|Why Eldoret is called 64

Why Eldoret is called 64

Eldoret is the 5th largest town in Kenya and it is also the headquarters of the Uasin Gishu County, one of the 47 subdivisions of the country (Iten, being very close to Eldoret, is the headquarters of the Elgeyo-Marakwet County). History has it that the town was started by the Boers from South Africa escaping the British during the second Anglo-Boer war (1899-1902). The legend says that the Boers were looking for agricultural land and, among the equipment they were travelling with, there was a very heavy safe with lots of money in cash. By the time they reached Eldoret (at that time not even a town), the safe fell and it was so heavy that they couldn’t remove it from the mud. They decided, in such a situation, to build a house around the safe. That house is now the office of the Standard Chartered Bank.

The name Eldoret is derived from the Maasai word Eldare which means “stony river” referring to the Sosiani riverbed within the town. Unfortunately, the river is better known these days by its dirt than by its stones. But before that, Eldoret was known just as “64”.

The British, when they were colonizing the area, subdivided most of the land into settler farms. Eldoret was 64 miles from Kibigori railway station, therefore called farm 64. But for the locals, the British pronunciation was a bit complicated and they mispronounced sixty-four as sisibo.

This old name of sixty-four is very much present in Eldoret nowadays. There is the 64 Stadium on the west side of the city, a 64 secondary school and the more famous 64 Resort where you can go for a drink, live music or watch football in the huge screens if you are a big fan. But if you want to enjoy the Kenyan way of the name, remember that there is a matatu company called Sisibo (joining Eldoret and Kapsabet) and the not very much known Sisibo Insurance Agency.

By |2018-11-19T12:43:30+00:00October 25th, 2018|