What you need to know:
- The ceremony was conducted by spiritual leaders from the Tharaka, Gikuyu and Maasai communities who pleaded with the God of Mount Kenya to accept M’ Kunyia and allow him to join his ancestors in the spiritual world.
Traditional divine leader, Mugwe, was buried Saturday at Nkunguru village in a special ceremony conducted in accordance with the Tharaka community’s customary law and governance.
The body of M’ Mwamba M’ Kunyia was dressed in traditional regalia and the casket wrapped in fresh cowhide. He was buried with his head facing Mount Kenya.
The ceremony was conducted by spiritual leaders from the Tharaka, Gikuyu and Maasai communities who pleaded with the God of Mount Kenya to accept M’ Kunyia and allow him to join his ancestors in the spiritual world.
One after the other, Nkamba Kathuu (Tharaka), Rotiken Nancha (Maasai) and Karanja Mwaniki (Gikuyu) asked the ancestors to forgive the living of their transgressions and protect them from evil.
They also prayed for the end of the Covid-19 pandemic and for rainfall enough for the people to have a steady supply of food, and for the continued availability of honey.
The spiritual leaders further prayed for peace and unity before, during and after the 2022 General Election.
Anglican Church of Kenya cleric, Mugambi Mwithimbu, also prayed during the ceremony.
Prof Mwithimbu said the missionaries who brought Christianity to Africa “demonized” the African god, not knowing that they all worshiped the same supreme spiritual being.
“We all worship a supreme spiritual being, the creator of humanity, and believe that when people die, they go to the spiritual world,” said Prof Mwithimbu.
Mr Mwaniki urged the people to embrace positive cultures and traditions.
“We had a very good culture that ensured the peaceful coexistence of people. We must go back there even as we embrace modernity,” said Mr Mwaniki.
Burial site a shrine
The divine leaders announced that M’ Kunyia’s burial site automatically becomes a shrine and that sacrifices will be offered there when there is a need.
They warned residents of serious consequences including lack of rainfall and pandemics if a tree is cut or the land at the shrine cultivated.
“This place is now holy because the bones of Mugwe, a spiritual leader, will remain here for ages,” said Mr Kathuu.
The group told stories of how various communities are related and how they migrated from various parts of the world before the colonial era before settling down.
Mr Kathuu said though the Maasai are not Bantu-speaking people, they have a very close relationship with the Ameru and Agikuyu.
Mugwe, who blesses, curses and consults the ancestors on behalf of his subject was from the lineage of a person known as Mbai of the Kithuri clan, who is believed to have led the people from Mbwa to Igaironi (dispersal point)— a sacred place in Tharaka South sub-county.
M’ Kunyia had been the community’s spiritual supremo for 20 years and had groomed a successor to ensure no vacuum.
According to Simon Ndonco, coordinator of the Society for Alternative Learning and Transformation (Salt), an organisation that embraces positive cultural practices in the Tharaka community, the coronation ceremony for the next Mugwe will soon take place.
“A ritual ceremony will be conducted for the coronation of the next Mugwe,” said Mr Ndonco.
Residents and political leaders, led by Tharaka Nithi Deputy Governor Nyamu Kagwima, Woman Representative Beatrice Nkatha, Tharaka MP aspirant Sabastian Mwangangi, attended the ceremony.
Also present was National Museums of Kenya Director-General, Dr Mzalendo Kibunjia.