Witch Doctor Kikuyu Family

The Gikuyu origins are traced by historians as part of the greater Bantu peoples migrations in Africa,(see The best and most comprehensive is by  Professor Godfrey Muriuki (A history of the Kikuyu 1500-1900 by Godfrey Muriuki)  Were, one of the foremost historians in Kenya admits that “The early history of the Kikuyu is still unknown”, but goes on to posit that the Bantu migrated into the Mt. Kenya region in waves and not as a group from AD 1300. The Gikuyu seem to have been a grouping of such bands. A group certainly came from the South from the Taita region and is related more to the Kamba, Chaaga and Taita.  (Were map) Other bands, that included the Meru, Embu and Mbeere migrated from the North in Ethiopia and others from the Central Africa. This would account for the various quite distinct facial characteristics among the Gikuyu. A round stocky soft face and the thin sharply defined cheek and forehead features being the main types. The intermarriages with the Maasai, the Kamba, and the original inhabitants of Gikuyuland, the short Gumba and the tall Dorobo and Athi complicated the gene pool even further. Today with the added gene pool from the British soldiers who participated in mass rapes of  Gikuyu women in 1952-58, the picture is very complicated.

For speculative purposes only I offer my opinion of observed main types for what it is worth. This is that the group that moved to Northern Kikuyuland, towards the sacred Mountain was the more spiritually inclined and was mainly from Ethiopian origins. The group that moved South towards the Coastal trade routes was the more enterprising and linked to the Kamba traders and trade routes to the Coast.

Continuing studies in linguistics and modern methods in medicine like gene mapping, etc. (see ) may some day shed more light on the origin and complicated gene pool of the Gikuyu.

This kind of complicated migration story is not the kind of narrative that can be handed down in oral tradition and as Amstrong observes, “Unless a historical event is mythologized, it cannot become a source of religious inspiration”*** It cannot endure and history without myth is cold and lifeless. It is even doubtful that history without myth can exist. The Gikuyu myth of origin like other myths of origin relates a garden of Eden scenario where God comes into the picture. According to this myth, the first man, Gikuyu walked with God, NgaiMwene NyagaMurunguMugai, or any number of other names given to Him. Call Him Ngai.

The scene starts at the top of “The Mountain of God”, Kiri Nyagagenerally called Mt Kenya. This is where God showed the first Gikuyu man the land below and instructed him to go to a specific spot to the South of the mountain where there was a grove of fig trees, Mikuyu.  Gikuyu descended the mountain and on arrival at the place found a woman. I suppose he introduced himself and Gikuyu and Mumbi became husband and wife. He was also told that he could make contact with this Ngai at any time by praying to him while facing Mt. Kenya or by sacrificing a goat under the Mukuyu or another type of fig tree, the Mugumo.

The name Gikuyu means a huge fig tree – Mukuyu, and Mumbi means Creator. The roots of the Mukuyu entered into the Great Mother Earth each nourishing the other and connecting with God. Man and the Goddess of Creation came together and as the milk essence from the Mukuyu entered the earth, the Gikuyu and the Mumbi brought forth the ten daughters who became the mothers of the ten Gikuyu clans. Think of the sun and moon and the ten planets.


God Bless Kenya

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close