Set in no time-frame, Kenyatta wrote that once upon a time, Gikuyuwas given a beautiful wife named Moombiwhich in Utu (the language of the Bantu) means Creator or Moulder. They settled in a place known as Mokorwe wa Nyagathanga which means “the place of fig trees”. A “mukuyu” is a species of wild fig tree. A “gikuyu” is a giant or very old wild fig tree. The Kikuyu declare that the bird species ‘nyagathanga’, is an ‘unknown bird’. According to this thesis, Gikuyu treated his wife well enough, and he is an example in Kikuyu folklore of what a true man ought to be.
Against the SisterHood
A few 130 years later (after the death of Gikuyu and Moombi) his sons-in-law had a sit down, and here we commence to see a problem that begins first with land inheritance, for the 10 daughters are the ones who were the inheritors of land, as prescribed by Mogai.
“When Gikuyu and Moombi died, their daughters inherited their movable and immovable property which they shared equally among them.” ‘them’ meaning the Sisters. It is written so, and despite the fact that these Sisters were in charge of a stable society, the foreign men went against their parents-in-laws rule-of-law.
“….It is said that while holding a superior position in the community, the women became domineering and ruthless fighters. They also practiced polyandry. And, through sexual jealousy, many men were put to death for committing adultery or other minor offences. Besides the capital punishment, the men were subject to all kinds of humiliations and injustice. Men were indignant at the way in which the women treated them, and in their indignation they planned to revolt against the women’s administration of justice. But as the women were physically stronger than the men of that time, and also better fighters, it was decided that the best time for a successful revolt would be during the time when the majority of women especially their leaders, were in pregnancy.”
This is just page 6 of a thesis.
The anger is palpable. Johnstone Kamau aka Jomo Kenyatta, was a furious author:-
“…yet at the beginning, Mogai told Gikuyu that whenever he was in need, he should make a sacrifice and raise his hands towards Kere-Nyaga or the Mountain of Mystery, and the Lord of Nature will come to his assistance”
Gikuyu’s son’s in laws and male grand-children thought otherwise on the raising of hands, the issue of sacrifice, or of facing Kere-Nyaga. They broke the rules and took matters into their own hands – a matter which later proved to be disastrous.
“… the decision was hailed by the men who were very anxious to overthrow the rule of the opposite sex…” Note that Moombi is now not called as Mogai called her – ‘Creator and Moulder’ but as an ‘opposite’– an – ‘other’ translates as ‘conflicting, contradictory and contrary’. These names were meant to degenerate her entire being, for a woman gives of herself both the physical and spiritual self.
Rather than the Kikuyu men being ‘thankful’ towards the kind treatment from their parents in-law and the daughters, or turning to Mogai as Gikuyu the founder of the tribe had been ordered to do by Mogai himself, the men turned ugly and jealous. Remember too, that none of the son-in-laws were the blood of either Gikuyu and Moombi, but ‘handsome? strangers’ who were welcomed and requested to marry the daughters. In truth, these son in laws wanted the lands and material property that had been given to their wives, as their own.
Derogatory name-calling & The Beginning of a Curse*
(A curse is not just to “throw words”. It is an actionable deed where the receiver receives no settlement, peace or stability in life – it is being separate from contentment, and is the creation of pain.)
In order to deprive or steal from a good and moral person there is a practice of demoralization. Always the person is de-humanized. The disparaging effect is a psychological tool practiced during colonization and slavery – which are the exact same methodology known as capitalism, for capitalism cannot exist outside of either colonialism or slavery, it is a symbiotic relationship – and consists of turning a person into an ‘other’ – an ‘object’ – a ‘thing’. A derogatory name. The real curse of using demeaning words is that the victim can start to believe that they are fundamentally wrong. They can start to believe that they have less value in the society than the person who is slurring their names. In other words, a victims very sense of self is shattered by the words and actions of others. Once shattered, it is easy to further degrade them, and once degraded, they do not have the moral energy to rebuild themselves.
The Kikuyu male and the Kenyan man
Has the male culture of a single tribe spilled over from a small section to an entire country? Yes, for in many ethnic groupings around Kenya, men are more often than not, gentle towards the feminine form.
Yet today in the cities we have many of us both male and female, noted with concern that the Kenyan man ‘describes’ himself in the terms of the world, by a certain ‘kikuyu-ness’. He is ridiculed by the Kikuyu man if he shows affinity towards his females and while it rubs off on many non-kikuyu males as offensive, it has alas, been named as the epitome of Kenyan man through peer pressure, non stop publicity, literature and ‘advertising’. The Kikuyu Man, is a brand.
When they get together, many men resort to (name-calling) their Moombies as ‘slay queens, bitches, or ‘the opposite sex’, etc. Yet away from the city, women are honored – this is a tactic that announces in a dishonest form that ‘women are not only inferior to men, but that in their inferior-ness, they are in competition to men’ – and that this attitude is not welcomed by the men. In other words, dare raise above me and I shall beat you down – this messaging is conveyed to women in Kenya daily. They are informed that their very natural independence and their biological gifting that was ignited to them by Mogai, is wicked, sinful and iniquitous.
Things Fall Apart
By page 7 of Facing Mount Kenya, the political narrative has already been introduced and readers can began to decipher how ‘things fall apart’ within the Kikuyu Society, for in his story Jomo Kenyatta unwittingly leads us to some political truths of this tribe, to the character and to the personality of the Kikuyu male.
“…the decision was hailed by the men who were very anxious to overthrow the rule of the opposite sex. At once the men held a secret meeting in which they arranged a suitable date to execute their plan. On the day appointed to carry out the initial stage of the revolt, the men started to act enthusiastically. They embarked on a campaign to induce the women leaders and a majority of their brave followers to have sexual intercourse with them. The women were unfortunately deceived by the flattery of the men, and blindly agreed to their inducements without knowing the wicked plans the men had made to overthrow the women’s rule. The men, after completing the first act, quietly waited for the results. After six moons had elapsed the men then saw clearly that their plan had materialized. At once they organized into groups and finally carried out the revolt without much resistance. For the brave women were almost paralysed by the condition in which they were. The men triumphed, took over the leadership in the community and became the heads of their families instead of the women. Immediately steps were taken to abolish the system of polyandry and to establish the system of polygamy…”
The Curse of A Role Reversal
“The men also decided to change the original name of their tribe, as well as the names of the clans which were given under the matriarchal system to new ones under the patriarchal system. They succeeded in changing the name of the tribe from Rorerer wa Mbari ya Moombi to Rorerer wa Gikuyu (i.e. Gikuyu nation or the Children of Gikuyu). But when it came to the changing of the clan names, the women were very infuriated and strongly decided against the change, which they looked upon as a sign of ingratitude on the part of the men. The women frankly told the men that if they dared to eliminate the names which stood as a recognition that the women were the original founders of the clan system, the women would refuse to bear anymore children. And to start with, they would kill all the male children who were born as a result of the treacherous plan of the revolt..”
I have read many a book on anthropology, and this one is particularly strange. What I did not know at 11 and what I know now is that Jomo wrote it more as a political argument that early on, begins with the negation of the female. Jomo Kenyatta wrote this book in his 45th year, and nobody was, or has been allowed to critique it – well, no one in Kenya, and no female of this “tribe”. Critiques were called dissidents and traitors, kidnapped, tortured and assassinated. Many writers fled Kenya – and it has therefore been forced on a Kikuyu population and the world at large at its face value for over 80 years.