Samburu Sisterhood: The Fight for Justice

By Olivia Roberts

Over 600 Samburu women in Kenya confront the scorn and stigmatization of becoming rape victims of the British Army. England has planted a military training facility in Kenya for over the last 50 years. These women have bravely come forward to tell the truth of their abuse and as a consequent, became outcast of their society. It is socially unacceptable; moreover, it is a great shame for women to be raped in Samburu culture. After filing official rape claims, these women also express being accused of lying to the government about their abuse. However there is no glory in rape, or in the reality of the marginalization that these women face.

While the rape allegations have been reported to the Kenyan government, there is a lack of political intervention to serve justice to the degradation of these women. Since the alleged British Royal Militia has argued that evidence of forged documents and corruption discredits the hundreds of allegations, the Kenyan government has neglected to investigate the case.

Destitute as outcasts of their former socities, these women have relocated and established an egalitarian settlement that maintains their former customs and cultural traditions, yet places its women founders on a seat of respect and empowerment.

While the women have escaped the abandonment and social rejection of their previous society, they continue to face discrimination and several inequalities in their country. Many of these women do not have access to healthcare and education. Additionally, they face hardship in maintaining monetary stability. These women work for the collective group wellbeing. Any source of income is distributed to the community. Their income stems from selling beaded jewelry, and other art works and crafts. The men of the new Samburu settlement are the sons of the founding women, and they expressed their concerns for their mothers. One man expressed that Kenya has since lost all supporting documents preventing the case from advancing.

How can we raise awareness to the voices of the Samburu women? The Kenyan government has a responsibility to protect all of their people. A Samburu woman voiced her disbelief of the neglect in the Kenyan government to address this issue. “We are their people" she proclaimed. As of now the Kenyan and the British government take responsibility for this case that may never be heard or seen.

It is an outrage to know that my sisters in Kenya are suffering. The tradition of white men raping African women is widespread in the north and south of United States, as well as in the former enslaved regions in Central and South America throughout generations of our historical fabric. Black women have served as a crutch for humanity to be a source of strength, perseverance and empowerment while we have suffered undoubtedly like no other. Sisterhood is what is keeping the Samburu women alive. All they have left is each other but not even that will stop them. They built a society of their own on their own terms. Their strength is in unity. They provide strength for me in knowing that sisterhood is sacred to survival and above all, understanding that I am because we are.

I do not know what the future holds for my Samburu sisters. I do know that the infiltration and occupation of Africa’s former colonial masters will always result in the downfall of the African continent. Africa’s former colonists are the precursor to much of the internal stress the continent suffers from today. Africa needs to call for a turn of power – a shift in diplomatic agency. Whatever agenda England and their British army has, Kenya is tied somewhere in the midst of it. Africa needs to cut the strings that mount its marionette to its former colonial puppeteer.

Pan Africanism is essential to the liberation movement.

Several African states resonate with the continuum of serving former colonial agendas and activity. Neocolonialism is real, and the new law systems that are set in place in Africa are only new laws to replace former agendas. Our allegiance to the Western World will only continue to set us back.  We must organize as a collective. We must unite with a collective consciousness and agenda to progressively become economically and politically independent. In doing so, we will guarantee safer communities for our people. We must protect our women and our children at all cost.