunga Stones. The site has already been mapped by the county government as one of the premier tourists’ attractions. PHOTO | SAMMY LUTTA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By SAMMY LUTTA
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A visit to Turkana County is not complete without a tour of the Namorutunga Stones site, home to Turkana ancestors who lived over 4,000 years ago and now a tourist attraction.

The site, now acclaimed internationally, has already been mapped by the county government as one of the premier tourists’ attractions.

Namorutunga is a sacred place where folklore has it that Turkana ancestors were joined by their ‘earthly god’ for the famous Edong’a dance in praise of their economic gain, which included each of the elders admiring their bulls.

County Culture Chief Officer Amina Ewoi on Sunday disclosed plans to market Namorutunga stones as a Turkana cultural and historical site.

“At Namorutunga, the dancers, who we believe were our ancestors, turned into smooth stones after they mocked their god who had joined them for the dance,” explained Ms Ewoi.

She added that their disrespect to the deity cost them their lives and they were transformed into stones in different lifeless postures; some standing, others lying on their bellies and some squatting, images evoked by the stones today.

Members of the Turkana community frequently visit the sacred site on the Lodwar-Kalokol road, to appease their ancestors.

“On arrival at the site, visitors silently or sing praise songs as they place small stones on top of the ancestors as a symbol of respect,” said Ms Ewoi.

SEVERE CONSEQUENCES
The stones, she explained, have over the years been worn out by weather, in what the community sees as displeasure by the ancestors over sins committed by the current generation.

“It’s an abomination for anyone to collect and take away the stones, which are considered to be the flesh of the ancestors. The area needs to be protected to conserve it from any destruction,” said the county official.

However, the once neglected site has attracted local beauty queens who flock to showcase their modelling skills and entertain villagers and visitors every month.

Led by Turkana County’s Miss Talent, Valentine Karey, the beauty queens said that the site has been neglected, making it difficult for a first time visitor to appreciate its historical value.

Apart from modelling, the beauty queens also demonstrate how sacred sites such as Namorutunga should be preserved.

“We also give background information to all visitors we find at the sites to validate their visits,” said Ms Karey.

The models dress in traditional Turkana regalia made from animal skin.

The men carry walking sticks and a special seat called ekicholong, which they use to demonstrate the stages of life Turkana men go through.