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How Tseikuru "lost" two witchdoctors in supremacy contest

Recently Kenyan have been treated to free cinema on supernatural powers of suspects who was purportedly arrested by Juju powers of a witchdoctor. The thieves were accompanied by community members who were curious to witness the supernatural powers of the spell that had been cast by the said witchdoctor. 

A mganga at work./Courtesy

A swarm of bees rested on their palms making the guys look as if were handcuffed.   The owner of the cow which had been stolen explained how she had recorded a statement with police before seeking additional method to hunt down the criminals.

Clout Chasing

Many Kenyans have believed this story however it looks like some clout chasing and some advertisement for the local witchdoctor. When he was informed that his spell had caught the suspects, he arrived at the local police station dressed in a red gown with his contacts displayed in white letters a move that obvious was to advertise his career or business further.

The bizarre occurrence of bees following someone could seem extraordinary but it is not a new thing.  Bees always follow and protect their queen wherever she goes. The said suspects could have organized the whole thing with the witchdoctor, the lady who claimed her cow had been stolen, police and the media guys who captured the whole scenario.

Taking the Queen Bee from a bee hive can make the whole swarm in that hive follow you without necessarily biting you.      

Tortoise at Work

Still on matters spells, earlier this week I happened to find an ordinary tortoise near the gate of my work station. It is normal for the reptiles to go inactive during dry season in order to spare energy for survival. This process is called estivation. It is the opposite of hibernation, a condition whereby plants and animals become dormant during winter to spare the energy needed for survival. So reptiles like snakes, monitor lizards, tortoise, snails and other small animals like millipede, centipedes and insects take advantage of eating a lot of food during rainy season in preparation for that inactive period. In semiarid regions, you are likely to encounter many of these animals when rains start.

 Back to my tortoise story, I shared the tortoise encounter with a colleague who happens to be a local. He however had a totally different opinion over the whole matter. He argued that the tortoise must have been send by a witchdoctor to spy on our office. He added that his father was made to shut down a very lucrative meat business after a tortoise was sent there by a mganga who was doing the competitor a favour of destabilizing the father’s meat business. Upon discovering the animal inside the butchery, the dad killed the tortoise and shut down the business and moved the business elsewhere.

Tortoise are not the only animals linked with spells. Some people believe when an owl lands on your house roof some bad omen will happen. Ironically, they also believe when you collect its eggs, you will be followed by good luck throughout your life.

People from upcountry (bara) believe that many cats in Mombasa and other coastal towns are actually people or spirits keeping watch on their property and it is not advisable to attack them. Some will go to an extend of testifying how someone met the consequences of attacking them.

Obviously, none of this is true. It is like when you pray for the rain and it rains. Your prayers have nothing to do with the rain. Sometimes you don’t pray and it rains anyway. What do you say then? Sometimes many unrelated events happen at the same time, so you don’t have to link them to one another.

Kanana and the coven

Culturally Wambeere are very similar to Wakamba. I have heard some stories around here about witchdoctors and their powers. The funniest one was on how the local practitioners arranged for an extravaganza to showcase their powers whereby in the end the winner was to be declared crème de la crème. When the day arrived most of the witchdoctors gathered for the show, however one witchdoctoer was missing. About a quarter an hour into the show, the witchdoctoer who was late arrived and found the rest seated watching one of them perform his spells. The later come, his name was Kanana removed his coat and hugged it on the air. All the other guys upon seeing what just happened, adjourned the meeting and went to their respective homes to busy themselves with other errands.

Clash of Titans

Sometimes back in Tseikuru there was also some similar supremacy battle between two local witchdoctors namely Tuti and Nzuula.  Their stage names were Tuti Weesi and Nzuula Weesi which meant Tuti “who knew” and Nzuula “who knew”. They arranged for a day to settle their argument man to man once and for all. Tuti visited Nzuula’s home for the challenge, stood at the gate and stared at a very health tree in the compound, the tree immediately withered. Then he mocked his colleague Nzuula Weesĩ, na oyu ni woolilwe, alluding that Nzuula used to be a pro but that prowess has since run out.

Nzula was rattled and he turned to his grimoire to revise some few spells. After some consultation he went ahead to show his aggressor what he was made of. After few minutes of casting a series of the spells, he came outside his hut to face Tuti. By that time Tuti was headed towards the gate since he didn’t expect an immediate response. So Nzula called out Tuti’s name, without turning the whole of his body, Tuti looked back to see what surprise was about to happen.

 Just like Lot’s wife in the Holy Bible, the consequences befell him, his head and neck permanently faced the opposite direction. Nzula went out to take a nap on the serene sands of nearby stream after that magical surgery on his colleague, only to be washed away by the water during a dry season. Where the seasonal river got the water during summer, no villager was able to explain but they attributed it to Tuti Weesi. After few days of starvation since he could not feed with his mouth on the back he also passed on. So that is how Tseikuru lost her two great talents.


@nava_surveys limited

Graduate Land Surveyor &GIS Expert

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