I was very saddened to learn of the passing of Dr Benjamin Kipkorir on 20 May 2015. Born in 1940 in Kapsowar, Elgeyo-Marakwet District in Kenya, Ben was the pre-eminent Marakwet intellectual. Through his work on the Marakwet, he made an enormous contribution to the history and anthropology of Kenya, championing oral historical techniques as well as ‘ethnography of the self’ in the days beforepostcolonial reflexivity had become established. Ben’s support and astute critique has been present from the very beginning of my academic career, when I arrived in Kenya as a PhD student. In fact, in 1981 he convened the conference at the University of Nairobi where I gave the very first paper on my Marakwet research, and his edited collection The Kerio Valley contained my first publication. It’s hard to believe that his kindly, wise, critical voice will no longer be heard.