chapter  10
34 Pages

The Changing Socionatural System of Migratory Pastoralism in Eastern Africa: A Review of Literature to the 1980s

ByJohn W. Bennett

Eastern Africa includes the following countries: Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania, while the term East Africa refers mainly to Kenya and Tanzania. Significant numbers of migratory pastoralist people live in all five countries, and attempts at inducing these populations to relinquish their migratory way of life and to shift their distinctive mode of livestock production to one approximating sedentary ranching have been made repeatedly from the late nineteenth century to the present. Efforts to intensify livestock production, and the associated requirement of nucleated settlement, are not unique to eastern Africa, but have taken place elsewhere in Africa and in the Middle East and Central Asia, wherever substantial numbers of people raise livestock on transient pasturage. Such people represent the last large body of Old World human beings following a pattern of social and economic life differing from the now ubiquitous sedentarism. The fact that the pastoralist style of life has proved to be remarkably resistant to change is mainly due to the relative290 geographic isolation of people exploiting marginal lands not easily or profitably used for crop production.