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Meet the El Molo tribe of Kenya where 1 person must die when another is born

Usually, the birth of a child brings joy and celebration amongst the people of any particular community. This is however, not the case among the people of El Molo. In this tribe, when a baby is born, another person must die in order to keep a balance between life and death.

Nestled along the shores of Lake Turkana in northern Kenya, the El Molo tribe stands as a testament to the rich cultural tapestry of East Africa. Despite being one of the smallest ethnic groups in the region, the El Molo people have a unique history, language, and way of life that have captivated anthropologists and travelers alike.

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El Molo tribe

It is reported that El Molo are just 99 in population, comprising men, women and children. Their language is El Molo, belonging to the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family.

The people of this tribe are noted to be unique because of their cultural, customary and spiritual beliefs, one of which is that when a baby is born, someone else must die to keep a balance between life and death. They believe that their population must not exceed  ninety-nine (99) people, so as children are being born, some people who have had the chance to live must die to keep the population below 100.

The El Molo tribe has only 99 members because when 1 baby is born, 1 person must die 

El Molo tribe

Once a baby is born, the elders of the tribe are consulted and those who have lived long and fulfilling lives are chosen to die. They accept to die in good fate because it’s deemed to be a recognition of the life cycle and respect for their ancestors who passed on the customs and beliefs to them.

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El Molo tribe

According to them, the spirits and the cosmos guide them in deciding who dies next. It is unclear if the chosen people die naturally or how they give way to the new babies.

It was reported that at one point, their population reached hundred (100) but it didn’t last for 24 hours because it was considered a sacrilege.