Introduction / History Traditionally the Dorobo people were hunters and gatherers. The Dorobo who live near the Kipsigis and Kalenjin call themselves the Okiek. If their neighbors are Maasai they call themselves the Dorobo. They live in the Mau Forest and the area east of Tinderet, Northeast of Cherangani and south of Narok. They predate other Bantu tribes in the area. A Maasai creation story says that when God created the Maasai He found the Dorobo already there.
Beehives are very important to the Dorobo for brewing of pombe, their local beer, and not realising the value of their land, they traded much of it to the Kikuyus for beehives. Alcoholism is a major societal problem. Ndorobo, a swahili word meaning "poor people without cattle", sums up the way the unsuspecting Dorobo have often been treated. Being individualistic with poor self-esteem, they feel that they can't get ahead financially. There are just a few job opportunities available for them. Adopting the language of trading partners is one of their attempts to better their lot.
Even their views of God reflect this. They believe He is a distant God who must be reached through a Maasai or Kamba seer. They are from the Maa people and pre-exist other tribes in Kenya. The Kikuyu call them the pioneers. Today they are doing small scale farming. Beyond Narok they speak their own Dorobo language, but only for blessing and similar pronuncements. They try to pass themselves off as Maasai. Some are skilled circumcisers. Both male and female circumcision is practiced.
Nakuru county: east Mau escarpment; Baringo, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Trans Nzoia, and West Pokot counties. Sogoo dialect in Mau forest between Amala and Ewas Ng’iro rivers near Nosogami stream. (Source: Ethnologue 2016)