Boran I and II

James Blue
David MacDougall
33 minutes

Two films on different aspects of social and political organisation and change among the Boran of Kenya.

The Boran say that the spring, not the hut, is their home. By this they mean that the particular spot where one has settled down serves only some particular purpose at the moment. The really descisive factor in their lives is the spring. Every year when the water holes dry up the Boran return to the springs of their forefathers. The only geographical entity to which the Boran are emotionally attached are the permanent springs (Tula) owned by the respective lineages. All Boran who can trace their lineage to the founder of the spring has a persistent right to use it. The life style of the Boran has started to be influenced by social and cultural changes. The growth of towns, roads and education has made nomad life more difficult as the advantages of new knowledge, a market economy etc. are being felt.

Boran I deals with the very flexible social and political system which gives the Boran nomads of Kenya a maximum of freedom in their search for pastures and water for their herds. Boran II deals with the role of education among the Boran of Kenya. Two different stories are told, reflecting a considerable change in Kenyan attitudes to education. When Peter was eight years old he was dragged, kicking and screaming, into a police car to be driven off to school. His mother tried to hide him under the bed. His father abused the policemen. Seven years later, in 1972, he does not want to go home, but thinks only of attending high school so as to become a teacher, a physician or a district commissioner.

Also in 1972, fourteen-years-old Daidu walks the fifty miles from the Huri Hills to attend school in Marsabit. The film team gives him a lift the last few kilometres into town. When they pass a camel caravan, Daidu leans out of the jeep and yells: "I am going to school! Tell it to everyone that I going to school!" His face lights up in excitement and he continues to wave for a long time. But when he gets into the school building the head teacher turns him away; there is no room for him in the school. These two films are part of the series "Faces of Change" which consists of 27 films from Kenya, Afghanistan, China, Taiwan and Bolivia. The films have been made with the cooperation of anthropologists, and educational tools accompany them all. "Naim and Jabar" is another film from this series, and in the NAFA Film Collection, which approaches the role of schooling in socialisation.

Paul Baxter
Suggested readings: 
Aid from above : the role of Norwegian Church Aid / by Edel Urstad. [├ůs] : [E. Urstad], 1997. IX, 184 s., [12] bl. ill. Alternative title: The pastoral Boran of Southern Ethiopia.
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