The Ateker community from four countries have gathered together in north-western Kenya for a four-day festival to celebrate their cultural heritage - and overcome fierce tensions over resources.
The gathering is called “Tobong' ulore”, which means “Welcome back home” - and is a reference to the fact that the region is said to be the cradle of mankind.
Seven groups make up the Ateker community:
- Kenya: Turkana and Iteso
- Ethiopia: Nyang'atom and Dasanach
- South Sudan: Toposa
- Uganda: Karamoja and Teso.
These clans often tend to clash over cattle and borders, but community leaders say they actually share a common language. They also share a common culture, including similar hair styles, houses and shoes, which are made from goat skin.
This is the fifth year of the festival, at the Ekalees Centre in Lodwar, where each clan also gets to show off their unique traditions.
“Ekalees” means ostrich, which is the symbol for all the clans - and the men use feathers from the bird to decorate their headdresses. The colour of the feather determines which group they belong to.
The copper rings on the necklaces worn by women also signify which clan they come from - the colour of the beads are more specific indicating exactly where they live.
The hundreds who descend for the festival are also a boon for hotels in the region.
Next year it has been agreed the community will attend a similar festival in Ethiopia.