Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi: In Search of Their Euthentic Worship

On page 45 of the Gĩkũyũ book, Kwarahũra Mũhooere wa Gĩkũyũ na Mũmbi, “Awakening the worship of Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi”, is a framed write-up entitled, WHAT THE GĨKŨYŨ AND MŨMBI BELIEVE. The framed piece is described thus:

“WHAT THE GĨKŨYŨ AND MŨMBI BELIEVE” first came out in 1952. It was recited from memory by Gĩkũyũ Mau Mau in their meetings countrywide, in the forest, prisons, and detention camps to strengthen their faith that the God of Mt. Kenya would defeat the colonizers and enemies.* Even today all faithful followers of the Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi religion ought to know this creed by heart so that they can say it from memory.”

*AUTHOR COMMENT: From the start of the Mau Mau war of liberation the Mau Mau placed the burden of the war on The God of Mt. Kenya. They told MweneNyaga, “If we win it is you MweneNyaga who will have won, and if we lose, it will be You who will have lost.”


  1. I believe in God the Father Almighty Creator of heaven and earth.
  2. And I believe in Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi our first parents who were created by God Almighty and who gave them the land of the Gĩkũyũ.
  3. They were persecuted by the white race during the time of Waiyaki wa Hinga according to the prophecy of Mũgo wa Kibirũ, the leadership and land was taken from them, they were made into useless creatures.
  4. They were educated against their faith in MweneNyaga and their traditional culture.
  5. Their children the Mau Mau became enlightened, awoke from the slavery of the whites and reinstalled their parents back into the seat of their original blessing.
  6. I also believe in the holy ceremonies of Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi.
  7. And the oneness of all the races, those that worship the One everlasting God.
  8. And the two ruling generations of Mwangi and Irũngũ within the wider Kingdom of the country, Kenya.
  9. And the perfect unity of the Nine-Full clans.
  10. And the everlasting Gĩkũyũ Nation, forever and ever.

Peace! Peace unto thee Oh God!

Wah! What a read! What a creed! There must be countless themes and ideas to unpack from the above creed but we will merely scratch the surface. The above is our translation attempt into the English for what it is worth.

The author of the book in which this creed appears in its original Gĩkũyũ language was Gakaara wa Wanjaũ who the colonial government described as the Chief Mau Mau ideologue and propagandist. He got seven years incarceration in a detention camp for his efforts. The creed, though not in its entirety bears the unmistakable stamp of Gakaara’s mind and he must have been at the very least the chief Polisher, Publisher and Publicist of the creed.

The creed is without doubt mirroring the apostle’s creed which is said by most Christians to date. The Christians and the colonizers were seen as one and the same by the Gĩkũyũ and thus they coined the saying, Gũtirĩ mũthũngũ kana mũbia, meaning “There is no difference between a mzungu and a priest”.

What is most interesting about the Gĩkũyũ creed is that rather than working out the question, “What is the distilled essence of Gĩkũyũ religious belief system?” they took the easy way of riding on the back of the Christian ass. This method of appropriating the oppressors tools and turning them into weapons of the struggle is well documented by Freire in his Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

Similarly, colonizers usually appropriate the belief systems of the colonized in order that their new creed is easily accepted. In this mutual sharing and cross pollination the end result is that the enemies begin sharing the same bed. This happened when Christianity went to Europe. It took on and adopted many of the traditional European pagan practices like sun worship, seasonal festivals, pantheism etc., which later became so-called Christian religious dogma.

The experience of this European/pagan Christianity in Africa has been to inculturate, to use their own words, to adopt deeply embedded African practices like death and ancestral worship and turn them into an African/Christian hybrid. Just like the so-called European Christianity, this African hybrid Christianity has little if any authentic Christianity as preached by the Christ in Palestine.

If you were to enter many of those dens or churches that litter our modern African spiritual landscape, what hits you is the pompous dress, ostentatious living and verbosity of their self serving priests. Far from the Christ! Many of these priests of non sense speak in an exaggerated holier than thou cant and caricature. Their peacock strutting stage brouhaha often takes absurdity to the heights of the ridiculous. Most can and should be dismissed as a bunch of posers, usurpers, misleaders, misrepresentatives, and public self servants – the cry of the devil masquerading as clergy.

The point is, can our Gĩkũyũ awakening rediscover the authentic Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi spirituality pure and uncontaminated by the so-called Christianity being sold in Africa? For  authentic Christianity it is not. For don’t we read the Bible anyway? The Mau Mau creed cannot be a way into discovering what Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi believed. It would be sad indeed if the African people were to suffer from the cross infection evident in the Mau Mau creed and end where their current so-called Christianity is leading them. It is the earnest prayer of Mũkũyũ, to the Most High Ngai wa Kĩrĩnyaga, MweneNyaga that the true, authentic spirituality will reveal itself to every man, woman and child. I also earnestly pray that true, authentic Christianity will reveal itself to our dear so-called Christians as the Bible says, “the kingdom of heaven is within you” – Luke 17:21. To quote Gakaara wa Wanjaũ, Kĩrĩra kana ũheani ũhoro wa ndini ya Gĩkũyũ wandĩkĩtwo ngoroinĩ ya Mũũgĩkũyũ, The teaching and worship of the Gĩkũyũ people is written in the heart of every Mũũgĩkũyũ.

At the height of the 1952-60 State of Emergency the Government security and military apparatus was deployed to round up Gĩkũyũ men and women who were summarily arrested for no other reason than that they were Aagĩkũyũ. Many were thrown into detention and while there the likes of Gakaara produced what is to date the Gĩkũyũ Nation anthem,

Ĩĩ nawe
Kana ũrĩ Mũũgĩkũyũ
Ndoya moko merĩ naigũrũ
Njuge niĩ ndĩ Mũũgĩkũyũ.
If you were asked
Even you
Whether you are a Mũũgĩkũyũ
I would lift up both my hands
And declare, Yes! I am a Mũũgĩkũyũ.
Mau Mau anthem as played by Kamarũ wa Wanjirũ

Kũrĩ wa iregi Ũtũire?