Why the Borana are the people of the Grass : The Borana are a subset of the Oromo people, who were part of a greater tribe that initially migrated into Kenya in the late 10th century from southern Ethiopia. They are divided into two groups: Gabbra and Sakuye, who keep camels, and Borana, who keeps cattle. Because of their grass houses, the Gabbra (or Gabra) refer to them as warrra buyyoo, or the “people of the grass.”
They make up the southernmost of three closely related Oromo groups, with a combined population of over 4 million, which also includes the Arsi and the Guji (or Gujji). There are few Borana Oromo living in Somalia, although most are in Ethiopia and Kenya.
They are originally from Southern Ethiopia and moved to Northern Kenya in the early 16th century. They now live in and around the counties of Tana River, Garissa, Marsabit, and Isiolo. The areas of Moyale and Sololo in Marsabit have the highest concentration of residents. The majority of them in Isiolo are found in Garba Tula and Merti.
The Borana people are threatened by the depletion of productive grazing pasture, and interactions with other nomadic peoples frequently result in violent conflicts as they struggle for access to these lands. In recent years, their reliance on relief organizations for assistance has grown. As proud as the Borana people are, they find their current donor-dependency to be deeply offensive to their culture.
The Borana converted to Islam two or three centuries ago, hence the majority are nominal Muslims who follow Folk Islam. A small number of people continue to practice Ayana, a potent and highly feared style of worshipping Satan, as traditionalists.
They think that when their deity Wak is well-satisfied, he sends all wonderful things, especially rain. Wak was bestowed with gifts in the past, the greatest of which was the sacrifice of the firstborn. A forest-dwelling shaman would slaughter the baby and present it to Wak as a sacrifice.
This traditional religion is monotheistic, and priests, or Qalla, act as intermediaries in communication. Because of their nomadic lifestyle, these vast and ancient people have had very little contact with Christianity.
They speak a language known as Borana, which belongs to the larger Oromo ethnic group. This language previously belonged to the Afro-Asiatic language family’s eastern Cushite branch.
Among the Borana, marriage is seen as a contract between the two participating families. Both families’ male relatives bargain for a reasonable bride price. People are therefore under a lot of pressure to stick together, even in the face of difficulties.
A Borana man can convince a lady to consent to elope with him if he wants to marry her but her family is against it. The man and his male relatives arrive the day after the elopement bearing a gift of repentance and part of the bride price. Since the woman ran away of her own free will, the woman’s family typically accepts the gift.
For younger Kenyan Borana adults, this type of marriage is becoming more and more common. This is most likely a result of the Western idea of “marrying for love” and the increasing challenges in obtaining a bride price in a shifting economy. The upbringing of boys and girls clearly follows gender stereotypes to thrill while on Kenya Cultural Safaris
Boys are rarely disciplined, and if they are, it’s usually not by their mothers. Instead, they are pushed to be dominant and strong over everyone else, including women. Girls are typically brought up to be quiet, obedient, and hardworking, and they are also disciplined.
Boys undergo solo circumcision at the father’s discretion, as opposed to the Bantu practice of group induction. The Borana people still circumcise their females, despite some Christians refusing to perform the procedure on their daughters.