The Kalenjin community which mostly occupies the Rift Valley region in Kenya is the second largest in terms of numbers. The Kalenjin comprise a number of Southern Nilotic ethnic groups indigenous to what was formerly the Rift Valley Province in Kenya. They are divided into 11 culturally and linguistically related tribes: Kipsigis, Nandi, Keiyo, Marakwet, Sabaot, Pokots, Tugen, Terik, Sengwer, Lembus, and Ogiek.
Like most African communities, Kalenjins name their children in regards to events, character, seasons, place of birth, weather, mom’s situation at birth, time of birth among other factors.
As you might already know, most Kalenjin names start with “K” for boys and “Ch” for girls. But there are also a few variations that do not follow this pattern. For instance, names like Birir, Maina, and Tuwei are still Kalenjin although they are not very common.
Another variation is whereby you find some names starting with “J” for girls and “Ch” for boys.
In case you have been wondering what all these “Kips” and “Cheps” mean, we have compiled a list of some of the most common Kalenjin names with their meanings:
1. Kipsang/Chesang – born outside the house
2. Kibet/Chebet – born midday
3. Kiprop/Cherop – born during the rainy season
4. Kipkoech/Chepkoech – born very early in the morning
5. Kiprotich/Cherotich – when cows are coming home
6. Kipkemoi/Chepkemoi – born at night
7. Kiptoo/Cheptoo – born when the visitor arrived
8. Kiprono/Cherono – When goats/sheep are coming from pastures
9. Kiplangat/Cheplangat – born after 7 pm
10. Kipngetich/Chepngetich – born when cows are being takes to pasture
11. Kipchirchir/Chepchirchir – Mom’s labor did not last long
12. Kipchumba/Chepchumba – born when visitors are around
13. Kimutai/Chemutai – mom’s labor lasted longer
14. Kipruto/Cheruto – when mom went for a visit
15. Kipkorir/Chepkorir – born before sunrise
16. Kipngeno/Chepngeno – born when goats were waking up
17. Kiptanui/Cheptanui – born when someone fainted
18. Kipyator/Chepyator – opening the way(firstborn)