Tuesday, 14 February, 2012 – 10:28
By Joab Apollo
What begs belief about Kit Mikayi shrine in Western Kenya is how an old man sank into it and his body later found floating on Lake Victoria eons ago. The man was on a mission to discover how deep the mysterious hole in the shrine that had a snake coiling and devouring animal sacrifices was. So respected is the rock, situated about 20 kilometres to the west of Kisumu town, that religious leaders, politicians, the sick and witchdoctors are frequent visitors. Kit Mikayi, meaning the Rock of the first wife in Luo language has a rich history, unknown to many tourists who pay it a visit.
Mama Grace Akoth Waga, married in 1968 to a descendant of Ngeso, the legend behind the rock, has been bestowed by the clan the duty to narrate to any tourist the tales about Kit Mikayi. She tells IQ4News that Kit Mikayi is just a rock, but with peculiar features.
“Kit Mikayi was just a rock like any other rock when I fast came here in 1968. Our grand grand parents also had the same belief. But its features are extraordinary and would leave one bewildered. It does not shake during earth tremors, neither has any of its subdivisions fallen down during tornadoes. The trees around it collapse during strong wind, but Kit Mikayi has remained static” Mrs. Waga says.
Waga says that Mzee Ngeso was part of the Luo immigrants from along River Nile in Sudan many years ago who fell in love with the rock after setting up a home at Oredho, just a stone throw away from the rock.
“One day, Mzee Ngeso took a saunter from his Oredho home and found the rock fascinating. He left the spear which he carried and rushed back home to break the news to his six wives. Henceforward, they settled near the rock and he built his first wife (Mikayi) a hut. But the women were gripped by fear of the rock falling on them” Waga adds. She says that the women convinced Ngeso to relocate to a place called Ngo’p Ngeso where they had a happy family that gave rise to the now famous clan in Seme called Joka Ngeso (The descendants of Ngeso). This did not whittle away Ngeso’s interest in the rock, for he still spent a lot of time there entertaining guests, most of whom came to fetch herbs at a fee. This was his enclave to mould pipe and pray for the community.
But what is the mystery behind Kit Mikayi?
“Kit Mikayi is a world spirit. It is a holy place. During times of catastrophe like hunger and famine, the Luo elders would conduct sacrifices here and the rain and bounty harvest would follow” explains Waga, adding that the rock would send visions to people as far as Alego Usonga in Siaya on the need to conduct sacrifices to avert calamities.
“These people would meet Kit Mikayi in their night dreams” She says
How was the sacrifice conducted?
Mama Waga narrates that the elder grandchild of Ngeso would fling a chicken on the rock before slaughtering it. It would then be roasted in full glare of the elders. Prayer to God and the Sun would follow before the elders partake of the meal. A cow would then be slaughtered, but by an aboriginal of the Seme clan of the Luo community. The cow to be slaughtered had to be striped into three just like the rock is subdivided into three. The man slaughtering the cow had to be without a mark on his body, failure to which the spirits would boycott.
“The rock knows everything. If the person failed the criteria, the sacrifice would not be successful. The man would then slap the cow severally until it urinates. If it did not urinate, it means the gods were unhappy. Nothing would happen” She adds.
What followed a successful sacrifice, Mrs. Waga states, was rain and bounty harvest.
“The elders all came with their knives and eat the meat raw. They would then go home to plant, the result of which would be bounty. That’s how our people survived” She says.
Today, Kit Mikay attracts even more visitors, not confined to the Luo community, to seek blessings and cure. Mrs. Waga recalls that in 2006, a sikh popped into Kit Mikayi in the company of 40 people, sacrificed goats and left.
“No one can tell why they come for sacrifices here. A sikh came here from Punjab and slaughtered four goats and left without eating them. We devoured them because we know that every sacrifice must be tasted. The sacrifices here are a blessing” She explains.
Religious people jam the shrine during the month of May and July when the rock releases water.
“The water heals. Mostly religious leaders come to drink it or take to the sick in their churches. The rock has a healing power” she says, adding that to the men of Seme in Kisumu Rural constituency, it sustains their marriage.
“It is of great help to us. While passing under the rock, the bridegroom sings as the bride ululate, leading to a long lasting marriage. If you conduct prayers here, all your problems become history” She says
Notably, the Legio Maria sect considers the shrine as the place of its founder, the Late Melkiah Ondetto. There is a place reserved specifically for Ondetto in the shrine and Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. This is in keeping with the sect’s tenets.
The government of Kenya has since turned it into a tourist destination under the western Kenya tourist circuit. According to Waga, it plays hosts to tourists from different parts of the world. A school, Ng’op Ngeso primary School, has been established in the village to host the many descendants of Mzee Ngeso. Every year, the descendants converge at the shrine for a get-together party.