Yaaku tribe, which speaks Yankute, is the Kenyan community on the verge of being extinct as it only has seven people who speak and understand the language.
The tribe whose only speakers are above 70 years old settled in the country from Ethiopia a century ago and settled in the caves and hills of the Mukugodo forest located in the present Laikipia county.
In a special feature with Al Jazeera, Rashid Njapaa, a 78-year-old who speaks the native language, narrated how the tribe slowly faded over time expressing fear that it would soon become extinct.
He noted that the tribe started diminishing when the Maasai community settled in the area (during one of their pastoral exhibitions) and overpowered them due to the fact that the Yaaku were few and less wealthy.
The Yaaku began assimilating into the Maasai community and subsequently adopted the Maa language to ease communication.
“That’s when our language started dwindling slowly,” Njapaa stated adding that at the time he was born, there were only 20 people speaking the language.
The Kenyan Government, on its part, considered this tribe a sub-clan of the Maasai owing to its numbering of about 4,000 people.
Njapaa highlighted that efforts to teach the young generation this language has remained difficult as they adopted the Maasai language which is easier to understand.
“It’s disturbing to see that young people who are supposed to take over from us have decided to abandon this beautiful language,” Njapaa stated.
Ngaine Kitarpei, 34, who has volunteered in efforts to revive the culture and language, noted that the young generation is largely uninterested in learning a language that so few can speak.
“Many young Yaaku men and women ask us, who would [we] speak to? To them, Maasai language is easy and they communicate with it daily,” Kitarpei, a father of three who cannot construct a single sentence in Yakunte, told Al Jazeera.