Kamweretho


Kamweretho is a modern Gikuyu ceremony by women who go home to their mother to ask for blessings from her and sometimes her husband but the central characters are women. The males always take a secondary role if any.

I am made to understand that it was started by the newly rich urban, not so educated ladies who have made it through selling clothes from Dubai and elsewhere and want to show their poor rural moms (and the public) how far they have gotten in the city of lights. They normally go as a group and dress up sometimes in uniform and take clothing (presumably Dubai clothing) and dress the mom and sometimes also the dad with a lot of fanfare. The parent then grants the blessing and they return to the city.

Kamweretho has mainly been used by the increasingly many unmarried single mothers who feel a sense of incompleteness as no dowry has ever been paid for them. Like the female initiation rituals to do do with rites of passage which are still so deeply embedded in remnants of traditional Gikuyu psyche that  alternative methods of rite of passage have been devised, the modern Kamweretho is used by unmarried single mothers as an alternative  to the powerful dowry rituals performed during a marriage ceremony. In such a Kamweretho, the single mother marries herself (Kwigura). In a show of celebratory defiance some of these ceremonies sometimes turn into orgies of  drinking sometimes worse after the day ceremony. This has caused some churches to distance themselves from them. Done well it can represent the traditional ceremony of Mburi ya Ihaki where the man produces a ceremonial goat as a way of requesting a blessing from another or to be allowed into a group. In a way she is paying a repentance fee to be forgiven for her sins.

The basic organization of the Kamweretho is the popular women’s merry-go-round and cooperative; ideas which have been central in empowerment of women. Each member of the group contributes a certain amount of money each month which is invested or used as a lump sum by one member at a time. Many women have benefited greatly by these merry-go-rounds. In the Kamweretho the women organise to visit the rural home of each of the members at a time. There are many different shades of the Kamweretho and the ceremonies differ according to region and religion. The bottom line is that Gikuyu’s last daughter Wamuyu is still very much alive and actively adding more members to the Aicakamuyu clan.

Posted on 5 May, 2009 @ 18:37 by Mukuyu

Reposted : 5 March 2014

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2 thoughts on “Kamweretho

  1. Kamweretho is a great ceremony that patriarchy fights! We have public celebrations of different events why not parents? Why eulogize them when they are dead not alive? The issue of ‘self dowry’ is wrong but it is not a creation of women but of patriarchy. It is required that a girl must give bride price married or not. Where else will this lady get such unless from the social networks she has.

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