When he was a young boy, Olubi enjoyed herding his father’s livestock. While performing his daily duty of herding cows, he would often see lions and other wild animals in the grazing fields.
In 1995, when he was about 14 years old, a big male lion attacked his father’s cattle at Emporokuai while he was herding them. He was bold enough (though he was not even considered to be a warrior yet) to spear the lion while it was jumping onto a cow’s back. The lion growled but did not chase young Olubi. Although the cow was injured, she was still alive. Olubi was happy that he had been able to save her. Later in the evening, when he drove the cattle home, he informed his father about the incident. Olubi could tell that his father was elated, as his eyes were bright with excitement. The old man congratulated Olubi and awarded him a cow for his bravery. Olubi also narrated the exciting story to his peers; they were all filled with joy. They celebrated one of their own for being ‘murran’ (warrior) enough to face the lion and rescue the cow. The story spread across the entire Orng’osua village. Everyone, both children and adults, was talking about the brave son of Olokusie. But Olubi and his young friends were cautious in their celebration lest they attract the wrath of the true murrani (circumcised warriors)
In the Maasai community, it is actually taboo for an uninitiated herder to kill a lion, it brings ‘shame’ to the initiated warriors. In effect, this means that no one is supposed to celebrate when a herder spears or kills a lion. To right the “wrong” created by Olubi’s brave act, the murrani decided to head out the following day and kill the injured lion. This would ensure an end to the praise that young Olubi was receiving from community members, especially the young women and girls.
The murrani tracked and killed the lion in the morning – their mission was successful and the whole village celebrated. But Olubi never forgot the pride that he felt being able to protect his father’s livestock and the broader community.
On the 24th of February, come back for part two in the series on Olubi called “Becoming Mitiaki”.