Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.
Death Introduction Most Kikuyu are Christians, and during my entire stay in Kenya nine months in two visitsI never met one Kikuyu who professed to be anything else.
So it came as something of a surprise when a search on the internet came up with the three photos you see below, two of which depict a rain ceremony addressed to Ngai God. The photos were taken in Marchand I must admit that my first reaction was that the images must have been posed, or that the event had been staged for tourists.
The ceremony took place towards the end of a particularly long drought, which had also unclenched wildfires on Mount Kenya, whose forests are usually far too damp to burn for long.
The photos show that despite the wholesale culture shock that the Kikuyu have undergone over the last century, some aspects of the old ways remain, so much so that in times of real need - such as the drought - some Kikuyu still fall back on pre-Christian traditions, and will ask for help from the old God and the ancestors if the Christian faith fails their needs.
Mount Kenya ablaze with rampant wildfires due to a two year drought. A witch doctor prepares to sacrifice a goat to bring rain to his drought-stricken area.
Mount Kenya, March A villager dons a mask during a rain ceremony at the base of Mount Kenya, March Images are copyright Denise Rocco, with whose kind permission they are reproduced here.
There's more of her work at Denise Rocco Photography. I do not know to what extent this melding of old and new beliefs is still practised.
I assume that the rain ceremony in the photos was exceptional, prompted as it was by an extreme situation. Yet there are other signs, too, that the old ways have not been completely forgotten.
The institution of elderhood may at first sight appear to be defunct, but here too, the Kikuyu have adapted and adopted to the new ways rather than simply discarding the old: Thus, the role of priests is not seen as solely being a religious one, but social, too. In Nairobi, with its complex ethnic mix and live potential for violence between its various peoples, it is these priest-elders who take the good conduct of their society in hand, much as other peoples have also kept elements of social control over their own people.
For an excellent essay on the continuing survival of some traditional features of life, especially religion and elderhood in the modern setting, read Harold Miller's Kikuyu Elderhood as African Oracle external site; opens in new window.
Ngai - the Creator Traditionally, as now, the Kikuyu were monotheists, believing in a unique and omnipotent God whom they called Ngai also spelled Mogai or Mungai.
The word, if not the notion, came from the Maasai word Enkai, and was borrowed by both the Kikuyu and Kamba. God is also known as Mungu, Murungu, or Mulungu a variant of a word meaning God which is found as far south as the Zambesi of Zambiaand is sometimes given the title Mwathani or Mwathi the greatest rulerwhich comes from the word gwatha, meaning to rule or reign with authority.
Ngai is the creator and giver of all things, 'the Divider of the Universe and Lord of Nature'. He gave birth to the human community, created the first Kikuyu communities, and provided them with all the resources necessary for life: He - for Ngai is male - cannot be seen, but is manifest in the sun, moon, stars, comets and meteors, thunder and lighting, rain, in rainbows and in the great fig trees mugumo or mugumu that served as places of worship and sacrifice, and which marked the spot at Mukurue wa Gathanga where Gikuyu and Mumbi - the ancestors of the Kikuyu in the oral legend - first settled.
Yet Ngai is not the distant God that we know in the West. He had human characteristics, and although some say that he lives in the sky or in the clouds, they also say that he comes to earth from time to time to inspect it, bestow blessings and mete out punishment.
When he comes he rests on Mount Kenya and four other sacred mountains. Thunder is interpreted to be the movement of God, and lightning is God's weapon by means of which he clears the way when moving from one sacred place to another. Other people believed that Ngai's abode was on Mount Kenya, or else 'beyond' its peaks.
Ngai, says one legend, made the mountain his resting place while on an inspection tour of earth. He then took the first man, Gikuyu, to the top to point out the beauty of the land he was giving him see the Kikuyu creation mythand also Kikuyu oral history.
Kirinyaga - the Sacred Mountain Mountains have always been favourite places for Gods and spirits, particularly when the mountains stand on their own - Mount Ararat, Mount Fuji, and Sri Lanka's Adam's Peak are ones which come immediately to mind - and Mount Kenya is no exception.
Their association with rain clouds in particular seems crucial in understanding the spiritual awe in which humans regard such mountains. That, and the sheer beauty of these places, of course.Polygamy in America - Polygamy is defined as “a marriage that includes more than two partners.” There are different types of polygamy, these include: polygyny, where a man has multiple wives, polyandry, in which a woman has multiple husbands, and group marriage, where a .
Mar 03, · The heart of the Empire. Black British literature, or that literature written in English by Caribbean, Asian, African, and other people who originated from the ex-British Empire, has an ancient. Book Review - An Unreasonable Woman by Ivy May Stuart.
Pretoria News - 18 May Review by: Dianne Low. Victorian heroine escapes to Natal. This book is a tribute to all the Victorians, both soldiers and ordinary men and women, who fought, lived and loved so far away from home.
Traditional religion and beliefs of the Kikuyu. From the Traditional Music and Cultures of Kenya, a multimedia encyclopaedia dedicated to all Kenyan tribes, including music and dance, history, culture, society, religion and beliefs, rituals and daily life, fables, legends, riddles and proverbs.
SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics.
This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Weep Not Child by Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Weep Not Child, Ngugi wa Thiong’o novel, centers around the [ ].
Photos: Although Tewodros turned the gun on himself in order to avoid being captured alive, the British soldiers took his young son, Prince Alemayehu Tewodros (who died .