Translation:Transcription

Ũhoro ũyũ ũkĩario na njĩra ngũhĩ, mũndũ o wothe no atũĩke mũĩra atĩ mĩhĩrĩga yaarĩ ya Andũ-anja nĩ ũndũ ona ũmũthĩ ũyũ tũtũire twĩtanagĩrio na marĩtwa mao.

Ona gũtuĩka andũ-anja hingo ya gũtunywo wathani nĩ arũme nĩ kũhotwo maahotirwo na waara ona mbaara, andũ-anja nĩ mabataire nĩ kũmenyaga atĩ gĩtĩo kĩao nĩ kĩnene o nginya rĩu tondũ nĩ maatũtirithĩirie mĩhĩrĩga ĩno ihinda rĩa wathani wao. O rĩngĩ marĩ na ngatho cia ũciari wao tondũ nĩo manyina ma mĩhĩrĩga yothe kenda-mũiyũru ya Gĩkũyũ, Embu, Meru ona Ikamba guothe, na marĩtwa mao matirĩ hingo makariganĩra rĩ o rĩ.

Rũgano rwa ũrĩa andũ-anja maatunyirwo wathani nĩ arũme nĩ rũheanagwo rũgĩtiganaga icunjĩ imwe na imwe, tondũ wa ũria mĩheanĩre na irĩra ĩrĩ mĩingĩ. No atĩ rũgano rũrũ nĩ rũonanagia atĩ no rũmwe tondũ mũthia waruo kuonekaga atĩ nĩ kwagĩire na mbaara nene mũno gatagatĩinĩ ka arũme na andũ-anja. Andu-anja tene nĩo maatũire mathaga arũme. Ũgũo nĩ ta kũga mũndũ mũrũme nĩwe wathĩaga gũtũũra mũcĩĩ kwa a-mũirĩtu, agathagwo na akahũragwo ona akarutithagio mawĩra ma hinya na mangĩ ma andũ-anja ta kũgwata ciana na gũtaha maaĩ. Irio ciarugagwo nĩ atumia ota mũtugo. Ikeno ciothe iria arũme mangĩendire kuma kũrĩ andũ-anja macionaga na hinya ona kwĩnyihia kũnene na kaingĩ nĩ gũthimĩrwo maathimagĩrwo kũringana na ũrĩa andũ-anja mangĩendire. Arũme matiarĩ kamũgambo ona kanini hingo ĩyo tũndo ona nyĩmbo-inĩ matiarĩ rũtha kũina. Wĩra wao waarĩ o wa kũgwata ciana na kwĩrorera andũ-anja rĩrĩa mekũina.

Hĩndĩ ĩmwe arũme nĩ macokanirie ndundu tondũ wa kũng’athia nĩ watho ũcio maathagwo nagũo nĩ atumia, magĩciiria ũrĩa mangĩgeria na waara kuona kamweke ga kũinaga rwĩmbo na nĩ getha mangĩtĩkĩrio mathiĩ na mbere magĩcaragia ũrĩa mangĩgatoria atumia, mehererwo nĩ mathĩna macĩo maarũmagio. Ũndũ wa mbere wakĩrĩ ũcio wa gũcaria mweke wa kũinaga rwĩmbo. Nĩ magĩtaaranire atĩ hingo ĩrĩa rwĩmbo rũngĩkinya kũinwo nĩ magathiĩ kwĩrorera na rwĩmbo rwaĩnangwo, or rĩrĩ rwagacĩra mathekerere andũ-anja. Andũ-anja mangĩkamoria gĩtũmi kĩa mamathekerere nĩ makamacokeria atĩ nĩ kũona mona makĩrigwo nĩ kũina wega na ningĩ atĩ nyondo ciao nĩ cĩarũgarũgaga, na atĩ mangĩmetĩkĩria no mamonie kũina wega.

Mũthenya wa rwĩmbo wakĩnya atumia nĩ mambĩrĩirie kũina ota ũrĩa mamenyerete gwĩkaga nao arũme makĩmathekerera mũno. Rĩrĩa atumia moririe arũme gĩtũmi kĩa mamathekerere ũguo, arũme nĩ mamacokeirie ota ũrĩa maarĩkanĩrĩte. Nĩ maacokire makĩmoria mametĩkĩrie maine rwĩmbo o rũu atĩ nĩguo mamonie kũina wega. Atumia nĩ mametĩkĩririe na tondũ ũcio atumia magĩkĩoya ciana merorere rwĩmbo rwa arũme. Arũme nĩ mainire wega mũno tondũ wa gwĩkĩra ngĩnĩiya nyingĩ, kũrurumĩria ona gũthamara wega ningĩ makahota kwĩgarũra ona kũrũũga wega tondũ nĩ ahũthũ mĩĩrĩ. Atumia nĩ monire arũme maina wega na makĩmagathĩrĩria no matigana kũmahe rũthe rwa kũinaga rwĩmbo hingo ciothe, tiga no rwĩmbo rwerirwo nĩ rwararĩrio na oke. Oke ũcio wakinya arũme nĩ maathire rwĩmbo-inĩ na nĩ moigire nĩ mekwenda kũina no makĩgirio na hinya mũno, na makĩrwo mangĩgacoka kwaria ndeto ta icio rĩngĩ nĩ makahũrwo mũno. Tondũ ũcĩo magĩĩkirĩra.

Matukũ maingĩ mathira arũme nĩ macokanirie ndundu hingo ya kerĩ makĩaria na marakara maingĩ mũno tondũ wa ũrĩa maagithĩtio hinya ni andũ-anja na thutha wa kwaria na gwĩciria mũno ũrĩa mangĩhoota andũ-anja, nĩ maiguithanĩirie atĩ no mũhaka macarie njĩra cĩa kũũgita andũ-anja nĩgũo marũe mbaara nao. Ũgũo nĩ matuire marĩ na ngoro ĩmwe atĩ nĩ mekũrũa na maahotwo metĩkĩre gũtũũra mathagwo nĩ andũ-anja ngĩnya tene, no atĩ mangĩgĩa na mũnyaka mahote andũ-anja, na mamatunye wathani wothe na matũũre mamathaga na hinya mũno nginya tene na tene. Ũndũ wa mbere, arũme othe nĩ matuire atĩ no mũhaka mambe marĩe kĩrugũ nĩguo magĩe na hinya. Hingo ĩrĩa marĩaga kĩrugũ nĩ mongereire meciria mao tondũ ona harĩa meharagĩria kũrũa na andũ-anja acio no maakoragwo na guoya mũingĩ tondũ wa ũrĩa maahũragwo mbere-inĩ ĩyo nĩ atumia maarĩ na hĩnya mũno na mooĩ mbaara. Tondũ ũcĩo nĩ meciririe no nginya matũmĩre njĩra cĩa ũgĩ nĩguo magĩe na ũhotani mũrũmu. Ĩtuĩro-inĩ rĩa meciria mao nĩ marĩkanĩire atĩ atumia arĩa othe njamba-njamba matuĩranio nao nĩguo atĩ rĩrĩa othe makagĩa na nda nene hingo ĩyo mogitwo na nĩguo mahũrwo hĩndĩ ĩyo matarĩ na mekinyĩra.

Kĩrugũ gĩathira arũme makĩinũka mĩciĩ na maikaranga mĩeri mĩnini atumia arĩa maarĩ njamba na anene othe makĩoneka marĩ aritũ. Hingo ĩyo arũme mangĩcemania rĩngĩ na hitho magĩkĩĩrana atĩrĩ:—

“Rĩu nĩ hingo tũkũrarĩria rwĩmbo na tũmere atĩ ona ithuĩ nĩ tũkaina. Ningĩ tondũ atumia marĩ thoni, tũkamera atĩ rwĩmbo rũria rũkainwo andũ othe no mũhaka makaruta nguo ciothe maine marĩ ndũũrũ. Atumia mangĩkarega kũruta nguo kana magerie kuga tũtikũina hau nĩho tũkambĩrrĩria mbaara.”

Maacoka mũciĩ nĩ merire atumia na waara mararĩrie rwĩmbo nao atumia magĩtĩkĩra makĩrarĩria rwĩmbo na oke. Oke ũgĩgakinya arũme nĩ meharĩirie na indo cia mbara ta thanjũ na ndotono ĩndĩ gũtiarĩ mbaara ya kũrũwo na hĩũ kana matimũ.

Mũthenya wa rwĩmbo wakinya andũ othe arũme na andũ-anja nĩ maatũnganire kĩharo-inĩ kĩa rwĩmbo na rĩrĩa maakinyire othe, o rĩrĩ atumia meharĩria mambĩrĩrie rwĩmbo mũthamaki wa arũme akĩrũgama kĩharo gatagatĩ akiuga na mũgambo mũnene na wa ũcamba mũingĩ atĩrĩ:—

“Ũmũthĩ rwĩmbo rũkũinwo andũ marĩ njaga! Na rũkũinwo nĩ andũ othe arũme ona atumia.” Hingo ĩyo atumia makĩnegena makĩũragia arũme ũrĩa ũmahete rũtha kana hinya wa gwatha rwĩmbo. Nao arũme makoiga na hĩnya atĩ ũgũo moiga, nĩgũo gũgwĩkwo. Arũme nĩ maregire kũgwata ciana na tondũ ũcio atumia arĩa maarĩ na ciana magĩikara o nacio. Atumia nao nĩ maregire kũruta ngũo na makiuga ona arũme matikũina rwĩmbo. Hingo ĩyo mĩena yerĩ ĩgĩthenganĩrĩra na inegene rĩingĩ mũno na hau-hau mbaara ĩkĩambanĩrĩrio nayo. Ikĩgambanio nĩ tuthu, nĩ tuthu! Atumia nĩ marũire na hinya mũno nĩ ũndũ wa kũgitĩra ũthamakĩ wao, no tondũ wa ũrĩa mateharĩirie na indo cia mbaara na ningĩ tondũ wa ũrĩa maakĩrĩ aritũ, nĩ maremirwo nĩ kũrũa mũno nĩ ũndũ wa kũhũma narũa. Nĩ maakĩhũrirwo, makĩingatwo o nginya mĩcii-inĩ kwao na gũtigana gũtigĩrĩrwo ona ũmwe atetĩkĩrĩte atĩ nĩ mahotwo, nayo mbaara ĩgĩthira.

Gakaara Wanjaũ, Mihiriga Ya Agikuyu, 1960

*

It was many, many years ago. Then women ruled the land of the Agikuyu. Men had no property, they were only there to serve the whims and needs of the women. Those were hard years. So they waited for women to go to war, they plotted a revolt, taking an oath of secrecy to keep them bound each to each in the common pursuit of freedom. They would sleep with all the women at once, for didn’t they know the heroines would return hungry for love and relaxation? Fate did the rest; women were pregnant; the takeover met with little resistance.

But that was not the end of a woman as a power in the land. Years later a woman became a leader and ruled over a large section of Muranga. She was beautiful. At dances, she swung her round hips this way, that way; her plaited hair rose and fell behind her in rhythm with her steps. This together with a flash of her milk-white teeth made men smack their lips and roll their tongues with desire. Young and old, they shamelessly hung around her court, and hoped. Wangu Makeri chose for herself young warriors who became the targets of the jealousy and envy of others less favored. Still more men paid homage to her; they never missed a dance in which she was to appear, many desperately longed to glimpse at her thighs. Came a night when, no doubt goaded by the admiration she aroused, or maybe wanting to gratify their longing, Wangu Makeri overreached herself. Removing all her clothes, she danced naked in the moonlight. For a moment, men were moved by the power of a woman’s naked body. The moon played on her: an ecstasy, a mixture of agony and joy hovered on the woman’s face. Perhaps she, too, knew this was the end: a woman never walked or danced naked in public. Wangu Makeri, the last of the great Gikuyu women, was removed from the throne. (11-12)

Ngugi wa Thiong’o, A Grain of Wheat,1967

*
It is said that while holding superior position in the community, the women became domineering and ruthless fighters. They also practised polyandry. And through sexual jealousy, many men were put to death for committing adultery or other minor offences. Besides the capital punishment, the men were subjected to all kinds of humiliation and injustice.

Men were indignant at the way in which the women treated them, and in their indignation they planned to revolt against the ruthless women’s administration of justice. But as the women were physically stronger than the men of that time, and also better fighters, it was decided that the best time for a successful revolt would be during the time when the majority of the women, especially their leaders, were in pregnancy.

The decision was hailed by the men who were very anxious to overthrow the rule of the opposite sex. At once the men held a secret meeting in which they arranged a suitable date to execute their plan. On the day appointed to carry out the initial stage of the revolt, the men started to act enthusiastically. They embarked on a campaign to induce the women leaders and a majority of their brave followers to have sexual intercourse with them. The men were unfortunately deceived by the flattery of the men, and blindly agreed to their inducements without knowing the wicked plan the men had made to overthrow the women’s rule.

The men, after completing the first act, quietly waited for the result. After six moons had elapsed the men then saw clearly that their plan had materialized. At once they organised into groups and finally carried out the revolt without much resistance. For the brave women were also paralysed by the condition in which they were. The men triumphed, took over the leadership in the community and became the heads of their families instead of the women. Immediately steps were taken to abolish the system of polyandry and to establish the system of polygamy.

The men also decided to change the original name of the tribe as well as the names of clans which were given under the matriarchal system, to new ones under the patriarchal system. They succeeded in changing the name of the tribe from Rorere rwa Mbari ya Moombi to Rorere rwa Gikuyu (i.e. Gikuyu nation or the Children of Gikuyu). But when it came to the changing of the clan names, the women were very infuriated and strongly decided against the change which they looked upon as a sign of ingratitude on the part of the men. The women frankly told the men that if they dared to eliminate the names which stood as a recognition that women were the original founders of the clan system the women would refuse to bear any more children. And to start with, they would kill all the male children who were born as a result of the treacherous plan of the revolt. (8-9)

Jomo Kenyatta, Facing Mount Kenya, 1938

2 thoughts on “Translation:Transcription

  1. I suspect the story is as true as the origin story of Gikuyu and Mumbi, with which it is usually coupled. My hunch is that, as a myth, it became popular for nationalist-era politicians to protest the cultural and social changes caused by urbanization and colonialism more broadly. With the rise of cities, women became more independent and men got frustrated and scared. This story would have been useful to say, “I, as a man, earned the right to rule you woman!”

    But I adapt it less to support patriarchy and more to suggest the innovative ways one can tell and re-tell a history. I am in awe of Wanjau’s version, which, I have thought for a while, would make a great opera or musical.

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