Kaya Mijikenda

Ibrahim Said Mwafrika

Copyright 2024 by Ibrahim Said Mwafrika


Image by Jim Cramer from Pixabay
Image by Jim Cramer from Pixabay

Based on a true culture, way of life in the year 1500 AD. The Kaya Mijikenda Community of the Bantu Origin namely Kambe, Ribe, Jibana, Kauma, Rabai, Chonyi, Giriama, Duruma and Digo, lived a life worth remembering. Here is their story.

1. Kaya Ngomeni

Once upon a time in the blessed great lands of Kaya. Lived the most God-fearing Mijienda community of the unseen and the visible.

Around a big log table in the Headquarters at Kaya Ngomeni, sat the strongest Ngambi old men representing every tribe.

The main agenda was to look for a warrior from among the nine Kaya Jimbos to take over leadership after the late Mwamba (The Hardest rock) Son of Bombo (Deep forest) who had been in power for fifty-two years.

The proposed candidate by law was to be a man from the Mijienda community. Best underwater swimmer of more than ten miles with a single breath. Fastest runner. The strongest Warrior, One who could battle ten thousand soldiers alone. A learned gentleman with an accurate sixth sense.

Outside the secret boardroom of kaya Ngomeni to the entrance cave door was a home of a pride of Lions. A circumference of tall trees in a dark forest at a distance was inhibited by Leopards, Cheetahs, wild Cats and all types of birds could be seen flying from tree to tree.

Then comes the short trees, plains where we could see Elephants, Rhinos, Giraffes, Zebras and all other grazing animals enjoying the sweet and juicy grass and fresh low water tables.

After the flat grassy land. There comes a large rocky and hollow area, a residence to the most poisonous Snakes, Frogs, Scorpions, Crawling Insects and the Siafu colonies.

Coconut trees, green flowering shrubs and dead trunks the dwelling of the Killer Bees, covered the treasure of all the Jimbos of Kaya. While beautiful sheshe white sands around the Kaya Ngomeni Island and the Sun's reflection during the day, always made it invisible offshore.

2. Kaya Digo

Across the Ocean, of Whales, Sharks, Giant Octopuses and uncounted marine species, was a board of an Army of very powerful Mermaids.
These were the best friends and helpers to the Jimbo of the Courageous, Kaya Digo. The rich Fishermen and community of the Southern Coast mainland.

A superb sweet fragrance of the scattered trees with Bibo Cashew nuts, fruits blended together with ripen Dodo, Boribo and Kimaji Mangoes, gave a warm rejuvenating welcome to the fertile earth of Cassava and Coconuts.

Door to door greetings and charming faces from the mud makuti cool houses gave a loving, no buying but sharing free zone.

Forty miles of the hilly gushing sweet Water streams, young men are seen grazing huge herds of Cattle.
Beyond the hills, heavily drains River Marere from the great Springs, on both sides are hectares of healthy Vegetables, Fruits and variety of Cereal crops under a Fingo, secured and untouchable.

3. Kaya Duruma

Stretching a dusk left eye scope twenty miles across the River, marks the main door to the Jimbo of Doctors, Kaya Duruma. An unattended flock of Goats and Sheep scramble to get home in time. Women with pakachas on their heads full of farm produce are seen heading home. Behind them are young girls loaded with firewood. Along with the group comes a young man from the hunting ground with a wild male Buffalo, as if it is a tamed animal walking with him. He just held a rope tied between the head and the horns.

Walking by the corn fields through the bare black slippery soil yards, pass the mining ridge, across the thick Mountain of huge tall trees, the path was as bright as the full Moon. When climbing down, evening unique, beautiful fragrance aroma of Kitumbo and Mpunga Rice from terraced paddy fields, plantations, created a splendid misty cool night to the scattered Duruma clans on sight.

While locals and new members of clans had wonderful dreams which most of them narrated to each other during the day after their common Maize meal loved lunch. Unknown visitors always had sleepless nights in these lands. Many enemies feared the company of unknown voices around them.

4.Kaya Giriama

The gloom of the dark night is slowly erased by the light of the Sun as dawn is coming up in the northern Jimbo of the Learned, Kaya Giriama.

Early bird Kadzo wa Ziro who is living at the highest pick, can only see Coconut, Cashew Nuts and countable Baobab trees covering the entire land.

A Black Kite flying miles above, can count all the men fetching brew on Coconut trees and know the gallons produced by each.

The swift, strong bird could survey the whole Jimbo in just half an hour. From the beautiful women in handos, fetching water from each wale. Men and Women digging, weeding, planting and harvesting. Young Children in all the playing grounds or listening to storytellers. Old and sick people who need help across the land. Number of all the people in the butter trade market with their gain and loss. All visitors in and out. Hunters and Fishermen with their catch. Lawbreakers or invaders from any Corner. Guards on duty and off duty. All this information was time to time conveyed to the leader of Kaya Giriama, whose order was implemented from anywhere he was in no time.

5.Kaya Chonyi

In the land of the Organized, Kaya Chonyi. Karisa saw his wounded Son riding on a white Rhino across the valley of the shadow of life. His Son was singing a song, praying for relief and cure. As he passed through the moist and misty dark, narrow paths of the huge tall timber trees, his wounds slowly healed, his pain disappeared and all his broken bones were restructured.

Raising his voice with joy inspired all villagers he met and waved on his way to the highlands Baobab village.

Barefooted under the oldest sacred tree, he whispered some words, took a handful of soil and blew it to the North, East, South and West. In a twinkle of an eye, all the invaders disappeared from the villages of Kaya Chonyi, finding themselves drowning in quick mud sinking fast like in deep Ocean black holes.

Heavy rainstorms from the highlands, through Coconut, Cassava, Vegetable, Cashew nut, Livestock and poultry Villages miles around the Market Village. A cleansing symbol of peace and harmony. Happy and in a smiling face, Karisa raises his hands up, while in a thank giving position, Suddenly, he finds himself waking up in his warm woven mart bed.

6.Kaya Rabai, Kauma, Jibana, Ribe and Kambe

Seven half Brothers are in the thick forest in the Jimbo of the Gifted, Kaya Kauma. They are looking for a special positive whispering sacred hardwood tree, in which, when you talk, it hears and implements. When you command, it delivers. When you wrongly swear, it punishes you. When you wear it, nothing can harm you and when it runs in your blood you have the strength of anything you desire.

Due to the recurring problems and sickness in all the homesteads of the late Charo wa Kahindi. The great renowned Old icon, the richest businessman and a great Warrior. A ritual ceremony of his Kigango was performed. His seven Sons had brought a curved sculpture representing their late Father's spirit and the Counsel of Elders of Kaya Kauma patterned the Kigango according to the powers that the deceased had, in an Art of his qualities, talents and capabilities. A sacrificial feast was carried out at the Shrine and the Kigango was planted at the center of his home compound.

That same night Charo wa Kahindi in a spiritual form visited his eldest son Chumbe Sinzia and took him across the Nine Kaya deep forests of Mijikenda. From Kaya Kauma, they collected herbal leaves from each Kaya and from a very different type of tree. Chumbe was very pleased and happy to be with his father. He asked many questions and all were satisfactorily answered as they hugged and laughed all throughout their way. When they came back home, his father mixed all the leaves together, and they made a medicinal solution. Charo drunk some, gave his son to drink of it, then they sprinkled some around the whole compound. He then directed his son to do the same to all the other members of the family wherever they were. Charo kissed his son on the forehead, walked a few steps away and disappeared in the warm thin air.

Chumbe Sinzia felt cleansed, healed and renewed. He could not sleep anymore that night. He remained awake till the first Cock crowd. Likewise, he then called all the family member and narrated the whole tour story to them. They all drunk the medicine in a warm fuzzier and got healed in a wonderful way.

Six Calabash Jars with the same medicine were prepared by Chumbe. The Jars were to be delivered to all their blood Relatives in their Father's homesteads. He ordered his five half brothers each to take one and directed them on how to use it. One was taken to the Jimbo of the Sailors, Kaya Jibana. One to the Jimbo of the great Hunters, Kaya Ribe. One to the Jimbo of the Just, Kaya Kambe. One in the Tana Valley Wantu wa Dzuu up River Zubaki tribe Pokomo and One to the Taita hills Saghalla land. Chumbe himself took the last Jar to his own Mother, The first wife of his Father in the Jimbo of the Wise, Kaya Rabai.

7. Second Face Kaya Ngomeni

Board members at kaya Ngomeni concluded that every tribe will present a Candidate to vie for the Leadership position on the tenth day after the harvesting season.

Behind every tribe Leader laid a Lion. After the meeting the Lions led the way out of the cave.

Outside the main door. King of the pride roared three times, then the other Loins and Lionesses followed suite.

This signaled the entire Island to prepare for the exit of the Leaders of the Jimbos of Kaya.

Nine lions and twenty-seven lionesses escorted the leaders towards the shores of the Island.

Leopards, Cheetahs and Wild Cats came out of the thick forest scaring all the grazing animals in the grassy plains to clear the footpath. Birds scattered and flew across all the Jimbos of kaya Mijikenda alerting them of the arrival of their Leaders. All the poisonous Creatures in the rocky area hid to pave way to the great Old Men. Swarm of Bees flew across all Jimbos of Kaya Mijikenda to its boarders, Clearing all invaders and no stone was left unturned. An army of Mermaids safeguarded all the Soldiers coming from every Jimbo for their Leaders. On arrival at the Island's Coast they focused on preparing their likos for take off.

Old Men of Kaya arrived at the Coast. Each escorted by distinguished body guards. A male, middle aged fully armed Warrior and three very equipped beautiful Maidens. In no time the Old Men of Kaya waved goodbye to each other. Surrounded with Security personnel boarded their Likos and sailed off the Island.

8. Kaya Shrines

Traditional ceremony is held in all the Jimbos of Kaya to identify their right candidate for the General Kaya Mijikenda leadership position.

Warriors from every tribe, clan and family in the Mijikenda community had a right to participate in their Jimbo's free and fair election. Old, middle-aged and young men all took advantage of this sacred exercise.

Men of all ages in their war gown made of uniform hides of wild animals, with their bows, arrows, shields and long, sharp daggers could be seen heading to the sacred Shrine in a row from the Oldest to the youngest.

Singing sacred and war songs drew strength and courage to the entire team as they walked through the deep dark forest. The loud, strong voices echoed the land as they bond with their Invisible clans. There is no fear, but calm and peace of mind while entering the sacred Shrine. Each one gets a sip from the Big shrine water pot at the main entrance. A whiskers medicinal charm sprinkles, follows at the second entrance. Then a bare foot bath at the third entrance. An aggressive Bull sacrifice is made as powerful sacred words are invoked. On this night a ritual feasting, ceremony is performed in a customary way. Later, under the scattered huge sacred trees the Warriors lay their bones to get some sleep.

During the third portion of the night, when all are dead asleep. The Chosen one wakes up from his dream land. The Warrior follows his visions, directions to meet his clan Invisible new friend. Most ancestral narrations stated that many who had this opportunity met a giant Snake, a Lion, a beautiful Queen or unrecognized Creature not seen by any human eye.

First sight, calls for the greetings. The new friend responds and gives extraordinary powers, weapons and garments according to the Chosen Warrior's wish and a big kapu (basket) full of gold, silver and pressures stones or sometimes also unique equipment made of the same. The Chosen one is told to take as many presents as he wished, even if he is to go back several times till he is satisfied. Then the new friends part ways, promising to meet again if any need arises.

Warriors are woken up by the whispering voices of the Ngambi (Council of Elders) around the Chosen One. They all join hands in thanksgiving and appreciate for the great gift.The Chosen Warrior divides the treasure into four portions. One portion is distributed equally to all the Warriors on board. One portion is added to the Shrine's treasury. Another portion is sent to the Kaya Ngomeni Headquarters of Kaya Mijikenda. The last portion becomes legal possessions of the Chosen Warrior.

9. Third Face Kaya Ngomeni

Candidates for the top position were identified as Kambe, Ribe, Jibana, Kauma, Rabai, Chonyi, Giriama, Duruma and Digo as per their place of origin. Kaya Ngomeni turned to be a live arena. Divided into four viewing stages, namely the Ocean front, Ten mile race, The battlefield and the Valley of death.

All eyes were on the waters. Eagerly waiting, when suddenly! Digo emerged as the first one and the best underwater swimmer from the deep sea invisible Island. After thirty minutes Rabai came second, ten minutes after Duruma third, Giriama, Ribe, Kauma, Jibana, Chonyi and Kambe respectively followed suite.

Cheering spectators echoed the background when Mngambi (a Council of Elder) was receiving the Warriors one by one as they continue with the ten mile race. Digo senses danger after he finishes first in the ten mile race and finds himself in a battlefield, surrounded by more than ten thousand, fully armed Warriors ready to kill him. The illusion was real, and every eye could see. Digo's sixth sense triggers his pufya strength which is three times stronger than his opponent's ability. His skin becomes as hard as a rock and no spear could Pierce it. He courageously fights the entire army with his bare hands. Kambe with the strength of a Cheetah comes second in the race. In a twinkle of an eye, he finds himself on the battlefield. He becomes stranded on the battlefield. Digo notices this and goes back and grabs him. Out of the blue they both find themselves in the Valley of death. Duruma with a lion's strength is third in the battlefield. Giriama with leopard's, Chonyi with Rhino's, Rabai with Elephant's, Kauma with Buffalo's, Jibana with Bear's, and Ribe with Black Panther's strength, all team up and fights the army together.

In the Valley of death. Giant wild creatures with strange, scary and horrible voices are approaching. Digo is in search of something, at long last he finds it. The nicknamed Chameleon weed. He rubs the weed in his palms and smears it on his body and assist Kambe to do the same. They now smell like every wild creature that comes in their way. Duruma with the entire team arrives in the valley of death. Frightened and bewildered as they were, Digo told them to join hands as he led the way, Finally, they were free and in a flash they found themselves back on the shores.

Drumming and singing in the great joy of Victory, created peace, love and happiness to the people of all the Jimbos of Kaya.

The Successful Digo Warrior Mchinangome, in a nicely fitted lion's skin, is crowned by the Ngambi as the Leader of Kaya Mijikenda.

Meaning of some words.
Ngambi - Council of Elders.
Pakacha - Big woven basket with no handles.
Kigango - A unique carved wooden memorial statue. Pufya - Extraordinary strength.
Fingo - Talisman, a pottery vessel contains not only medicine but also magic charms. It serves to protect the kaya and its inhabitants.
Siafu - Ants
Sheshe - Fine eg fine Sand.
Jimbo - Region.

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Ibrahim Said Mwafrika was born in 1983, in a Kaya village named Kiteje Mkumbi. He belongs to one of the nine Mijikenda tribes- the Digo, in Likoni Sub-county, Mombasa County along the Coastal region of Kenya.  
20 years of his life was spent in the Rift valley region, Naivasha Division, located in Nakuru County and in Nairobi City, the Country's Capital. He worked with Youth groups and different Companies found in the Coastal Counties. Has Explored his writing talent in East Africa and parts of the Middle East. Crossing boundaries to share ideas has been his greatest dream.

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