COMMUNITY CLEANSING

Kalenjin elders hold prayer ceremony after several centuries

None of the politicians was invited at the function likened to that performed by Abraham

In Summary

• The elders said their culture of sacrifice is similar to the biblical one performed by Abraham and Moses and their descendants.

• They slaughtered a brown and black bull named Samoe to appease the gods. Their prayer items included wealth, health, education and procreation.

Kalenjin elders at the foot of Sergoit hill in Uasin Gishu where they prayed for forgiveness and blessings on Thursday.
RARE RITUAL: Kalenjin elders at the foot of Sergoit hill in Uasin Gishu where they prayed for forgiveness and blessings on Thursday.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO
Kelenjin elders hold a rare cultural prayer ceremony at Sergoit hill in Uasin Gishu to ask God for forgiveness and to bless their land on Thursday.
Kelenjin elders hold a rare cultural prayer ceremony at Sergoit hill in Uasin Gishu to ask God for forgiveness and to bless their land on Thursday.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO
The elders mill around the carcass of a cow slaughtered at foot of Sergoit hill on Thursday.
THE SACRIFICE: The elders mill around the carcass of a cow slaughtered at foot of Sergoit hill on Thursday.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO
Kalenjin elders climb the Sergoit hill where a prayer ceremony was held on Thursday.
THE STEEP CLIMB: Kalenjin elders climb the Sergoit hill where a prayer ceremony was held on Thursday.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO
A cow’s blood was among the items offered to the gods for appeasement at Sergoit hill in Uasin Gishu on Thursday.
BLOOD OFFERING: A cow’s blood was among the items offered to the gods for appeasement at Sergoit hill in Uasin Gishu on Thursday.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO
Assorted homemade items used by the Kalenjin elders during a rare cultural prayer ceremony held at Sergoit hill in Uasin Gishu on Thursday.
Assorted homemade items used by the Kalenjin elders during a rare cultural prayer ceremony held at Sergoit hill in Uasin Gishu on Thursday.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO
Assorted homemade items used by the Kalenjin elders during a rare cultural prayer ceremony held at Sergoit hill in Uasin Gishu on Thursday.
Assorted homemade items used by the Kalenjin elders during a rare cultural prayer ceremony held at Sergoit hill in Uasin Gishu on Thursday.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO

Kalenjin elders from 10 sub-tribes on Thursday held a rare prayer ceremony during which they asked God to cleanse and bless their land.

The ritual is observed after several centuries. Jews and Arabs are the other communities known to conduct such rituals. 

 

“Our forefathers planned to carry out this exercise way back in 1914-1920, but they were disrupted by colonial civil wars,” Nandi's Mzee Kipkoech Bittok said.

According to Bittok, the Jews already have had theirs. "Arabs are preparing to do it any time soon,” he said.

The elders said their culture of sacrifice is similar to the biblical one performed by Abraham and Moses and their descendants.

The prayer ceremony was held at the foot of Sergoit hill in Uasin Gishu county. It was attended by more than 50 chosen representatives – men, women and children from Nandi, Kipsigis, Okiyek, Tugen, Keiyo, Marakwet, Sengwer, Sabaot, Terik and Pokot.

The Kalenjin consider Sergoit hill sacred.

“We are here today to make our prayers known to our God. We seek forgiveness and ask him to shower blessings on our people,” Bittok said.

Other celebrants were Peter Chemwaswet (Sabaot), Ndiwa P’songoywo (Mt Elgon), Atabarus Abura (Pokot-Tangulbei) and Amos Chesuswo (Sengwer-Cherangany).

The ceremony started with a prayer asking God to block the heavens so that it does not rain for at least three days.

This was followed by the slaughtering of a brown and black bull named Samoe to appease the gods and remove any sacrilege committed in the community, including the shedding of blood.

Farm produce such as milk, millet, honey, animal skins, anointing oil were also offered.

The group started by chanting traditional songs and uttering words considered sacred. 

The elders used coded language to rebuke every bad omen between them and gods.

A soloist sparingly spat milk from his mouth to the shrine to please the gods as the rest of the participants responded by facing northwards to Jerusalem.

No politician was invited to the day-long ritual.

“Currently, the country is mad with politics. We don’t want politicians to attend our function. This was purely for prayers. Nothing else,” Bittok said.

The prayer requests included wealth, education, health and procreation for generations to come.

The elders bowed their heads as they identified God in coded dialects like Asis, Tororot, Chebet, Chepokoiyo and Cheptailel.

“May God help us to correct our eroded culture and touch our youths so that they are not influenced by Western culture both in belief, dressing and thoughts,” Chemaswet prayed.

He condemned overindulgence in drugs and alcohol among the youth and the adoption of Western culture. 

 

- mwaniki fm