In the El Molo tribe of Kenya, childbirth sparks mixed feelings and reactions because while it calls for celebration, it also calls for the death of someone to follow the custom of having a population less than 100.
Known as the hunters of the Jade Sea, the El Molo’s is one of the over 70 tribes in Kenya mainly dwelling in a small village on the shores of Lake Turkana in the south of Loiyangalani at Masarbit south district of Kenya’s northern Eastern Province.
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.
It is the belief of El Molo people 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.
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.
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.