HomeLifestyleRejecting Christian names: Kikuyu reverend leads effort to reconnect with traditional heritage

Rejecting Christian names: Kikuyu reverend leads effort to reconnect with traditional heritage

Around four years ago, Mwaura Ndung’u, a resident of the Mt. Kenya region, made a decision to reject his Christian name, Michael. He felt that it did not align with his African heritage, and he did not want his descendants to lose touch with their roots due to the influence of Western culture.

As a result, he embarked on a journey to study Kikuyu culture and eventually became a member of the Aramati a Thingira cultural group.

Mr. Ndung’u is not alone in his quest to reintroduce Agikuyu cultural practices. Several other groups, such as Kiama Kia Ma, the Nine Tribes of the Agikuyu, Aramati a Thingira, and Gikuyu Academy, are also working towards the revival of pre-colonial cultural and spiritual practices, including naming, circumcision, bride price payment, language, and rituals.

Unlike Christians who are taught to fellowship and be Christ-like in church, members of these groups believe that they can pray to the God of Gikuyu and Mumbi, Mwene Nyaga, at home.

They only gather to conduct rituals or celebrate someone’s achievement, during which they offer a sheep without blemish as a sacrifice. These groups also pray under a mugumo tree, which is considered sacred among the Agikuyu.

Mr. Ndung’u believes that Christianity has several loopholes, including in Biblical narratives, which justify problems. He thinks that Christianity caused people to abandon their identity for a culture imposed on them.

He cited love, respect, unity, and sympathy for one another as the core teachings of their groups. Mr. Karanja Mwangi, the founder of Gikuyu Academy, aims to correct Christian indoctrinations that do not align with culture through his teachings.

He noted that circumcision is not just a symbol of manhood; it is a ritual that should not be performed by someone outside the community or amidst other tribes. While some of these groups have been associated with the Kikuyu sect, Mungiki, they have different intentions from it.

Mr. Thiong’o Kinyanjui, who served as a reverend in the Anglican Church of Kenya for 30 years until 2020, renounced his cloth three years ago in favor of his traditional culture. He stated that the church’s teachings were of colonialism and servitude.

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