A 300-year-old Ekebergia capensis, commonly known as the Cape Ash (Teldet in Kalenjin) tree, considered to be sacred to the Kalenjin community, has fallen in Aldai, Nandi County.
The Kapsiondoi clan had been using the enormous, multi-trunked tree to conduct prayers in the previous years before the establishment of St Peter's Koyo ACK Church in Nandi.
Charles Kering, one of the elders, says it will remain in history as a long-standing tree, which is a challenge to every resident to learn the importance of conserving the environment
"The tree is estimated to be as old as 300 years and considered home to spirits as our forefathers used to conduct spiritual services there. We do not know what really happened to it, we just heard a loud bang in the morning at 6 am after its fall," Kering said.
Nandi residents' views
Some residents say the fallen tree signifies a new crop of leadership following the death of former President Daniel Arap Moi. However, others felt that the fall signified the consequences of failing to respect the old.
However, religious leaders believed that the tree was "just old" and had outlived its strength.
One of the church leaders who sought anonymity said, “The tree outlived its strength and we shouldn’t be made captives of superstitions that have no significance today.”
Koyo residents now want an expert from the Ministry of Lands and Environment to visit the region to establish how the tree survived for such a long time.
"It is high time now for residents to be taught the significance of not cutting down the trees anyhow. In fact, this tree which has fallen contributed a lot to making rain and cool weather here. Environmentalists should visit this place and even have the remains of this tree in our museum for future reference," Kering added.
The Teldet tree in the Kalenjin community is also used as a herbal medicine.