Sebei Culture In Eastern Uganda

Sebei land is on the border of Kenya which is the home of Kalenjin

Sebei Culture In Eastern Uganda

Sebei Culture In Eastern Uganda- Sebei involves 3 tribes and they are related to those tribes living on the northern and northwestern slopes of Mount Elgon in eastern Uganda. The term Sebei has started in modern administrative parlance. They now call themselves Sebei.  In past, they were Sapiñ tribe, and the other two tribes are called the Sor and the Mbai.

Sebei is an ethnic group of Sudan and Uganda and they speak a Nilotic language.  Most of the people in this ethnic group are occupied by 3 districts that are found in eastern Uganda and that is Bukwa, Kapchorwa, and Kween.

Sebei land is on the border of Kenya which is the home of Kalenjin and it is a large group that the sebei people belong to. The sebei are also called Sabiny which speaks Kupsabiny language. Sebei and other smaller groups of kalenjin are staying around the hills of Mountain Elgon and they are all known as the Saboat.

Like kalenjin, Sebei also circumcises teenage boys and girls as a rite of passage.    Their land was reduced because of the drawing on the border of Uganda and Kenya, so they extended into Kenya on the eastern side of the mountain and onto the Uasin-Gishu Plateau.  Their culture and language are likely similar to that of people staying on the southern slopes of Elgon.

The modern political leaders have formed the Sabaot Union which involves three Sebie tribes in Uganda plus their sister tribes which are found on the border of the Kenyan sides which known as Bogom, Bok, and Kony.

Clan and Lineage

Every Sebei has a clan such as aret clan and arosyek clan.  These clans are a sign of affiliation in a man’s life. No man can change clan affiliation apart from clans may split apart. Clans have a strong spiritual hold on their members and they also act as a kind of genetic inheritance of traits.

Some clans separated from the Sebei, however, a definitive list cannot be made.  Every clan has descendants of a single founder, the names of clans that were formed are related to the founder’s name, and the names derived from some habit, mythic accounts, or practice attributed to the founder.

The Ritual Transformation from Child to Adult

The ceremonial activities that mark the change of Sebei boys and girls into adult status are the most important and dramatic events of Sebei life today and probably have always been so. One to complete the ceremonial cycle, it may take about 1-6 months to complete. Boys normally start this ceremony at 18-20 years while girls a couple of years younger.  The cycle has two major elements plus other minors that are the circumcision of the boys and involving the severing of the whole labia minora for the girls, “Minora” is in local word which is means circumcision. However, it is also called labiodectomy, there follow minor ceremonies like painting, shaving, and partial release from seclusion tabus. The cycle ends with the second major ritual event, allocating the initiates to their appropriate age-sets and signalizing their reentry into the normal activities of the society.

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