is the name of one tribe of the Kalenjin
ethnic group of Kenya. There are an estimated 200,000 Marakwet people,
from the clans Almoo, Talai, Cherangany (Sengwer or Kimaala), Endoow,
Markweta (the dialect giving rise to the common name), Sombirir
(Borokot) and Kiptaani. Each clan of the Marakwet are characterised by
their recognition of no authority higher than the asiswo (the assembly
of all adult males of the clans). They forged a form of association
through their common residence along the Kerio Valley and on the slopes
of the Cherangani Hills
The territory occupied by the Marakwet is one of the most beautiful and picturesque parts of Kenya, bounded to the east by the Kerio River at 1000 m above sea level, which runs through a small branch of the Great Rift Valley.
To the west it includes almost the entire Cherang’any hills which rise
to 3300 m above sea level west of the Marakwet escarpment. Marakwet
people live in the Marakwet District, Trans Nzoia, and Uasin Gishu counties of the Rift Valley Province of Kenya, as well as in other towns in Kenya. Others have moved to live in places as far away as Australia, Southern Africa middle east, and the United States.
The Marakwet lead a simple rural life characterised by mixed
small scale farming and keeping of dairy cows, sheep, and chicken. They
grow mostly maize, potatoes, beans and vegetables in the highlands. Those who live along the escarpment and the Kerio Valley keep mostly goats and beef zebu cows and grow millet, sorghum, cassava,
vegetables and fruits mostly mangoes and oranges. There is a
sophisticated pre-historic irrigation furrow system that supports this
crop cultivation along the Kerio Valley that is thought to be over 500
years old. Some of the greatest long distance and especially steeplechase runners in the world have come from amongst these people.
The traditional Marakwet religion consisted of multiple deities with hierarchical ranking. The most important deity was Assis (the sun), sometimes fondly referred to as Chebetip chemataw. He is mostly associated with blessings and good will. Another deity is Ilat
(god of thunder). He is associated with rain and in dry seasons
sacrifices were made to appease him. He is also associated with fury and
vengeance whereby he causes droughts or strikes people with lightning
if he is angered.
The Marakwet district headquarters is at the hilly town of Kapsowar
. Other rural centres/towns are Chebiemit
, and Embobut Mosop