Akhenaten and the Kikuyu People of Kenya

Comparison of Akhenaten and a Kikuyu Male

Image of Akhenated in a pony tail (Kurt Lange 1968)
Image of Akhenated in a ponytail (Kurt Lange 1968)
Kikuyu male in a pony tail (Routledge 1910)
Kikuyu male in a pony tail (Routledge 1910)

Updated 4th Feb 2013

This post will show that Akhenaten had some influence in Kikuyu culture, language and religion. The Kikuyu live in Central Kenya, making up 20% of the total Kenyan population. Their myth of origin does not include Egypt but evidence points in that direction as will be shown in this hub.

Before we go into details, here are some signs in the language that indicate this influence.

1. The kikuyu say TENE to mean long ago. There is also a bygone era known as TENE NA AGU.

2. the founder of the tribe was called Gĩkũyũ or TENE. According to Kenyatta in his treatise on the Kikuyu, a grandchild of Gĩkũyũ, was overthrown due to his dictatorship tendencies.

3. The Kikuyu term for a Kind person is MUTANA and a mean person is MUKARE. MU is a prefix denoting a person or object with a spirit. In my interpretation, Akhenaten (TENE, TANA) was kind while his co-regent Smenkhare (KARE) was perceived to be mean.

4. There is reason to believe that a pharaoh was also called a 'Sycamore' tree. This is a fig and the word Gĩkũyũ (Kikuyu) means the great fig tree.Therefore, the founder of the tribe was the Great Fig.

5. From ethnographic material on the Kikuyu, I have gathered that there was a ceremony performed every 30 years called 'Ituika'. Just like the Hebsed in Egypt, the term translates to 'the becoming.' Egyptologists have given the same meaning to 'Hebsed'

A study of the Kikuyu Hebsed indicates to me that there were nine (9) fixed names for each 30 year period in 270 years. When arranged in chronology, the last name is MWANGI. When you break down the two syllables, you get MWA and NGI. Mwa stands for 'OF'.

I have interpreted NGI to be the ANKH in the name TUT-ANKH-Amen, since TUT and AMEN are a prefix and a suffix. THe root is ANKH.

In the same vein, one of the names in the chronology is MATHATHI which would mean 'of Thothmes' and another one is MAINA - of Amun.

From the foregoing, it is clear that a study of Kikuyu culture and language can help Egyptologists unravel some of the riddles in hieroglyphics and other codes in Egyptology.

Here is a word that indicates that Kikuyu language has a link with the religion of Akhenaten.

KIRIRA is the word for religion. The syllables are KIRI (it has) RA (ra - ancient god).

MBIRIRA is the word for a grave. literally, the ground has RA. This would have been the case if a pharaoh was buried since he was deemed to be God in a human body - a manifestation of RA.

Where do you find the Kikuyu?

The Kikuyu, an agricultural community lives in central Kenya. Today, they all wear modern clothing, speak English and may look no different from an African American.

Kenya which bestrides the Equator, according to Ojany (Ogot, ed. 1980) has a landmass of 569253 km. As an East African state, Kenya shares the waters of Lake Victoria with Uganda and Tanzania. This lake is the source of the White Nile, which is the main tributary of river Nile - the lifeline of ancient and modern Egypt. While a cultural link has been denied as seen in the hub, "Falsification of AFrica's History http://hubpages.com/hub/Falsification-of-Africas-history, Kenya and Egypt are linked geographically. The other major tributary of the Nile, the Blue Nile, has its source in Lake Tana, in the Ethiopian highlands. Historian Prof. Mutu wa Gethoi who was interviewed by this writer, said that his own respondents in earlier researches mentioned Abyssinia (Ethiopia) as a place of origin which is corroborated by respondents of Muriuki (1974), and Kabeca’s undated thesis on the Embu. My own research indicates that the Kikuyu sojourned in Ethiopia for a while in the Kuyu Woreda where Lake Tana is found after departure from Egypt.

The Great Rift Valley runs through Kenya into Tanzania, forming one of the most important features of the Region. Some of the important Kenyan prehistoric sites within the Rift Valley are Lake Turkana, Kariandusi, Gamble’s cave and Olduvai gorge (Ogot, ed. 1980). Some rock art was sighted on Mount Elgon and the Turkana areas (Ogot, ed.1980). It is probable that the Rift Valley offered a natural ‘highway’ for migrating peoples to and from the North of Africa.

The earliest known Stone Age tools in the world were discovered in Kenya in 1969 by Richard Leakey at Koobi Fora, east of Lake Turkana (formerly Rudolf) in Kenya. They were dated at 2.61 million years old, using the Potassium Argon method (Ogot, ed. 1980). A National Geographic study on DNA (Hillary Mayell (January 21, 2003), National Geographic News, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/12/1212_021213_journeyofman_2.html) has implied that genetic evidence shows that all of mankind came from East Africa. This firmly establishes East Africa as the cradle of Mankind.

Kenya has 42 communities the majority of whom are classified as Bantus. Two more classifications are Nilotes and Cushites in the west and north East respectively. Of these 42 communities (irrespective of their classifications) it is only the Luo and Turkana who do not practice circumcision (and the only Nilotes in Kenya not to perform the rite). The Maasai, Turkana and Kalenjin among others practice the rite. When Father Cagnolo (1933) recognised the importance of circumcision to the Kikuyu, he made a comparison with the Egyptians but was quick to add that “The Egyptians deemed it to be simply a distinguishing mark of the ‘Retu’ - The Egyptians from other … peoples”. While downplaying the coincidence, he supplied another clue - that a circumcised girl in Kikuyu is a Mũiretu, which is a compound word - and Iretu the second morpheme being similar to the Egyptian word retu. is a suffix to personify first class nouns of things with a spirit (Leakey 1989). Girls then and not boys were associated with an inclusive term to mean belonging to Egypt or being of an ‘Egyptian kind’. According to Middletone and Kershaw (1965), Boys were called Muma (a word that signified ‘those who had come out’) upon circumcision and thereafter, ‘anake.’ As is apparent, it is a compound word that can be broken down to the following morphs: Ana –children, Ake- belonging to him/ her. Pehaps ana is an archaic form of the current ciana – plural for children.

The language is GiGĩkũyũ, but as Muriuki (1974) rightly observed, the anglicised form of Kikuyu for the language and people has “gained wide currency in modern usage.” Kikuyu will be in reference to the people but Gĩkũyũ will be used to refer to the language or the mythical father of the tribe. The root in the words Gĩkũyũ (the people) GĩGĩkũyũ (the language), mũkũyũ (fig tree) is kũyũ.

The first letters in each word are prefixes. Since there has not been any dispute among scholars that the Kikuyu derive their name from the fig tree, I have concluded that the fig tree was called kũyũ in ancient times, including in Ancient Egypt.

The Ndia, Embu, Mbeere, Gichugu and the Tharaka, Chuka and Ameru sub tribes are assumed to be Kikuyu by this writer and to have subscribed to a Kikuyu state in the distant past. Mutu wa Gethoi, a cultural historian, agrees with the proposition that the above are Kikuyu. He however believes that only the Ndia, Chuka and Gichugu may be included with absolute certainty, the rest having developed an identity that may cause them to resist association with the Kikuyu. One reason for this resistance was the choice of the Kikuyu dialect by missionaries and administrators as the ‘standard’ form of Kikuyu to communicate state and biblical matters to all Mount Kenya peoples. For purposes of clarity, the Ameru will be frequently referred to as a distinct subgroup of the Kikuyu due to the importance of their version of the migration from a mythical place called Mbwaa. Their account is more believable from a historical point of view than the creation story of ‘Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi’ narrated within the Kikuyu ‘tribe.’ The Ki-meru language (of the Ameru) in particular is intelligible but slightly different from Kikuyu when compared to Embu for instance.

Middleton and Kershaw (1965), including Leakey (1977) differentiate between Kikuyu sub-tribes (Ndia, Embu, Mbeere and Gichugu, The Tharaka, Chuka, and Meru- Tigania, Igembe, Imenti, Miutini, Igoji, Mwimbi, Muthambi.) and Kikuyu proper – those from Murang’a, Kiambu and Nyeri. They seem to be all connected “in physical, character culture and language…Their social organization is similar…” to that of the Kikuyu (Middleton and Kershaw 1965, p. 11). Indeed, where Middleton is not sure about the nature of one rite or the other regarding the sub-tribes, whom he has labeled “northern tribes”, he assumes what is known about the Kikuyu to be true for all of them. He therefore highlights only the differences.

The Kikuyu were neighbours of the Maasai and had some practices in common such as the war regiments. The Kikuyu regiments were divided into two; a right hand Tatane called in Maasai Tatene” and a left hand - Gitienye, called in Maasai Kedianye (Muriuki G, 1974). Mwaniki Kabeca on the other hand stated that Tigania were known to the chuka and a few other neighbours “either wholly or in part as ‘kiriene’ or ‘kiriene’ (Kabeca nd), people of the left.

Is Tatane (Tatene) related in any way to Akhenaten?

Is Kiriene (Kadianye) related in any way to Akhenaten's co-regent Smenkhare.

It should be noted that the reigning pharaoh lived on the Eastern side of the Nile (right side if you face the map of Africa with Egypt at the top. The Funerary priests lived on the Western side (left side), and i suspect that Smenkhare was a high priest and head of funerary matters, a sort of Laibon. It would make practical sense therefore to recruit soldiers distinctly for the East (right - Tatene) and the West (Left - Kiriene). Coming to Kenya from the North will however make the west your rigtht hand. That is the side the Meru claim to have come from except the Tigania.

The main Kikuyu myth of origin

Kenyatta (1938), Cagnolo (1933), and Gathigira (1933) have all narrated the story of Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi. It is a story that was told to every Kikuyu child in the past as part of the tribe’s history. God made Gĩkũyũ and placed him near Mount Kenya at a place called Mũkũrwe wa Gathanga. God saw that he was lonely and gave him a wife, Mũmbi. Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi were blessed with nine daughters, but no sons. The daughters’ names, arranged from the eldest to the youngest were as follows: Wanjirũ, Wambũi, Njeri, Wanjikũ, Nyambũra, Wairimũ, Waithĩra, Wangarĩ, and the last one was Wangũi (Leakey 1977). There was a tenth daughter (who was not mentioned by Leakey) who according to tradition was not counted due to an incestuous relationship. Evidence from Egypt indicates that a 'father Daughter' sexual relationship within the ruling class was acceptable.

The daughters of Gĩkũyũ were always said to be ‘nine and the fill’ perhaps to imply that the tenth daughter was known but was unmentionable. The Kikuyu were averse to counting people to the exact number because it was believed that a curse would befall them.

Gĩkũyũ had to sacrifice to god (Mwene Nyaga or Ngai) to get husbands for the daughters. In a folk story collected by Cagnolo (1933) entitled “daughter of the Son”, it is implied that Kikuyu men could make a decision to go out and raise their status by marrying the daughter of the Sun.

Sixty youths of a certain village heard one day that no girl in the world was as beautiful as the daughter of the sun. – If we do not obtain her for our own, they said, we shall always be degenerate sons of the stock of ichagatae.

Mr.Waweru, who joined his maker in 2010 aged about 85years gives the meaning of Ichagatae as "those who lack."

Each of these nine daughters bore children and their children intermarried. The fact that these intermarriages are not remembered as incestuous may imply that the daughters were not biological siblings in the real sense. Gradually as the people increased, the original daughters of Mũmbi were accepted as the founders of the nine clans of the Kikuyu people (with the tenth as stated above being implied and not mentioned). Without giving details, Leakey states that there are traditions among the Kikuyu that show that the tribe was originally matrimonial.

I have collected other myths of origins which you can read in the hub < http://hubpages.com/hub/Kikuyu-Other-myths-of-Origin >.

Three different lists of the Daughters of Mũmbi

Leakey’s list of Gĩkũyũ’s daughters also gives the names of the clans derived from them. There are variations to this list in Nyeri as noted by Routledge (1910) and Gathigira (1933). Below are three slightly differing lists of the daughters of Mũmbi. In Routledge’s list, only the clan is given because the girl who headed the clan can be identified by the clan name. However his list goes up to thirteen, which is unique to him and from what is generally accepted, he erred. Routledge’s odd spelling of some words has also been retained.

Leakey’s list from the first born to the last born

1.Wanjirũ - Anjirũ

2. Wambũi - Ambũi

3. Njeri - Aceera

4. Wanjikũ - Anjiku

5. Nyambura - Ambura or Ethaga

6. Wairimũ - Airimũ or Agathigia or Aicakamũyũ

7. Waithĩra - Athirandũ

8. Wangarĩ- Angarĩ or Aithe-Kahuno

9. Wangũi - Angũi or Aithiegeni

Gathigira’s list of clans

1. Wanjirũ - Anjirũ

2. Wambũi - Ambũi

3. Wanjeri - Aceera

4. Wanjuku (probably a spelling mistake for Wanjikũ) - Agacikũ

5. Wambura - Ethaga or Akiuru

6. Wairimũ - Agathigia (Airimũ)

7. Wangeci - Aithĩrandũ

8. Wangarĩ - head of the Angarĩ or Aithe Kahuno clan

9. Wangũi - Aithiegeni

10. Wamũyũ - Aicakamũyũ

It is significant here that the meaning of the 10th clan is 'of the spirit.' Not like the rest who are human. Kenyatta infered that Gĩkũyũ, the founder formed the tenth clan. Note that the English word for TEN and the Kikuyu word TENE for long ago may have the same root. The English word AGO and the kikuyu word AGO (meaning diviner priest) may also have the same root.

Routledge’s List of clans

1. Anjirũ

2. Ambũi

3. Achera

4. Agachiku

5. Ethaga

6. Airimu

7. Aizerandu

8. Angari – Aithe Kahuno

9. Angui

10. Akiuru – Mwesaga - Mburu

11. Aichakamuyu

12. Agathigia

13. Aiziegeni

It is clear that Routledge mixed up the clans by not taking into consideration that some had more than one name. For example, Aitheigeni and Angoi are one clan.

Kikuyu Religion

The word religion is used here in the western sense of a theology. To the Kikuyu, religion was not a separate aspect of Kikuyu life. Every action by a member had religious significance. There were no atheists and everything a Kikuyu did or did not do had an impact on his relationship with the other tribesmen, god, and spirits of the ancestor.

Most writers agree that the Kikuyu were monotheists. The Kikuyu believed that God lived on sacred mountains. There were other sacred mountains besides Mount Kenya. - Kinangop in the Nyandarwa (Aberdares), Kiambiruiru and the Longonot crater. See Leakey (1977) for details on Kikuyu religious beliefs.

Ngai is the word for god including an apparently archaic form, Mũrungu. Mũrungu is a compound word – Mũ and Rungu. is the prefix belonging to class one nouns for an object with a spirit as outlined by Leakey (1959) above, and rungu means “under.” This is probably a word with the same origins as the Kiswahili, Mungu for God. God was also called “Mwene-Hinya…owner of power,” or Mwene-Nyaga” which Leakey (1977) confesses is “owner of brightness” and not “owner of ostrich” as he had assumed before.The deity was also called Baba - father. Tate (1904) reckons that the Kikuyu have three gods; one for cattle, goats and riches; another for good wives and healthy children and a third bad one, who brings illness, death or war. The first of the gods is stated by Tate (1904) to be the supreme deity. According to Stanley Gathigira (1986) there was a good God and a bad one. God had a duality - a good and bad; male and female. They also believed that he dwelt on fig trees where “sacrifices are made to him, and His power is manifested in the sun, moon, stars, rain and rainbow, lightning and thunder” (Middleton and Kershaw 1965).

The Kikuyu did not have a priesthood in the Western sense. However the mũndũ mũgo, (mũgwe in Meru) played a role that also covered the duties of a priest. The Kikuyu saying that (Gutirĩ kĩrĩra gĩtarĩ mũndũ mũgo wakĩo) “there is no kĩrĩra. (religion) that does not have its mũndũ mũgo” (priests) confirms this.

Look at the word kĩrĩra again. It appears to be a compound word kĩrĩ-ra (It has RA). RA was the name for Sun God in Egypt. Many Gods were 'solarised' by prefixing them With RA (AmunRA, AtenRA, etc.

Did the Kikuyu concept of religion have the sun god RA in ancient times?

Leakey differentiated the Mũkũyũ - Ficus sycamora, from the Mũgumo, which he has identified as ‘Ficus natalensis’. Both the above trees are sacred to the Kikuyu, but according to Leakey, where a Mũkũyũ was available, it was preferred for commune with god ‘Ngai’. The Mũgumo tree could also be used as a ‘peace tree.’ In Francis Hall’s biography (King and Salim, ed. 1971) Francis Hall and chief Kinyanjui planted “two limbs” of a Mũgumo tree, tied together with wire to symbolise their bond in a peace treaty. Middleton and Kershaw (1965, p. 62) are of the opinion that the Mũkũyũ was a Maasai guild preference while the Kikuyu preferred a Mũtamaiyũ.I have since found out that the Olive tree was sacred to women and was seen as a female sacred tree. Leakey (1959) translates the Mũtamaiyũ as a wild Olive.

Due to the close association between the Maasai and the Kikuyu, the Kikuyu followed two traditions during important rites like circumcision and marriage. These traditions were referred to as Maasai guild and Kikuyu guilds (Muriuki 1974). Membership was hereditary but one could perform certain rituals to leave ones guild for another. There were minor variations to the procedures followed in the rites depending on which guild one belonged to. Strangers adopted by the Kikuyu were expected to follow the Maasai guild and could not leave it to enter the Kikuyu guild.

Death and the disposal of the dead

It was a great transgression for a member of the Kikuyu tribe to touch a corpse. In the biography of Francis Hall (King Kenneth, ed., 1971- Kenya Historical Biographies 1971 edited by Kenneth King and Ahmed Salim), he (Hall) had to bury victims of disease himself because custom did not allow Kikuyu to touch corpse’s. The dead were disposed off in the bush and the person who touched the corpse stayed in seclusion for seven days before purification rites were performed on him. From Leakey’s description below, there were exceptions.

After death, Leakey states that those who had children even if the children had all died were accorded respect during funeral rites that culminated in “a full Gũkũra ceremony… which meant among other things that the spirit achieved a status which it would not have had otherwise.”

Contrary to the belief that the Kikuyu threw all deceased to hyenas, a person of means was accorded a burial. The dead body was taken out to a burial ground called a kĩbĩrĩra (Leakey 1977, p. 989). Leakey continues that “In every case, the body had to be carefully wrapped up, with legs and hands in the sleeping position, and placed in the kĩbĩrĩra facing the homestead.” Leakey described it as an expensive affair in view of all the rites that had to be paid for in goats and rams.

About thirty jackal skeletons were found in Amarna, the site of Akhenaten's capital. This may imply that the common Egyptian who could not afford to build a tomb for himself and family was disposed off by the domesticated jackals. The Kikuyu may have carried over this tradition using the more abundant hyena instead.

Kũmama is an archaic word that means ‘to sleep’. Since the corpse was placed in a sleeping position, it therefore became a kĩ-mami – ‘lifeless thing that sleeps’. Note resemblance of this word to the word mummy which is used for ancient Egyptian bodies.

Where does Akhenaten feature in all this?

· Note that the Kikuyu say TENE to mean long ago. This is the suffix in Akhenaten’s name.

· The originator of the tribe was called – Gĩkũyũ (the big fig tree) and was also known as TENE. Akhenaten was also refered to as a FIG as were other male pharaohs.

· The largest river in Kenya is called the TANA – likely to be a suffix from Akhenaten’s name.

· Akhanaten had a do-regent, Smenkhare. In Kimeru, a dialect of the Kikuyu, they say KARE to mean long ago. This is the Suffix in the name Smenkhare.

· Mutumwaya was a female relative of Akhhenaten – Mutamaiyu in Kikuyu is an Olive tree. The Olive tree was sacred in ancient Egypt, and Just like among the Kikuyu, it was the ‘female’ sacred tree. The Fig tree was the male sacred tree to both communities.

The Kikuyu had a ceremony that took place every thirty years – so did the Egyptians with their HEBSED. It is likely as I will show later that the Kikuyu HEBSED was a continuation of the ancient Egyptian one.

The Hebsed Festival

Sometimes called a jubilee by Egyptologists the Hebsed festival was celebrated every thirty years. A similarity is apparent between the Egyptian Hebsed and the Kikuyu Ituĩka.

Petrie (1924) believed that the ceremony was cyclical with fixed dates that were determined by the observation of the star called Sirius (Alpha Canis Majoris’).

The Egyptian calendar had 360 days, which made their months shift every leap year. The star Sirius ensured that their religious events did not shift. The Egyptians had noticed that Sirius, which they called Sothis, made its first appearance of the season in the twilight before sunrise at about the time when the Nile’s flood began to make an appearance at the delta. All green things apart from the flood were therefore credited to Sothis their creator, (Encyclopaedia Britannica 1988).

Also called the Dog Star, it was the brightest in the sky and rose at about the time of the festivals. In a King’s long reign, the festival may have been celebrated twice but only once in a reign spanning slightly over thirty years. Petrie (1924) gives the reign of Tutankhamen as an example. Tutankhamen reigned for only nine years, yet it is recorded that a feast of thirty years took place in his reign. The star reappears exactly 365.25 days after the last appearance. Egyptian tradition expected the Nile flood to start around “19 July of the Julian calendar” which was about the time when star Sirius was seen for the first time in a year, just before sunrise. These two events - the sighting and the flooding marked the beginning “New Year’s Day” (Save-Soderbergh 1987). The Egyptians used the star to regulate their calendar. They had discovered that an extra four days needed to be added to their 360 days that resulted from a 12-month year with 30 days per month.

According to the Encyclopaedia Americana (1988), more than 10,000 years ago, a calendar with 12 months of 30 days each went into use with 360 days in a year. Around 4000 BC, an extra 5 days were added to the end of each year. This recovered the lost days except one ¼ . After every four years, a full day was lost this vague year which meant that a “holiday with a fixed date (such as New Year’s day) had to make a complete cycle of the seasons over a period of nearly 15 centuries…4 times 365.25 or 1,461 years.”

The Egyptian lunar calendar caused religious events to fall on different months after a number of years.

In the 18th year of Pepy I; the 2nd year of Mentuhotep II; the 16th year of Hatshepsut; the 33rd year of Thothmes III and the 2nd year of Merenptah, the festivals were celebrated with astronomical accuracy as recorded on the monuments (Petrie1924), which implies a departure from reliance on the lunar calendar.

It is assumed that feasting, dance and music followed this festival. Giles (1970) states that the depiction of a King in a bull’s tail was evidence of a Hebsed. Petrie further attributes the origin of this feast to the reign of King Menes at the beginning of dynastic rule in 3118 BC (Millard 1981). Collier (1970) conjectured that the festival was a ritual re-enactment of the death of a senile king who was replaced by his son. It appears to this researcher that the Hebsed and the Ituĩka of the Gĩkũyũ served the same purpose - to signify the handing over of power to a new generation. The Kikuyu ceremony when translated into English means ‘becoming’, or ‘being’. Hebsed has been translated on the Internet as ‘the appearing’ ( www.angelfire.com).

Petrie was so certain of the Hebsed’s regularity to the point of predicting that reference to the festivals of Sety I and Ramesses II will one day be found in an inscription somewhere.

One Hebsed is recorded in the tomb of Tutankhamen as having taken place in the month of Mysore. In my hub titles 'Akhenaten changed the world,' < http://hubpages.com/hub/Akhenaten-changed-the-world >I have theorized that it is very likely that departure from Egypt took place in that month. In any case, another Hebsed during the reign of Ramesses took place in the same month - Mysore. Was Moses called so because he deaprted from Egypt during the reign of Ramesses (RA - Moses)? Did the Month of Mysore cause mysery to the Kikuyu and the Israelites? Consider the following:

Maithori - Tears in Kikuyu

Machozi - Tears in Kiswahili

Mysery - Tearful situations as expressed in English (it is likely that 'Mystery' is from the same root.)

Mizraim - The nation of Egypt in hebrew

Misri - The nation of Egypt in Turkish Kiswahili and many African languages.

The Ituĩka ‘power handing over ceremony’

In the Kikuyu political system, an entire age set was in power. This is unlike the western concept of government where one person is the supreme leader, with power passing on to a progeny, in the case of a monarchy, or an elected person, in the case of a democracy. When power changed hands, it changed from one retiring generation to a junior one. The ceremony in which this took place was called an Ituĩka. Each ruling generation ruled for a period between thirty and forty years before relinquishing power (Kenyatta 1938). A generation was either a Maina or a Mwangi. If the one in power was a Mwangi, then the next one was a Maina. These two names remained in rotation in spite of there being a list of nine names that were cyclical as will be shown below. Maina could also be called Irungu (Kenyatta 1938).Note the similarity between the word Irungu and Murungu (god).

town).


Where does Akhenaten feature in all this?

· Note that the Kikuyu say TENE to mean long ago. This is the suffix in Akhenaten’s name.

· The originator of the tribe was called – Gikuyu (the big fig tree) and was also known as TENE. Akhenaten was also referred to as a FIG as were other male pharaohs.

· The largest river in Kenya is called the TANA – likely to be a suffix from Akhenaten’s name.

· Akhanaten had a do-regent, Smenkhare. In Kimeru, a dialect of the Kikuyu, they say KARE to mean long ago. This is the Suffix in the name Smenkhare.

· Mutumwaya was a female relative of Akhhenaten – Mutamaiyu in Kikuyu is an Olive tree. The Olive tree was sacred in ancient Egypt, and Just like among the Kikuyu, it was the ‘female’ sacred tree. The Fig tree was the male sacred tree to both communities.

The Kikuyu had a ceremony that took place every thirty years – so did the Egyptians with their HEBSED. It is likely as I will show later that the Kikuyu HEBSED was a continuation of the ancient Egyptian one.

The Hebsed Festival

Sometimes called a jubilee by Egyptologists the Hebsed festival was celebrated every thirty years. A similarity is apparent between the Egyptian Hebsed and the Kikuyu Ituĩka.

Petrie (1924) believed that the ceremony was cyclical with fixed dates that were determined by the observation of the star called Sirius (Alpha Canis Majoris’).

The Egyptian calendar had 360 days, which made their months shift every leap year. The star Sirius ensured that their religious events did not shift. The Egyptians had noticed that Sirius, which they called Sothis, made its first appearance of the season in the twilight before sunrise at about the time when the Nile’s flood began to make an appearance at the delta. All green things apart from the flood were therefore credited to Sothis their creator, (Encyclopaedia Britannica 1988).

Also called the Dog Star, it was the brightest in the sky and rose at about the time of the festivals. In a King’s long reign, the festival may have been celebrated twice but only once in a reign spanning slightly over thirty years. Petrie (1924) gives the reign of Tutankhamen as an example. Tutankhamen reigned for only nine years, yet it is recorded that a feast of thirty years took place in his reign. The star reappears exactly 365.25 days after the last appearance. Egyptian tradition expected the Nile flood to start around “19 July of the Julian calendar” which was about the time when star Sirius was seen for the first time in a year, just before sunrise. These two events - the sighting and the flooding marked the beginning “New Year’s Day” (Save-Soderbergh 1987). The Egyptians used the star to regulate their calendar. They had discovered that an extra four days needed to be added to their 360 days that resulted from a 12-month year with 30 days per month.

According to the Encyclopaedia Americana (1988), more than 10,000 years ago, a calendar with 12 months of 30 days each went into use with 360 days in a year. Around 4000 BC, an extra 5 days were added to the end of each year. This recovered the lost days except one ¼ . After every four years, a full day was lost this vague year which meant that a “holiday with a fixed date (such as New Year’s day) had to make a complete cycle of the seasons over a period of nearly 15 centuries…4 times 365.25 or 1,461 years.”

The Egyptian lunar calendar caused religious events to fall on different months after a number of years.


References

1. Cagnolo, C.,1933, The Akikuyu, Their customs, Traditions and Folklore, Mission Printing school, Nyeri.

2. Collier, J., 1970, In search of Akhenaten ,Ward Lock Limited - London

3. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1988, 15th edition

4. Gathigira, S. K., 1933, Miikarire ya Agikuyu, this edition - 1986 by Scholars Publication (town not stated).

5. Giles, F. J., 1970,Ikhnaton: Legend and History,Hutchinson, London.

6. Hobley C.W, 1922,Bantu beliefs and magic,H.F.&G Witherby (publishers) London.

7. Kabeca, M. A., (n.d.)Pre-colonial History of the Chuka of Mount Kenya c1400 - 1908. Dalhousie university, n.p.

8. Kenyatta, J., 1938,Facing Mount Kenya,Kenway Publications, Nairobi.

9. King, K. and Salim A., 1971, Kenya Historical Biographies, East African Publishing House, Nairobi.

10. Leakey L.S.B., 1977, The Southern Kikuyu before 1903, Vol I,II & III, Academic Press, London.

11. Middleton, J. & Kershaw G., 1965,The Central Tribes of the North-Eastern Bantu,(including the Embu, Meru, Mbere, Chuka. Mwimbi, Tharaka, and the Kamba of Kenya), International Africa Institute, London.

12. Millard, Anne, 1981, Ancient Egypt, Usborne Publishing, London.

13. Ogot, B.A., editor, 1974,Zamani, a Survey of East African History, East African Publishing House, Nairobi.

14. Ogot, B.A., editor, 1976,Kenya Before 1900, Eight Regional Studies, East African Publishing House, Nairobi.

15. Petrie, M, 1972, Amarna city of Akhenaten and Nefertiti , Department of Egyptology, University College, London.

16. Routledge, W. S., and Routledge K., 1910, With a Prehistoric People, the Akikuyu of British East Africa, Edward Anorld, London.

17. Tate, H. R., 1904, Further Notes on the Kikuyu Tribe of East Africa, Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, London

18. Unesco Courier, Feb/March- 1980, p. 20 –24, 70, Nubia unearthed, by Torgny Save- Soderbergh; p. 48 – 52, The mysteries of Isis and Osiris, by Francois Daumas, Published by UNESCO, Place de Fontenoy, Paris.

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Comments 44 comments

Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 21 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

Thanks Kanyi for sharing your thoughts. I suggest you read my hub on Kikuyu and a secret migration from Egypt - then we discuss your thesis further.

I also believe that if a modern government stops supporting education and also isolates itself from the rest of the world, illiteracy will inevitably follow.


Pheter Kanyi 21 months ago

Kariuki. I have enjoyed reading your articles on Kikuyus being from Egypt. Keep it up! Based on other historians and scientists work, the following might be true instead. That Egyptians came from Kikuyu ancestry. My thesis:

1. Kikuyus did not carry come with writing culture from Egypt. Moses did.

2. Dressing that you refer may have originated from Kikuyu culture not the other way round.

3. Kenya is the cradle of human. So its obvious the Egyptians migrated from Kenya.

4. The cultures that are similar may have been originally from Kikuyu. Only that they was no way of documenting because of lack of writing culture among Kikuyus.


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 2 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

Hi Muchugu,

We cannot be very sure about the order of birth, but Wanjiru as the first born is widely accepted. My own opinion is that Warigia was the last one. On the other hand, neighbours finding themselves near each other is just coincidence.


Muchugu 2 years ago

Thanks Kariuki for a study well done.I wish to get a clarification for the Gikuyu daughters.We are told that he had nine daughters 'Muihuru' a story where i come from (gaki) nyeri wamuyu (warigia) is said to have been the last daughter(10th).The other name for wamuyu is mumbi.it is said that she was Njeri's(waceera) daughter gikuyu raised her just like one of his daughters a practice that kikuyu families do to date.kindly confirm who was the eldest daughter is it wanjiru or njeri.We know that wanjjiku (wanjuku) was the second born). explore the fact that these daughters had more than one name.Mostly named from their traits.Njeri used to travel alot and in the process came back with a baby girl whose hair use to 'kumuya' it is said it used to look like the borana hair.wanjiku used to guchuka(gossip/back bite) the elder sister with the other sisters & the mother of course thus the name(wanjuku).this happens to date where kids fight to became more favourite to the parents especially kid no.1 & 2. I have also observed that Wambui & Wacheera were close friends.Every where you go in kikuyu land be it Nyeri,Muranga or kiambu you will realise that Acheera will always be neighbours with Ambui.


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 3 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

Hi Kinyanjui,

I have enjoyed reading your fresh ideas. You have introduced an interesting Sanskrit angle to the migration of the Kikuyu. I have wondered how some purely Bantu words have cognitives in European languages which are descended from Sanskrit. This is however radical and will need a dedicated researcher. I have alluded to your observation in My hub on Milk and the other one on - Homo Sapiens share a cradle of origin - I sugest you become the expert on the Sanskrit connection as I continue to grow my data on ancient Egypt. I wil however do some preliminary investigations with time.

Thanks for reading and the encouraging comments.


Kinyanjui John profile image

Kinyanjui John 3 years ago

Hi Emmanuel,

I must commend you for the wonderful work you are doing, researching and updating on the Kikuyu history according to your understanding.

I seek to contend however, about the Agikuyu relation to Akhenaten of Egypt, and to likewise share on some of the matters I have come to discover in regard to the secret history of the Agikuyu. To begin with, I should like to point you to look at Sanskrit as the language basis for which most of the lands of the Agikuyu is named, but not only these lands, but also all the lands of the world. Names such as Kiri-nyaga and Kilimanjaro both being Sanskrit for Mountain of purification and surrounded by barren ground respectively reveal more than any other association ever can. Ma-asai which means desirous of water, does describe largely the lands of the Ma-asai, as well as Ukavi name for these same people by the Agikuyu. Indeed, Kiambu means the source of flowing waters, as is really what this land is. And so on and so forth, to the minutest detail are all the land features of Kenya, and the rest of the world named in Sanskrit. having only made this observation some few weeks ago, I'm still enthralled by the same and have not had time yet to write on the same, and neither I'm I an accomplished writer as yourself, but what I discover to be of universal interest I cannot cling on foolishly.

Check up what Bhaga-thi, Sabaki and Kilima-m-bogo should mean in Sanskrit, and then check out Dhika and Chania, and in the process you may also check up Nai-robi, Nai-lu (Nile) and the Nai-ja and you certainly will be enthralled. From there, perhaps we can join forces and efforts in investigating further what the ityasa-thus it is said, and the ituika of the Agikuyu have in common, for we are in the time of the ityasa, that is according to the falling of the Mugumo of Nyeri about a few months back.

It is my humble observation that civilization and humanity began according to the Agikuyu mythology, for Gikuyu denotes the deep reaching searches of wisdom, and Mumbi is the Creator, and they two are one in marriage, which is the Omniscience Creator, who gives rise to the nine clans of men according also to the platos chariots anecdote. You can easily compare the attributes of the nine daughters of Gikuyu and Mumbi to the nine levels of the incarnation in the chariots narrative, the last daughter being the one who receives the wisdom of His father, hence the ambiguity of an 'incestuous' relation, and must come at the last. The Gikuyu myth is strongly supported in the naming of all the earth bin Sanskrit, as well as the lost meaning of many surnames among the Agikuyu.

I have posted some fragments of the similar information and readily willing to share to any address you may readily receive. In my view, the Akhenaten theory will fit in part of the broader narrative, for once humanity left the cradle of civilization and filled the rest of Earth, there were those that were left behind, and when threat of meaningless and savage war of destruction faced those who had lodged and established Egypt, they resolved to return to their motherland by way of the Nai-ja and the Kongo, which is the aspect historians capture, but forget that there had been an earlier history. But they likewise did accommodate the returnees. Those who followed the Nile are essentially the Nilotes, and the other that came through Ethiopia are the Cushites. We may not have had a written record, for so it was safer to hide our secrets, but our oral records have been passed on throughthe names of the land, and of the people, and all one needs to discover is the language base of the oral records, which in this case happens to be the oldest scientific language on earth.

Hope this much does interest your intelligence to follow up on.

Regards,

John


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

Gakondo, Your are right! Now when the evidence is still fresh. I will check your link and see what you have there. Thanks for your comment.


gakondo 4 years ago

Its time Africans researched and re-wrote their History!

http://gakondomedia.wordpress.com/2012/08/04/the-c...


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

marugu,

Thanks for yor comment. Scholars call all this 'conjecture,' but you agree it is food for thought.


marugu 4 years ago

Hi Kariuki.

These about Akhenaten and the Kikuyu intrigued me and had me do some slight research of my own. Now the Gikuyu call truth Ma. They also call mother Maitu(o). The Egyptians had a goddess called Ma'at (from Wikipedia-probably pronounced Mayet) but I beg to differ. Ma'at was a goddess a personification of truth and justice. Now when we say Maitu we are actually calling our mothers our truth. Ma'at and maitu would probably have the same root or be the same since they both refer to a female luminary


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

Thanks for yor contribution KingoriK.

I am offering an alternative etymology for 'mummy,' by suggesting that the reader 'notes.' Ochieng who writes in the Sunday Nation has consistently shown that some word histories which have been attributed to Latin can actually be traced to the Nile valley. Perhaps Mummy is one of them.


KingoriK 4 years ago

Interesting and thought provoking read.

However, you have a lot of un-researched assertions that need to be reigned in. eg. 'ki-mami' has nothing to do with mummy. Mummy comes from Latin word 'mumia', which was borrowed from Persian word 'mum' for bitumen (the black substance used in mummification)

Sometimes less is more. Do not succumb to the pressure that comes with defending your theory. All the same, much appreciate the article.


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

Jephrock gachie, thanks for your comment. I will be looking at your point of view more closely. I like thinking out of the box as you do.


Jephrock gachie 4 years ago

This z bcoz the kikuyu people are the true lost isralites who who were delivered from slavery by Moses and seeked the promised land bt never reached due to their disobediences.kikuyu is the true hebrew language verbal.we see mt.kenya to be a holy place bcoz t z da highest peak in kenya thus tha point God is closest to his people.there z a peak where no one can reach as stated by an old man who helpd hike the mountain since he was young.the secret z known bt kept hidden.ask y did queen elizabeth cme t vacate around mt.kenya,alxo prince charles,...


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

Hello Mbugua Kibera,

Thanks for your contribution. TAKE and ZION may be taken by many with a pinch of salt, but it is food for thought.


mbugua kibera 4 years ago from Nairobi

Nyaga means light/brightness in Kikuyu. SO MWENE NYAGA would mean... the owner of light/knowledge.

i have long refused this idea of 'owner of ostriches'.

it was made up by people who wanted to confuse others of this truth.


mbugua kibera 4 years ago from Nairobi

yes...thank you for this good work.

one thing...the whole of our family looks like Cushitic people. in fact my uncle from my mother's side looks like Lema Ayanu (General Mathenge). the word TAKE-in kikuyu means take.

in English you know what Take means.what about the name muchai in kikuyu and moshe in hebrew or moses in english?

what about zion in english and thayuini in kikuyu?


kabuchi 5 years ago

My friend.a kikuyu is always mistaken for a somali due to his looks! It is without a doubt that this thesis is completely true.....especially the fact that Kikuyu men and women have cushitic appearances and similarities in physique.skin colour.......etc


Jane Kimunga profile image

Jane Kimunga 5 years ago from United Kingdom - London

This gets better and better. Thanks again. Jane


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

Yes, we came from Egypt, long before the Christian era, sourjourned in Ethipia around or on an island in lake Tana probably up to to the Christian era, then trekked down to the Tana. Our people did not all come at once. They came in waves that sparned time that was long enough for some to speak Kimeru, Kiembu and the other dialects oround Mt. Kenya. Three places that a Kikuyu should visit before they go to their maker is Egypt at the temple of Hatshepsut (Makare), Lake Tana in Ethiopia and Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga near Mount Kenya.

To trace one's linieage across borders in Africa will be an uphill task. It is however possible for DNA investigations to tell which community in Ethiopia is genetially close to the Kikuyu's but I do not know who would fund such an exercise.


Jane Kimunga profile image

Jane Kimunga 5 years ago from United Kingdom - London

This is mind blowing stuff and I need to educate myself as as a Kikuyu. So you are saying that Kikuyus might have originally come from Egypt then down to Ethiopia? This is interesting because as a kikuyu; I have had few Ethiopians/Somalis mistake me to be one of them. Or maybe I am who knows after reading this?

How can one trace one's lineage?


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

CN, We can work on the timeline together.

But I can give you my ideas on the issue. The Egyptian society had an East Side (land of the rising sun, the living, the Pharaoh) and a West side (land of the setting sun, the pyramids, the dead and funerary caretakers). When a mass exodus took place, those on the West side would migrate southwards using a westerly route that could have taken them through Cameroon/Congo before veering East at the Great Lakes. The Akamba definitely took this route and wondered longer in the Tanganyika before veering northwards in several waves. The Meru also took this route. Their age set names – Gitangi iria, Mbaringo and Thamburu – is a pointer that they reached the great lake, then moved to lake Baringo, before encountering the Samburu. Not much has changed unless this was a later trip from the west.


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

Thanks Waringa. Am also learning from this interaction and your text requires that I do some more research. I don't know about the meaning of Kibata, but I have seen the Kiondo represented in Egypitian art, carried in the same Kikuyu manner - on the back. This research is still ongoing and I may be able to tell you more about the cooking stones. The trinity is something I have pondered over for a while.


CN 6 years ago

Interesting article.

Any ideas on how to reconcile the Kikuyu-Egyptian theory with the Kikuyu-Bantu migration from West Africa theory.

Particularly timeline-wise


Karo Waringa 6 years ago

This is deep stuff that you have here..having sttumbled on kikuyu cosmotology while doing a research on esotrik rituals (Reiki)..was amazed at the meaning os the cho ku ra..and its deeper meaning with the kikuyu kiondo and the kibata dance which had a cosmic meaning .. the cooking place itself as well with the three stones as a trinity as well and the spiritual meaning of the 9 mentioned daughters of mumbi and the 10th unmentioned daughter...however came across an article that argued that the candices of punt and cush...who were the rulers or queens of the people later came to colonise egypt and took over with them their religions and culture...some of the candices names also for me have as well a gikuyu meaning when brocken down would appreciate your feedback on this issue....

Kindest regards

Waringa


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

This is interesting. The second verse may allude to dispersed people southwards including the daughters of Akhenaten since my own theory is that Akhenaten's disappearance preceedes the 'Moses exodus.' However, from an academic point, it would be difficult to prove.


salamanda3 6 years ago

concerning language dversity,dispersing and the daughters of Akhenaten. Is there any realtion with this biblical verse?

Zephania 3:9 "For i will then restore pure speech to the peoples so that all of them may call on the name of yahweh (note Yahweh is the reported speech Moses spoke to explain THE I AM( God/Self existing), Bantu/swahili reported speech of THE I AM is Yeye huwa or YeHuwa.

Zephaniah 3:10 "From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia/cush, my supplicants,my dispersed people will bring an offering to me


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

Egypt was cosmopolitan. Imagine all those people with green cards in USA. All of them have a continent and specifically a country they can go back to, yet, currently they are all Americans. Egypt controlled vassals states in southern Europe, Palestine, Libya, Kush (the South) which included Punt and Amu (Lamu). All these vassal states paid annual tribute in produce (minerals, farm goods, wildlife) and human labour. After a specified period or perhaps good conduct, captives were freed and I suspect that the dethronement, death or forced retirement of a Pharaoh caused mass exodus as happened during the reigns of Mentuhotep (also called Ikara and Kitu) and Akhenaten. This happened over and over during the existence of Egypt. People would naturally head back to their ancestral homes only to find that they are now speaking a dialect of their former language. In my view, this is how Bantu languages diverged. I hope that explains about the Nilotes, Bantus and Jews having been neighbours in Egypt.


Mwana-Ke 6 years ago

//luounite.net/2009/04/luo-origins-and-history

I have accessed the above. Please comment on the relationship between the Luo(Nilotes), Kikuyu(Bantu) & Hebrews


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

Thanks Salamanda, we are on the same wavelength. While I do not deny the Abyssinian (Ethiopian) connection, it is but a later stage in ancient Kikuyu migration. There is the lake Tana in a province called Kuyu. The Ethiopians call the Kikuyu "Kuyu Kuyu." Any wonder then that the largest river is called Tana (thagana)?

The name Mutemwiya is rather interesting. It must have been a queen's title to mean 'the great Olive' since the Olive tree was a 'female' sacred tree in Egypt. Look up the Amarna letters where a text says 'the book of the Sycamore and the Olive', where the sycamore represented Akhenaten and the Olive (my interpretation) represented his queen. On the other hand, the Kikuyu had a tree 'mutamaiyo' that was sacred to women only. It turns out thaat Mutamiyo is an olive tree. This word is just a variation of Mutumiya - woman.

I suspect that the word "Atiriri" which is uttered in Kikuyu at the beginning of a sentence was from "Aten Ra RA", probably in the same way that saved people start by proclaiming that they love Jesus.

The word for religion in Kikuyu is "kirira" - it has RA


salamanda3 6 years ago

check on this

Egyptian...maat (justice goddess)

kikuyu.....maa itu (our truth/mother)

Egyptian...Nekhetet (salutation for overcoming)

kikuyu.....ne a hota (has overcome)

Egyptian...mutemwiya (honourable title for wife

of Pharaoh Thutmose IV.

Kikuyu....Mutumiya (respectable wife)

Egyptian...osiris (strength,powerful eye)

kikuyu....otheri (clear,great light)

egyptian...maa heru (true voice)

kikuyu....maa theru (clear truth)

Egyptian...khertet neter(divine place underground)

kikuyu.....hare na teri (place of earth/soil)


J Kariuki 6 years ago

Kikuyu as a people are very recent to compare with ancient Egypt. A better comparison would be with the Ethiopian Falashas and the Oromos (Borana), the latter have the equivalent of Ituika called the Gada.


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

I will be writing soon on Kikuyu names. Kanja seems to me to be a Nyeri short form for Karanja. Karanja is from Ka-ra- nja. A certain age set was so aflicted by disease that it spent a lot of time out in the sun. Kwara means to place on the ground. Nja means outside.


cd04 6 years ago

Excellent read. Keep up the great work.

From my limited knowledge of Kikuyu mythology, 'Nyaga' meant ice or snow, hence 'kiri-Nyaga' means "with ice", referencing Mt Kenya which in the old days had snow covered peaks.


Mugo 6 years ago

out of curiosity where did names like kanja, ngunyagi,kinyua, githagui, matonge, just to name a few, come from?


Laikanya 6 years ago

I take pleasure in all this


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

Wachira,

From my reading I have already concluded that Mwene Nyaga means 'Owner of brightness'. The Twinkling that happens in stars can be translated in Kikuyu as 'manyaganyaga.' This shows that the two words (Brightness and Twinkling) have the same semantic field. I failed to see any logic in God being the owner of ostriches as some scholars have suggested. It is just a coincidence that Nyaga, persons name also means ostrich. The idea of peaks also being 'nyaga' is new. Let me do some research and get back to you. One of the myths of origin of the Embu talks Nyaga as the first person to be made by God, therefore making God the owner of Nyaga.


Wachira 6 years ago

Kariuki,

Does 'mwene nyaga' really mean 'owner of brightness' or isn't it 'owner of the peaks'? After being intrigued for so long since childhood - I must add - about the ostrich stumble that Louis had made earlier, I listened out for any possible explanation how & why the Kikuyu God would be refreed to as 'owner of ostriches until some dunno too well where I read/ listened to a programme many years back stated that the proper Gikuyu name for peak (as in Mt Kenya peaks) is nyaga?

Do some research & would enjoy to have an informative exchange!

Enjoyed reading this!!


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

While I do not claim to be an expert on kikuyu traditions in their entirity, there was no divorce in the western sense, only separation. As long as the woman's family did not return the dowry paid for her by her husbands people, she remained his even if she cohabited with some else. Returning the dowry was an extreme measure and rarely took place. The man merely took on another wife or woves, while the first wife's children continued to depend on him as a father in all rituals that required him to do so. Any children she gave birth belonged to the people of her 'legal' husband - the one with whom she performed the ritual of 'cutting of the goat's shoulder. When she died, she was buried by the man that her people recognised as the legal husband and her children trooped 'back home.'

If a woman wanted to be completely divorced, then her people returned the dowry that had been paid for her in cows, goats or an equivalent exchange. She would have to have been very cruel to her husband for him to demand his dowry back. Unfortunately modern life does not allow for stringent adherence to tradition since in many cases the traditional 'cutting of the goats's sholder' is not performed in christian weddings. That 'cutting of the shoulder' is what sealed a Kikuyu marriage. Modern Kikuyu should be allowed to write wills (or state them) knowing that they will be respected.


Njihia 6 years ago

what are the differences between the four kikuyu dialects


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

This is to Nyina wa Ituika na Ndichu 2 - Your question on Thengi was not clear.

Let's discuss the word 'irigithithati'

It appears to me to have it's source from the statement 'iregi thathi' - those who refused ...

1. What did they refuse?

2. Why would all first borns be known by that word?

3. why is a 'statehouse' translated to 'thingira wa iregi' - 'hut of those who refused?"

4. Does 'Thingira'(a hut) have the same root as 'thingi' - chaste?

I wonder if your question on 'thengi' had anything to do with 'thingi'?


Nyina wa Ituika na Ndichu 6 years ago

This is fascinating stuff.Thengi? m?no


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

It is difficult to verify the hierarchical position of the Nilotes vis a vis the Bantus. However, it seems to me that the Nilotes had a military role in ancient times, hence their regimental rituals during rites of passage for the youth - the maasai, Kalenjin etc.


Alex Ndubai 6 years ago

As an avid reader of African history, i must admit that this is quite a point you have raised here. There are stories i've been told although i doubt their accuracy regarding the bantus and nilotes. How Bantu's were basically the nobles and royals of whatever ancient world existed back then, and the nilotes being their slaves. I doubt there is any truth in that though. Please keep it up!

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