IndexAfricaKenya → Ariaal Rendille


Featured: Pokomo, Amwimbe, Kore, Kuria, Masai, N’Jemp, Ariaal Rendille, Kamba, Tiriki, Chuka, Maragoli, Kikuyu, Kipsigis, Gusii, Luo, Meru, Samburu, Tuken, Nandi; ®Iteso


Ariaal culture is regulated by an elaborate age-set system (Roth et al., 2001[1], 2002[2]). Marriage occurs after an 11-year period of warriorhood, which starts with circumcision. Warriors and “beaded” (unmarried) girls engage in long-term sexual relationships (nkeryi), marriage does not usually follow, procreation is severely discouraged, but full intercourse is expected. “In Ariaal culture, sexual imbalances begin with the nkeryi tradition (see also Roth, 2004:p163–64, 165, 167)[3], as very young girls (our survey includes girls as young as 10-12) are beaded to and begin sexual relationships with much older warriors. In addition, informants stated that warriors frequently have sex with their age-mates’ nkeryi, and that such sexual sharing is culturally condoned” (2001:p39; 2002:p7). The age of being beaded was lower for uneducated as opposed to educated girls. Peers, and not parents, were sources of sexological knowledge.






Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. Volume I. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Oct. 2004


[1] Roth, E. A. et al. (2001) Female education, adolescent sexuality and the risk of sexually transmitted infection in Ariaal Rendille culture, Culture, Health & Sex 3,1:35-47

[2] Roth, E. A. et al. (2002) Female Education in a Sedentary Ariaal Rendille Community: Paternal Decision-Making and Biosocial Pathways. Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology (CSDE) Seminar, University of Washington [, cited with permission]

[3] Roth, E. A. (2004) Culture, Biology and Anthropological Demography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press