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Nandi artefact in British Museum

The British Museum has a walking stick, that has been identified as having belonged to the Kenyan hero Orkoiyot Koitalel arap Samoei who was murdered by a British soldier one hundred years ago.

The Nation (Nairobi) [1]

Walking Stick of Legendary Nandi in UK Museum
The Nation (Nairobi)
February 2, 2006
Posted to the web February 1, 2006
Mike Mwaniki

A UK-based lobby yesterday identified items it had traced in a London Archive belonging to legendary Nandi leader Orkoiyot Koitalel arap Samoei.

They include a rungu (baton), walking stick and forked stick belonging to the Kenyan hero, who was murdered 100 years ago by a British colonial soldier.

The London archive is owned by a descendent of Col Richard Meinertzhagen, the soldier who executed Mzee Samoei in 1905, lobby chairman Joe Sang said in a statement.

Yesterday, Dr Sang termed as “erroneous” an earlier story carried by the Nation which identified the recovered items as a skin cap which the laibon always wore, a rungu and shoes.

Mzee Samoei and 23 others were murdered at a “peace” meeting in 1905.

He said: “On behalf of the Talai clan and friends of GAA – (the lobby) – I’m delighted to commend the great work that has been undertaken by my colleague, Dr Kipnyango Seroney.

“Through his persistence, he has not only succeeded in carrying out an interesting interview with the son of Col Meinertzhagen, but managed to recover three items belonging to the great Nandi leader.”

The colonel murdered Mzee Samoei and 23 other members of the family and community at a peace treaty meeting in 1905.

Dr Sang went on: “These items are of great historical significance to both the Talai clan, the Kalenjin and the Kenyan nation…

“We have also written to the British Museum and will lobby Parliament to release the remainder of his belongings, which are being kept at the British museum.”

He observed: “These items are an important part of our history and it is right and proper that they are returned to Kenya and preserved in the Koitalel Museum, for all to view and appreciate our heritage. “We have commissioned a reputable sculptor to build a transparent casing where they will be preserved.”

Last year, President Kibaki attended Samoei centenary celebrations and asked local leaders to identify a site where the government would construct a memorial centre.

Descendents of Samoei have called on the British government to be compelled to compensate them for the 1905 atrocities.