Before you become a Kikuyu Elder

Before someone becomes a Kikuyu elder, One must must meet the following conditions.

i)The Candidate and his last born son must be circumcised.
ii) A candidate from another tribe, must denounce his tribe(This is done by offer of 3 sheep)and an Elder (muchuha) of his choice will become his/her God father.The person is not entitled to any dowry for his daughters and the dowry goes to the ‘Muchuha’.
iii)He must be recommended by ‘athuri a matathi and Athuri a maturango(Elders of Matathi and those of Maturango.)These two recommend the person to Arathi.
iv) the Arathi (12 in number) then verifies the persons past to see if he/she has been involved in any murder or general crime against the community.

If the person has met those conditions, he is given two mithigi’s(Sticks).One is straight (signifying one God) while the other is two pronged at the end Signifying Ngoma (Kikuyu right word for Ancestoral spirits, not satan)

The muthigi was taken to Kirinyaga by the arathi for 40 days where they were to speak with God.its then that they come up with a decision of whether to make a person an Elder.

when all this is done the person receives the following items

1 Muthigi (stick-two pronged)-signifying power to lead
2 Rwenji (Circumcisers knife)-power to circumcise
3.Kioho kia migathi (stringed Beads)-Power to choose what other elders and agemates will be adorning.
4.Ruhiu (Panga/sword)-power to slaughter a goat

5.Coro (Blowing horn)-power to rally people together

6.Itimu na ruhiu rwa njora (Spear and sword)-power to call his people to war.

PS .The last Arathi (12 in number) were from the Mwangi generation,  1898-9 [Hobley]. They were officially  disbanded in 1925 by the colonial government  .The Kikuyu have No Official  Kikuyu Council of  Elders or Community Elders though every father as the head of the household can represent his  family in the only recognized council(local/village council) called kĩama kĩa Athuri comprising  other family heads .In Urban areas the family heads do not have to live in the same area.It could be a kĩama of family friends or business associates.


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