Gikuyu Sex Training for Youth – Ngwiko


The great traditional Gikuyu initiation ceremonies, Mambura, that ushered a new generation of youth into adulthood ready for marriage involved many processes of which the circumcision of the genital organs is the most famous. Many people today have focused on the circumcision ceremony, irua, reducing it to a discussion of the surgical cut. The Mambura ceremonies and related rituals however were a very complex affair with many of the rituals being of an esoteric nature revealed only to initiates. The purpose of this post is not to discuss the emotive subject of the cut, otherwise known as MGM, or Male Genital Mutilation or its female counterpart FGM.

According to Kenyatta, among the things taught during this period before marriage, were “matters relating to rules and regulations governing sexual indulgence.” The youth went through training of the control of sexual energy by a method referred to as Ngwiko; a method of intimate contact between a woman and a man that did not involve penetration. After the healing process of the circumcision, young men returned and grouped themselves into several young men’s huts, thingiras, where the initiation ceremonies in the form of teaching were held. It is here where circumcised girls of the older initiation set came and performed Ngwiko with the men initiates. This Ngwiko could happen at first under the supervision of the matrons in charge of the girls’ training but they were soon left alone after they internalized the rules. It would then continue with different partners until marriage which ended the group sharing but would continue within marriage.

Kenyatta explains that Ngwiko, or fondling as he calls it, was looked upon as a sacred act and one which followed a systematic, well organized method. He explains that all matters relating to sex were done in a well regulated code of convention. He states that this form of regulation of sexual energy formed the basis of health and was the foundation stone upon which the Gikuyu built themselves into a physically, morally and mentally sound race free from nervous and psychic maladjustments. Thus the cardinal virtue among the Gikuyu of temperance where powerful creative energy is hidden, controlled and used judiciously was learned.

Kenyatta describes the act thus:

The boy removes all his clothing. The girl removes her upper garment, nguo ya ngoro, and retains her skirt, mothuru, and her soft leather apron, mwengo, which she pulls back between her legs from behind and fastened to the waist, thus keeping mwengo in position and forming an effective protection of her private parts. In this position the lovers lie together facing each other with their legs interwoven to prevent any movement of their hips. They then begin to fondle each other rubbing their breasts together, whilst at the same time they engage in love-making conversation until they gradually fall asleep.

The rules governing Ngwiko were such that a couple could never risk the heavy consequences of infringing them. The consequence for undoing a woman’s skirt was social ostracism from a group for the man and the impossibility of getting another girl to agree to his Ngwiko. On the event that the two colluded and the woman was found out she becomes a laughing stock of the community. The skirt, muthuru, and the apron, mwengu were carefully inspected in the morning by the matron or other girls. In the unheard of event that a woman was to get pregnant the punishment to the man by the Tribal Council was nine goats and three fat rams for the Council. The man also became a social outcast and was no longer accepted into in his age group activities. The girl would find it hard to get a husband after that, a terrible predicament.

It is interesting that the Indians had a similar thing of making love divinely without intercourse. This “making love” was meant to harmonize and bring into equilibrium the male and female principles where the couple reached a heightened level of consciousness and soul union.  According to one lady who rembers the joys of Ngwiko, it was to prepare the Nyungu, pot for the future child much like a garden was prepared for seed. It also gave them fuller breasts and more radiant skins. She claims that the current disharmonious relations between male and female were learnt from the Mubia, priest, and should be unlearnt. The Mubia she says, is a child as far as sexual matters are concerned. It is no wonder that the Gikuyu Ngwiko was a women driven affair.

Sexual energy according to Alice Stockham when well directed, heals sensitive nerves, vitalizes the blood and restores tissue. Apart from individual healing the couple also transmits this love to the community and societal order and harmony is realized. That is why Kenyatta said, Ngwiko was the foundation stone upon which the Gikuyu society was built and why for lack of Ngwiko modern society is experiencing all manner of calamities.

The idea today would be to redeem sex from the great depths of violent “Bang! Bang! thank you mom or whatever” it has descended through western influence. We must re-anchor sex on worship and as a divine and sacred act in order to heal not just our individual lives but society in general. Within the Gikuyu home sex was “The Great Sacrifice”. Kigongona Kia Mucii.

References

Jomo Kenyatta: Facing Mt. Kenya, The Tribal Life of the Gikuyu

Alice B. Stockham: Karezza ethics of Marriage


The Art of Making Love Divinely Without Intercourse

<a href=”http://www.sexarchive.info/GESUND/ARCHIV/GUS/KIKUYU.HTM“>More on gwiko

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17 thoughts on “Gikuyu Sex Training for Youth – Ngwiko

  1. Very intersting and educative article. I think we should go back to our culture to avoid the wamunyotas who are the majority of the youth nowadays. I love it.

  2. We grow up thinking that all conversations regarding sex are un-African and taboo. Good to see that our forefathers had the topic well and truly covered.

  3. Always good to read what our culture has to offer. I actually think our culture is superior to the so called western culture.we should try and go back to it.

    • Iii Ngugi,
      We should not try, we should do it. Nuindu muhuthu reke tutige gutuika mbari ya ngeeka.Ni we na nii tuhure gataru muiko tutherere.
      Nikii !!!!!

      • #Warari wa Njuguna,your words are very true.but we must try first so as to succeed.a 1,000 mile journey starts with a single step & you have to make an effort to start.Ukuenda twambiririe ha?….hehehe

  4. Muririkane ati gutiare nginya kumumunyana kana gucenjania mata. Undu uyu tiundu muhuthu uguo urerwo. Ungienda kumenya uritu waguo tageria na muiritu uria werekiire kuhikia ari wa keri kana gatatu.

    • Haha no matemo ma uhoro mandike, uhoro uyu ni muritu na muriku muno muno..Nonginyagia anake na airitu mathomithio ki ugikuyu macenjio mwiciririe wa muthungu niguo rui rucoke mukaro.Ugikuyu na uNGAI nicitwaranaga uu ati maundu, magongona, thiguku na witikio wa mugikuyu kabiru (Hebrew) noguo wa muyahundi (Jews) na noguo wi kirikaniro kiria gikuru (the book of LAW (Genesis, exodus, numbers, Deuteronomy,Leviticus).We must respect and abide by law (Thahu na migiro) and not use instincts like animals do.

      • We try as much as possible to reach them by using the English language. We know much is lost in the translation but “suffer it to be so now”. Thanks all the same in your passionate appeal for the river to return to its true course.

  5. truly, nyumba itu niyariganiiruo ni mitugo namiikarire tucokie miikarire itu, can you imagine how our men and women cannot advice their young ones, tondu nitwetukanirie.KAMAU WA MBURU,GATUANYAGA.

  6. Most would totally agree to the reintroduction of the RIGHT and proper sex education, not only in school, but right onwards the ladder from school to adulthood to marriage life to spiritual search. BUT, some very intelligent ones know that proper regulation of the sexual energy has such super benefits for physiological/spiritual/etc. well-being which, if society were to be educated on, would cause such ginormous billion-minting institutions and control-freak-institutions lose out big time! *Hint hint; pharmaceutical & religious institutions! 😉

    • The idea Bwana Kiragu is never to go back but to learn from history. The lessons here are many for today’s youth. Read again with a view to learning a principle that is applicable in today’s context. Try Bwana.

  7. I am a resident of mukurwe wa nyagathanga. All what has been stated up there is true . Mukurwe (tree) and Gathambara stream are still there. I invite the author (s) of this website to this place to gather more about our culture. Thank you.

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