A baby’s birth typically sparks happiness and festivities in the town where it was born. However, in the El Molo tribe of Kenya, childbirth elicits mixed feelings since, while it should be a time of joy, it also implies that someone must die to keep the population below one hundred.

One of Kenya’s more than seventy tribes, the EL MOLO, also called the hunters of the Jade Sea, are primarily found in a small community south of Loiyangalani in the Masarbit South district of the country’s northern Eastern Province, on the shores of Lake Turkana. In addition, they go by the names Elmolo, Dehes, Fura-Pawa, and Ldes.

Even though the hamlet is home to between 200 and 300 people, it is said that only 99 people—men, women, and children—are considered to constitute the true El Molo. El Molo, the language they speak, is a member of the Afro-Asiatic language family’s Cushitic branch.

El Molo people are recognized as a unique tribe due to their cultural, customary, and spiritual beliefs, one of which is that someone else must die to maintain a balance between life and death when a baby is born.

Afrimax English recently visited the El Molo village to provide information on their way of life, culture, and access to basic facilities, among other things.

El Molo people believe that their population cannot be more than ninety-nine (99) people, so while new children are born, some people who have had the opportunity to live must die to maintain the number below 100.

The tribe’s elders are consulted after a baby is born, and those who have lived long, meaningful lives are selected to die. It is considered an acknowledgment of the life cycle and a sign of respect for their ancestors who passed on their traditions and beliefs that they agree to die in good fortune.

They say they decide who dies next based on guidance from the cosmos and spirits. It is unknown how the chosen people give way to the new babies or if they die normally.

According to Afrimax English, their population once approached one hundred (100), but it didn’t last for a whole day because it was deemed blasphemous. How it was promptly fixed is unknown.

They are essentially constantly on tenterhooks since no one knows who will die when a child is born to control the El Molo population. It is interesting to note that even if the person who becomes ill during the time of childbirth is not the one designated to die, they nevertheless feel restless.

Most El Molo are fisherman who rely on Lake Turkana for their food and livelihood. They are known for being extraordinarily spiritual and for worshiping WAAK/WAHK.

According to reports, their community finds it difficult to accommodate more people because of frequent droughts, a lack of farming land, clean drinking water, and food. These may have told their forefathers to set a population limit on their inherited land.

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