NANDI RESISTANCE (1895 – 1905)


NANDI RESISTANCE (1895) – 1905)

Refer  to  the  resistance  that  was  waged  by  the  Nandi  people  in  Kenya  against  the  I.B.E.A.CO ( The  British  Colonial  rule).

The  Nandi  resisted  the  British  intrusion  under  their  leader  Koitalel Arap Samoei. The  title  of  the  Nandi  leader  was  called “ Orkoiyot” Traditionally, the  Nandi  were  pastoralists.

During the  19th  c  the Nandi  became  superior  as  they  managed  to  win  different  battles  with  their  neighboring  societies  such  as  the  Maasai.

The  Nandi  grew  more  powerful  as  the  Maasai  power  declined.

Therefore, during  the  advent  of  British  Colonial  rule, the  Nandi  resisted  strongly  against  the  British penetration.

They  did  not  allow  Europeans  even  to  cross  their  territory. In  1895, they  killed a  British  trader  named  West  as  he  attempted  to  pass  through  their  land.

This  awakened  the  British  to  start  fighting  the  Nandi.


The Construction of railway /  Introduction of the railway lines along the Nandi land.

The I.B.E.A.CO  started  to construct  the  railway  line  which  was  to  pass  through the  Nandi’s  land. This  railway  line  made  the  Nandi  to  start  resisting  because  the  railway  interfered  their  daily  activities  and  culture.

Nandi resisted against British because British constructed a railway line on the Nandi land which they defined on it for farming and livestock keeping.

Land problem

The  construction  of  the  railway  had  impact  on the  Nandi  people. The  Nandi  were  removed  from  their  land  as  the  British  wanted  to  create  vacant  land  for  whites  settlement.

This  made  the  Nandi  not  to  continue  with  pastoral  activities  hence  resistance  against  the  British.


The Nandi’s pride.

The Nandi fought against the British because they believed that they were superior, strong and powerful socially, economically, politically, militarily and culturally hence did not want to be controlled.

 The killing of the Nandi leader KOITALEL

Nandi’s resisted against the British following the killing of their leader known as Koitalel when he was called in the meeting of stopping the resistance.

The Nandi resistance

The  Nandi  believed  that  they  were  superior  as  they  had  experienced  different  wars  with  their  neighbors  and  won  them.

They  believed  that  their  culture  was  superior  and  they  did  not  want  their  culture  to  be  interfered  by  anybody. This  made  them  to  resist  the  British.

Kimnyole’s prophecy / The pressure from Kimnyoles prophecy

Kimnyole  was  an  Ex – Orkoiyot. During his  reign, he  had  prophesized  that  Nandi  land  would  one  day  be  ruled  by  the  foreigners.

Also  he  added  that  one  day  there  would  come  a long  and  big  snake  from Indian  Ocean  belching  smoke  and  fire.

The snake turned to be  the  railway, and  when  the  Nandi  saw  the  construction  of  the  railway  they  started  to  resist  against  the  British.

The need to protect their political freedom

Koitale Arap Samoei organized the Nandi to resist against the British in order to restore and protect their political freedom. This is due to the fact that, the Nandi did not want to under British Colonial  rule.

Although the Nandi resisted heavily the British colonial rule  for  about  10  years , but  they  were  at  last  defeated.

It was in  1905  that  the  Nandi  were  defeated  by  the  British.



The British managed to defeat them after killing their leader Koitalel Arap Samoei (Orkoiyot).

The  British  Commander, Colonel  Meinertzhagen  visited  the  Nandi  leaders  as  Orkoiyot  came  out  to  greet  his  visitors  he  was  shot  dead  together  with  other  leaders, From  that  moment, the  Nandi  were  removed  to  the  reserves


1. The death of people. Nandi resistance led to the massive loss of people’s lives including leaders such as Koitalel, Orkolyot and other warriors.

2. British colonizing the Nandi land. The British defeated the Nandi during resistance as a result they took the Nandi land and made the Nandi to lost their sovereignty.

3. Destruction or damage of properties. The Nandi resistance led to the destroying of people’s properties including land, railways, telegraphic lines, killing of livestock, houses etc.

4. Hunger and famine. Nandi resistance led to the occurrence of hunger [food shortage] since resistance took many years and farms and cattle were killed during the fighting.

5. Migration of people. The Nandi resistance led to the restless of people because during and after the resistance people run away or migrated to other areas.

6. Land alienation. Nandi resistance led to many Nandi people to remain landless since after the resistance British took Nandi’s fertile land.

7. Nandi resistance led to the introduction of cheap labour, since those Nandi people had decided to be employed as cheap labours to the British settle farms.

8. Over grazing of some area. Nandi resistance led to the environmental degradation since the area which the Nandi pushed or migrated were not enough for cattle grazing.



1. “While some societies resisted the imposition of the colonial rule in Africa others appeared to collaborate”. Discuss this context giving concrete examples from East Africa. (NECTA-2000)

2. “African resistances against the imposition of colonial rule failed due to Africans’ technological backwardness”. Discuss (NECTA-2003)

3. What brought about the Chimurenga war in Southern Rhosedia in 1896-1897? (NECTA-2005)

4. With concrete examples show why the conflict between Africans and the whites during the colonial period was inevitable. (NECTA-2007)

5. Through their activities the missionaries become forerunners of colonialism. Justify this statement. (NECTA-2007)

6. The maji-maji war of 1905-1907 in Tanganyika remains a symbol of the African struggle against colonial rule. Justify (NECTA-2008)

7. Account for the Nandi resistance against their land occupation by the British. (NECTA-2009)

8. With examples from East or west Africa, show how company rule helped to create European colonization in Africa. (NECTA-2010)



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