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Samburu Testimonial Series No 1 - A personal message to the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF)

Nakuru Lemiruni's six children were all born in Kisargei and says she 'cannot think of any other land as home'. She wanted to send a message to AWF. This is it.

The Samburu of Kisargei, in Kenya’s Laikipia district, were brutally evicted from the lands they call home after the land was sold to the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). AWF – with funds from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) – says it bought the land on the understanding that no-one lived there. When the Samburu protested and took the matter to the courts the land was hurriedly ‘gifted’ to the government. This is the first in a series of text and video based testimonials produced by Jo Woodman of Survival International, Zoe Young - freelance film maker and Nicholas Winer of Just Conservation.

Nakuro Lemiruni, mother of six, was called to the witness box early in the case. Her community has been left stranded on the edge of the land waiting the outcome of a slow-moving case in which they are pitted against the conservation charities, the government and the former president, Daniel arap Moi, who owned the land. At one hearing we interviewed members of the community who had travelled to the court in the hope of justice and the ability to return to their home. Those we[1] interviewed were devastated at the loss of their land, traumatised by the violence of the evictions and deeply concerned for their - and their children’s - future

How come I have been told to move out of my land without being given any reason?

What mistake have I made in this land that I’m being evicted from my own land?

The person who claims to be the owner of this land, what has he been doing all this time on this land? Where has he been? Where is he? Has he ever been there?

How can he claim that this land belongs to him when he has never stepped foot on that land? He has never done anything in that land.

Or is it because this person who claims to be the owner of this land is the president and those of us who have no education, who are helpless, we are being moved out for him to get our land?

It is very clear that the forces that were forcing me out were on the side of the President.

On my side I am a poor person, helpless. Nobody cares. No one wants to listen to me, to give me time to hear why I claim that this land is mine. I am just being evicted. 

And now that I am almost finished, I’ve lost loved ones, I’ve lost my livestock, I’ve been kicked out. I want to be told: what is my future? It is the government who is doing this so, what is my future? After all of this suffering, where should I go? 

I want to tell whoever is behind all this, you are finishing me. You have killed my people. You have taken my land. You have taken my livestock. You stop it. And tell me what to do and where to go next. I am now helpless. 

It is clear that this case is biased. All the forces - those who evicted us, the court, they are all against me. I don’t have money to come to court every time. I don’t have the money to pay the lawyers. 

I want to settle. For a long time now we have been suffering like this. I just want to be able to settle. But where? Where should I go? Will my life continue like this forever? That land is my only home. The only place I can call home. At this age, I cannot make anywhere else home. I only know my land.

Interview conducted by Jo Woodman.