Superstition refers to a belief or a practice that results from fear of unknown, trust in magic or irrational abject attitude of mind towards the supernatural, nature or god(s). If one aligns his/her faith on this practice we refer to him/her as being superstitious so is the society. Among the turkana people, superstition was also practice to-date. Those practicing the act and pose as agents of these supernatural powers are seen as the intermediaries between these gods or spirits and are feared and respected in the society. Some of these are benevolent while others are malicious which we are going to discuss below.

A fortune teller is a person who foretells the future events. He/ She can also be referred to as a futurist, diviner, foreseer, soothsayer or a prophet. Just like other African societies, a fortune teller plays an active role among the Turkana people and is consulted before any event takes place. The Turkana people refer to him/her as Emuron(singular) /Ng’imurok(plural).

They help to identify the source of bad omens, sicknesses and other problems encountered by an individual or the society and provide a possible solution to the specific problem. For example, in the event of sickness. He/ She identifies the cure or the sacrifice to be offered to avert the disease. He can also foresee impending dangers like raids from the neighboring communities and the fate of the warriors going for a raid or looming natural calamities.

There are two types of fortune tellers based on the way they receive their revelations. There are those that are revealed through visions and those that receive through dreams. Barrett, refers the to them as true diviners or the diviners of God as they receive their prophesies direct from God (Akuj) which makes them very respected in the society. These “true diviners” are the descendants of the famous Turkana fortune tellers called Lokerio and Lokorijem who were believed to be the link between the turkana people and the creator of the world Akuj.

These fortune tellers became very famous during the turkana resistance from the Italians invasion alongside the British colonialists. During this period, the locations of the army of their enemies were revealed to them and the warriors would prepare for ambush. It was also believed that these ng’imurok were very powerful that they could separate Lake Turkana formally known as Lake Rudolf and warriors would walk across the lake to steal camels from the neighboring community.

These ‘Ng’imurok of God’ still exist and are found in different territories of the Turkana County. Each emuron has a different ability from another one. There are those who specialize in reading tea leaves, tobacco, animals’ intestines, shoes, stones and strings. This type of fortune tellers has benevolent while those with hidden evil spirits who specialize in hurting people are referred to as ng’ikasubak (witchdoctor). They use objects secretly collected from the victim or anything in contact to bewitch them through enchantment.

Other than God, the fortune tellers can also receive revelation from the ancestors(ng’ikaram), they can speak with them in dreams or through visions.  The ancestors can reveal to them the type of animal to be sacrificed, the color, when and how to offer the sacrifice in order to avert impending or existing doom, restore peace, bring rains or even pronounce blessings to the newly wedded couples or new born.

The Ng’imurok in each area receive direct revelations from Akuj. They also receive through intermediaries or spirit-possessions. This occurs when the ancestors need to pass a message or to be given attention, they possess a family member usually assumed to be common among the young generation. The possessed individual speaks on behalf of the ancestor or appears to them as ghosts in which a fortune teller is consulted for the meaning or what to be done.

At times most people confuse the events in which fortune teller’s intervention is required and where the clan elders oversee. However, some times they are engaged incase something uncommon is noticed while conducting the clan rituals. These rituals are very important and represent the acknowledgement and transitions of life force. In the turkana culture the most important and common rituals are the birth rituals (akidoun), male and female initiation rituals that do not include circumcision referred to as asapan for male and akinyonyo for females, marriage rituals (Akuuta), annual blessing sacrifices (Apiaret anawi), and death rituals (Akinuuk). Each of these rituals is overseen by the clan elders.



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