The Kikuyu Tribe – Our Tribe -The Beginning
Our Greatest Friend, Shailah, has a wonderful father who posted this story for us in a comment several weeks ago and I missed it. Because he was so informative I have included it in its own post here. A HUGE Thank You to Jack Bevan :) I should have done this research myself and posted it for my family and friends – I am thankful that you picked up the slack!
The Kikuyu Tribe of Kenya (East Africa) lives in the central province of Kenya just west of Mount Kenya. The predominant tribe in that province is the Kikuyu tribe who are mostly agriculturalists and animal herders. But so what, you might say. Well, I am reading a book by Jomo Kenyatta the founder and father of Kenya and this is his accounting of how, why, and when the Kikuyu tribe transcended from the use of blunt wooden tools to the use of metal or iron tools.For centuries the Gikuyu (Kikuyu) people have developed the technique of procuring iron ore from the sand, and so the use of iron tools has been well established in the Kikuyu country from time immemorial. In Kikuyu legends and stories we are told how, in the beginning of things, the animals were divided into two-section s for domestication purposes. The great divider (the Kikuyu God), Mogai, gave one section of the animals to men and the other section to women. At this time people did not possess any iron tools; they used wooden knives and spears. The women took to slaughtering their animals for food and other purposes; they did this with wooden knives, and it took a long time to kill and skin one animal. The legends go on to tell us that owing to the pain inflicted on the animals through this slow process of killing and skinning with blunt wooden knives, the animals could not stand it much longer. One night, when the women were sleeping the animals gathered together and decided to run away from these cruel human beings. All the animals possessed by the women ran away and scattered in the forests and plains; at the same time they selected their own chiefs and leaders and defended themselves from being captured by the human beings. The lion and leopard were chosen as the defenders of jungles; the elephant, buffalo and rhinoceros as the defenders of the forests; the hippopotamus as the defender of rivers and lakes, and so on. From this time the animals which were possessed by the women became wild animals, and the men’s animals, which at that time were not used for killing, remained domesticated.Women tried hard to get their animals back from the forests and jungles, but they did not succeed; they pleaded with the Mogai to help them get their animals back, but Mogai would not listen to their petition, for he said that women had treated their animals cruelly and therefore he had given them freedom to roam freely in the forests, plains and jungles. When the men saw the crisis which had befallen the women they held a conference and decided to send a delegation to the Mogai and ask him what they should do with their animals, which were increasing by leaps and bounds. The delegates took with them a fine lamb which was fawn colored all over its body. They told Mogai that they wanted to sacrifice the lamb to him, but they did not like to kill and skin it with the blunt wooden knives for fear of losing their herds as had happened to the women. To their request the Mogai replied: “You are wise men, for you have remembered to seek my advice. I can see that you know that I have given you these animals and I have power to take them away from you. For your faith in me I will give you good advice about how to get better tools, not only for sacrifices, but also for your general use. I will make you the masters of your animals with new tools, but I command you to share these with your unfortunate womenfolk.”At this juncture Mogai directed the men to a site in a riverbed and said to them: “Take sand from this site, Dry it in the sun; then make a fire and put the sand therein, and through this process you will get iron. I will give you wisdom to make better tools and you will not have to use blunt wooden tools anymore.” From this time the Kikuyu, following the advice of Mogai, entered into the phase of metal or iron culture.
Thanks Again Jack! This is so interesting :)
Posted on December 5, 2012, in 1st Year!!!, Guest Bloggers, Peace Corps and tagged Africa, Animals, Blogging, Culture, Family, Farming, Humor, Kenya, Legends, Life, Myths, Peace Corps, Short Story. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.