Monday, 15 September 2014

Indigenous Knowledge in Quail harvest out beats the commercial Quail egg farming

Kenya is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of bird species diversity and richness. This is due to varied habitats types and the fact that the country boarders with unique species of birds that cross boundaries to feed and breed in Kenya.
In the past three year, some species known to occur and breed only in Uganda and Tanzania have recently crossed boarders and are now breeding in Kenya.

Key example are the Magpie Shrike from Tanzania, Rufous-tailed waver from Tanzania and Weyn’s Weaver from Uganda. The other factor is that due to varied habitats and unique geographical features like the Great Rift Valley, the country hosts a lot Eurasian migratory species.
Kenya has also a richer cultural and ethnic diversity as result of different groups of people migrating in the country from other African countries. These groups have evolved with nature and developed unique affinity with nature for nature.  They value both plants and animals for medicine food and protection against evil spirits and misfortune. Among the Samburu and the Kalenjin communities, birds are featured lot in male circumcision preparations.  Candidates go out in the forest and bushes to hunt for the most beautiful birds, among them starlings. They sin the birds very carefully and are left with the skin and all feathers. Each boy can collect as many as twenty different species of birds with different colours. The birds are arranged into a necklace with birds arranged well in colours.  One must be well conversant with hunting techniques and where to get the best collections, because different birds are adapted to different habitats, and they behave differently.

The Luhya Community living in western part Kenya has had a strong affinity to both domesticated poultry. Both wild quails and indigenous chicken have formed part of livelihood of the community. Chicken is featured in most of their cultural activities and beliefs. 

Traditional Hen
Different indigenous chickens have different play different cultural functions. For example the traditional chicken with rose on the body (makuti) was used in cleansing ceremonies to apiece gods. Some chicken found roaming wild were believed to have been given to those who transported a dead body to destination of burial, family members gave them a chicken as the transporter left the compound. The chicken was thrown along the roadside so that evil spirits would not accompany. It was very interesting that such chicken survived very well in the wild and could not join other domesticated chickens. Traditional spiritual prayer people were given white chicken and after offering prayers to community members. Boys were circumcised at ages between 12 and 15. They took a one healing month in seclusion in a forest around fig tree with sponsors or a leader who would teach them family norms and practices. Circumcision is a rite of passage. It was therefore believed that such initiates would be allowed to take some adult responsibilities in the community. Such responsibilities were as leaderships and marriage responsibilities.
Traditional Cock
They were also allowed to feed on some special parts of the chicken deserved only for adult males. For example, only married men were allowed to eat chicken gizzards. The gizzard from single chicken was not supposed to be shared between two people. This would cause tensions and even fights. Ladies were not supposed to eat eggs. They were preserved for the men and children. Any type of ceremony was not was not complete without chicken meat served with brown ugali from finger-millet and sorghum.
In this community, different people had specific responsibilities in a society. Such responsibilities ranged from black-smith, hunters and gatherers, medicine men, mid-wives, and those who specifically. Hunters and gatherers crawled in undergrowth of Kakamega Forest searching for mushrooms, dropped seeds and nuts, fruits, duikers and forest hogs.

Quails are grouped in the same family with the francolins, spurfowls and the stone patridge. Quails are the smallest of the group with extremely shorter tail. They are found hidden in grass and rarely fly, unless flushed out. It arrives with the onset of rains.  The calls are so loud that they attract other from far distances. Females reply in response to males. They form trails inside tall grasses and hardly fly longer distances. The Harlequin Quail Coturnix delegorguei referred to as Isindu in single and tsisindu in plural by the Luhyia community living around the Kakamega tropical rain forest in western Kenya is the most common and preferred for food. They are intra-African migrant found also in southern and eastern part Africa. The males like other species of birds have pretty loud and rapid calls that are continuous.

Quail hunters make use of the loud calls to lour quails in their traps. The traps are usually snares made from the threads or hair of the cow’s tail. The hair is tied across the quail path or trails in the grass. To trap the quails, a four meters long strong stick is planted in the ground at the harvest/hunting site. Three quarters high, small cylindrical woven baskets are hanged on the stick and the stick is bending like bow to the ground. Live male quails are put inside the baskets. The quails will sing inside the baskets as they attract other birds from a distance to the snares on the ground in the grass. It is amazing how many birds the hunters can easily trap as the birds in the baskets continue to call. After the harvest, birds are killed and smoked dry to preserve them ready for the ready market. Local hotels, food kiosks and local buyers have a test for these birds and therefore the market is always available.

Quail Farming
The past two years quail farming was a flooded market in the Nairobi because of its eggs. The eggs were thought to contain medicinal values. Due higher demand in farming, the supply of eggs was much higher than the demand, hence creating low interest in more farming. On the other hand the demand for smoked birds continued at the local in Kakamega County.

Conservation of wild grasses especially in the open glades of Kakamega Forest is to the key for the conservation of the habitats for quails. Since quails are only trapped specialized people in the community, their sustainability is assured. Because this person knows exactly when the birds are arriving and when to collect them and where to the market is. However with the present situation of climate change, which has resulted in shift in rain patterns, hunters may also have to adapt to the situation with some alternative focus. Indigenous knowledge has always has always played a vital role in the local livelihood and when used sustainably, it can lead to sustainable conservation of the natural environment natural resources.

                                                     Research is still ongoing….....
Story by: Titus Imboma
Research Scientist
National Museums of Kenya

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Mushrooms and the Iteso, Western Kenya

This is a fleshy spore bearing fruiting body of a fungus typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source.
English name: Mushroom
Scientific name: Agaricus bisporous
Local name: Ebale (Ateso)
Different types of mushrooms:
Russula cellulata(white mushroom) in their early stages of growth as shown below.

Lactarius densifolius mushroom ready for harvest as shown below.

During the rainy season especially in April, the Iteso of western Kenya are always happy and eager to get the local delicacy of mushroom stew. During this season, most school going children are tasked with the responsibility of picking the mushrooms in the plantations as this delicacy grows naturally. Most of the pupils absent themselves from school so as to pick the readily available source of protein in exchange for money i.e. either for sale or for their families’ consumption. Not only is this task vest upon children alone, their parents also participate in the picking. It’s normally picked early in the morning so as to get a bumper harvest. As the saying goes, ‘the earliest bird catches the worm’, hence the early morning picks.

Mushroom Picking:
Emmy Makoha and John Masika picking mushrooms
In Teso land, they only pick the edible mushrooms as others are poisonous. They pay no attention to the identification of inedible mushrooms. Some people however described to me presumed characteristics of poisonous species such as a slimy face, bitter taste, bad smell, the prescence of a ring or brown spore dust. Some people pick only those mushrooms which they see monkeys eating, assuming that they are also safe for humans. When going to pick the mushrooms, one has to have a basket and knife. When picking the mushroom from the ground, you first cut off the soil from the base of the stipe. If you put mushrooms with soil in your basket, the soil will drop between the gills of the other mushrooms in your basket, then you’ll l have a lot of washing to do at home.

Preservation:The most common method of preservation among this community is drying in the sun. The sun makes a very effective dryer. The drying does not kill the micro-organisms on mushrooms but makes the substratum so dry that they enter a dormant phase. After drying, they become very hard.

Drying Procedure:
1. Cut into slices about 1/2cm thick and spread loosely on to a mat .To ascertain if they are dry enough, they should make a snapping sound when breaking them.
2. Dried mushrooms are then preserved in a container with a cover to be protected from moisture.
NB: Dried &preserved mushrooms will last until the next mushroom season &can be used after soaking in a small amount of clean water and the same water used in the cooking so as to utilize the nutritive elements that dissolved in the soaking water.

Dried Mushroom
Dried Mushroom ready for cooking

Mushroom Stew Preparation:
1. Onions
2. Tomatoes
3. Mushrooms
4. Cooking oil
5. Salt

1. Take about the same amount of onions, tomatoes and mushrooms.
2. If the mushrooms are fresh, cut them into small pieces, if dry, no cutting is required since they are already in smaller pieces.
3. Cut onions and tomatoes into different bowls.
4. Heat the oil
5. Add the onions to the heated oil until golden brown.
6. Add tomatoes to the sufuria until it’s cooked
7. After about 10 minutes, add the cleaned and chopped mushrooms to the sufuria and cook for another 30minutes so that the tomatoes and onions form a thickened stew
8. Vegetables e.g. kunde can be added to the stew according to availability & one’s like
9. The stew is eaten with brown ugali, boiled cassava or boiled bananas

Mushrooms are the richest source of protein and are suitable for human consumption. They  contain 31-40% of proteins. The percentage of protein is much higher than in cereals,  pulses, fruits and vegetables.  The proteins of mushrooms contain all essential amino  acids and their quantity is higher than in the egg. They are the good source of iron.  Mushroom contains minerals like calcium, potassium, sodium and phosphorous, and  vitamins like B, C, D, and K. Mushroom contains niacin, which is ten times higher than  any other vegetables. Mushrooms make an excellent food for diabetic and heart patients.

Story Prepared by:
Evalyne Namuju
Library Assistant-National Museums of Kenya - Main Library.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Kalenjin Dowry Ceremony

When the groom identifies a girl he will first go and tell his parents and the parents will inform the elders of the community. The elders will go deep into the family lineage and see if they have a relationship or have a common ancestor.  If they have a relationship or come from the same clan they will not marry because it is considered as a curse by the ancestors.
The groom elders/father will go to the bridegroom’s home and seek for permit to talk to the family elders. When they agree on the marriage proposal the bride’s clan elders will ask from the groom’s family. After one week they will come with the groom for a show up. On that day they will come with two sheep and two goats. After a long discussion the groom will be teased by the bridegroom’s aunts. The bride’s family will be blessed by the bride groom’s family while the bridegroom will be blessed by the bride’s family.
The groom elders will ask for the date of the wedding when they agree for the date the groom family will go and prepare the wedding and it is usually after two weeks. The bride groom was not allowed to be seen by anybody who is not her family member.
The Wedding Day
On that day the bride groom will go to the groom’s home with her family and clan elders. The bride groom will be taken to the special hut that has been made and decorated by the groom only.
Meal Preparation
The meals were prepared by both sides. The groom’s family will prepare the following delicacy: bull’s meat, sheep, goat and the sour milk. The bride groom’s family will only prepare ugali made of millet flour mixed with sorghum, cassava and maize and a special type of beans which is white in color. The groom and his clan elders will slaughter the animals without even a single drop of blood on the ground. The bride groom will then cook ugali for the whole family without any assistance and then go back to the hut. The groom’s family will prepare the meat.
Purpose of Preparing the Meal Together
The bridegroom and the groom’s family will share things and unite in case of any problem. When the groom and the clan elder slaughter the animals, blood should not be poured down that means their love will never break. When the bride groom prepares the ugali, she shows that she loves and cares for the family waiting for her and this shows that she will care for her husband.
Preparation of Sour Milk (Mursik)
First they will need a calabash and then make a bottle from it. After making the bottle they will then decorate using beads (sonoey) this bottle (soret) will be passed from one generation to another.
From time to time during wedding, initiation or funeral ceremonies they will use the bottle (soret). The bottle will be washed using a special wood called (siitett) this process is called siit and the siitett will produce sour taste ash (tei).This ash is used to speed the milk process of being sour. They will then put the milk for four days before the wedding day. On the third day they will remove the sour milk and then siit to kill any micro-organism that will cause diseases, and then the milk will be good to drink.
The Ceremony
After the preparation the bridegroom will be given food by groom’s mother and locked up there for the rest of the day.The bridegroom’s family and the groom’s family will eat in the same table but men will sit on one side and the children and women together. They will eat while talking.
They call it a day after eating and the final drink will be for the elders’ from both communities. The drink (mursik) will be poured in the ground and the rest drunk from the same bottle. That must be done during the right before realizing the groom to see the bride.
After the celebration one last ritual must be done before releasing the dowry , the groom will be taken by the elders to the hut. The elders will leave the groom to spend the night together. The groom was supposed to make love to his wife to see if she is a virgin. Early in the morning the elders and the bride groom’s family will come and see if their child is a virgin. If so the groom’s family will release the dowry and some two or three cows for the mother and a sheep.
If the girl is a virgin the dowry was paid in half and the other half will be taken every year to promote family unity. The bride’s family were given twenty sheep, twenty five goats, five bulls and seven cows in exchange with their girl. The ceremony will end with songs and dance.

Story Prepared By:
Caroline Jeptoo and Joyline Njeri
Ruaraka High School

Kamba Marriage Ceremony

In Kamba culture, the parents were the ones who chose girls for their boys for marriage. When mature, the parents examined the girl before accepting her in the family.
Before the marriage a special ceremony was conducted. The groom and his kin had to throw an important party known as “ntheo” which was the minimum threshold that demonstrated that the bride officially belonged to the man she was engaged to. This ritual is very strict such that when a woman whose husband is yet to throw the party dies, she could not be buried by her husband no matter how long they had stayed together and if he wishes to bury her, he would have to go through the ritual.
The groom had to bring at least three goats where one is a he-goat which is slaughtered. The kamba people believe that as the blood spills to the ground the bride and the groom become officially joined that very moment. The two then share a piece of soft meat as an oath that they will keep the covenant.
From there the two are free to hold a marriage ceremony whether in Christianity or traditional way.
Story Prepared by:
Onesmus Mutiso, Faith Mutheu and Josephine Kamene

Tiriki Traditional Marriage Ceremony

Amongst the tiriki, a luhya sub tribe, traditional marriage practices occurred after the boy and the girl had decided to get marryies. Both parents were informed about their decision and if they were okay with it, the marriage arrangements would start immediately.
First they would set a day for the dowry discussion and later they would celebrate and may be the boy would be allowed to take his wife before the dowry was brought or denied to take the bride until the dowry was brought.
On the day of dowry discussion, the groom came to the girl’s home accompanied by his parents, uncles and friend. He was accompanied by his uncle because they represented the parents even in the case where one or both of the parents had passed on. On the other hand the bride was hidden and the  parents could attend the meeting alongside with the aunts and the girls friends.
When the meeting was still going on some relatives and some friends of the bride’s family would be in the kitchen preparing a meal that both families and would share if they reached to an agreement. The traditional meals that were prepared included, chicken, beef stew, ugali and busaa (a traditional brew among the abaluhyia).
When the meeting would be almost over and they have reached an agreement, the girl could be brought in the open and would happily be accepted by her groom, then the meeting would be called off and the celebration would start. After the celebration had ended, the in-laws were supposed to have gone by six o’clock. The boy would be allowed to go with the bride before the dowry was brought and they would be packed for some foods by the bride’s mother to the couple’s, in a basket that would be returned later with some food stuffs for the bride’s mother.
NB: Usually the bride price was not brought in full so as to cement the relationship of the two families.

Story Prepared by:
Silvia Khatetsia, Hadija Ashuma, Yvonne Jeiza,Salome Macreen and Rose Ondeche
Ruaraka High School

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Luo Traditional Marriage Ceremony

After the bridegroom and the bride have decided to get married, they both discuss the matter or give the news to both parents. If both parents have agreed with the plan they then get together for the preparation with the help of some elders and in- laws. While in preparation dealings, they both discuss about the bride price they normally give a bull and a cow also they give out a goat.

The bride price is not paid as a whole so that it can cement their relationship .The bride should not prepare food for the groom’s family or the in-laws the same applies to the groom’s family. The bride’s family is the only one who is supposed to prepare the food. It is said that the bride should not be around the cooking area or within the compound.

The bride’s mother should prepare chicken “Gweno” and other meals are also included example are cow’s meat “ring dhiang” whereby the cow should be slaughtered on that day. The people who were preparing food are the ones who are involved with serving the groom’s family.
The groom’s in –law/ family should not stay at the bride’s house till 6:00 pm since it may end up bringing conflict between the two families.
After that, the bride and the bridegroom are given five weeks to prepare for the wedding ceremony. It is said that the girl should be placed in the house for three days before marriage. The locking of the girl is to ensure that the girl is fully prepared for marriage.
After the three days  the bride and bridegroom are supposed to spend the night together, the reason to that is to confirm whether that she is a virgin by the grandmother “Dani” and the news is spread to both the in- laws when they meet again.
Now the girl is handed on to the bridegroom family so that the ceremony can continue whereby it may be the last since she has been handed over.
Story Prepared by:
Sharon Atieno, Fiona Achieng, Quinter Anyango, Viona Akinyi, Quinter Achieng,Levina Anango, Queen Aoko, Phoebe Adhiambo, Ann Atieno, Sharon Adhiambo,Lavender Achieng, Belindah Nereah, Lavender Mewa and Meldon Awuor
Ruaraka High School

Luhya Marriage Practices

Amongst the luhyia community, we have several sub tribes they include the Tiriki, Bukusu,Wanga, Idakho, Maragoli  e.t.c
However, all these sub-tribes  have similarities and differences in the way they conduct their marriage ceremony. That is for the tiriki and wanga the boy would catch the girl while she is either going to fetch water or firewood and the other sub-tribe some would lock up the girl in their rooms (isimba) and then wait for the following day to go and report to the girl’s parents that they have their sheep (girl) at their house.
After the girl has agreed or the parents have agreed to marry, they would all arrange for the traditional marriage including the dowry. On the day of the marriage ceremony to take place there will be a meeting from both families to organize how they will take the girl if they had reached to an agreement of the dowry, however, if they had not reached to an agreement there will be no marriage that would occur until they have agreed for them to do so.
On the other hand on the day of the ceremony the groom would come to the home accompanied by his parents, his friend and even his uncles, it involved his uncles because if anything happens to the groom’s father and a problem arise to the marriage the uncles will act as the parents while the meeting is going on. The girl’s family that is the parents, friends and aunties they choose aunties because of the same reason as the boy’s uncle. The girl will be hidden while other relatives will be preparing some traditional foods for example ugali, chicken and busaa (a traditional brew).
After the meeting is over and both families have agreed the day the dowry will be brought they may decide to allow the boy to go with the girl or disagree. They will all celebrate for the wedding and before 6 pm. The in- laws were supposed to have left. The dowry (discussed number of cows, sheep or goat) would be brought on the agreed date.
Story Prepared by:
Silvia Khatetsia, Hadija Ashuma, Yvonne Jeiza,Salome Macreen and Rose Ondeche
Ruaraka High School

Kikuyu Traditional Marriage Ceremony

The Kikuyu culture is a well known cultural group that is predominantly found in the central highlands of Kenya. Customarily, marriage proceedings often began with the man proposing to the woman. After she agrees to be married, a series of events will follow. The bride to be approaches her parents and informs them of her intentions of marrying. The parents then enquire about the man’s background e.g. clan from which he comes from, this is to ensure that there is no cross marriage between family members. The groom also breaks the news to his parents and does the same. After that both parents of the lady and the man meet to negotiate and set a date for the payment of dowry, this is strictly done between elders. On this day the first things to be taken by the groom’s family were a he- goat and she- goat which has not yet given birth. The male and female goats were known as mwate na hareka.

Dowry payment is a series of events namely:-
1. Kumenya mucii - getting to know the brides home.2. Kuhanda ithigi - Literally means planting a branch of a tree3. Kuracia - Actual dowry payment
On the set the bride- to- be  and her relatives do all the cooking for example mukimo cooked with stinging nettle (thafai), chapatti , black beans (njahi) and bunch of bananas (mukano), while on the other side the father and young men relatives roasted some meat while waiting to receive dowry. This is called ruracio , a feast where the groom and his family bring the dowry at the bride –to –be home and show up at about 1pm. On the arrival the groom’s family will find the gate closed. This is a sign to show that they must sing their way in. Then the bride -to -be and her female relatives welcome them in with songs and dances. After settling in and before any eating the bride to be is taken away by her fellow female in-laws and relatives, there she is given some advice meanwhile the groom starts ( kuhanda ithigi) planting a branch of tree which symbolizes that the lady has been booked by the groom. He then starts the payment process together with his parents and elders to the parents of the lady and their elders.

The dowry could be:-
1. Goima fattened ram2. Thenge - He goat – this could be from 99 of them onwards depending on the negotiation made because for example in Kiambu, one has to take 120 goats and 20 cows,                               after that two more goats are slaughtered (kugurania). In this each, meat part had a specified person to take it. 3. Mori heifer 4. Njohi ya uuki – beer made from honey for the elders as a sign of respect.5. Cows
If the groom didn’t bring all the required dowry negotiated earlier he is expected to remember to finish his payment, failure to do so spells dishonor to that family.
After this the bride- to -be is finally recalled and becomes a bride. They all happily feast and eat together. The bride’s family then gives some items to the bride to carry to their home such as kyondo – weaving basket,  ciihuri-calabash, lesos, nyungo- pot, mukwa –new rope, a blanket and bed sheets for the bride’s mother, handkerchiefs for the sisters and honey for preparing “muratina” (beer).
As the bride leaves with the groom the bride’s parents then wait to do the last process which is itara- getting to see the nest or nestling place of their daughter.

Story Prepared By:
Grace Njoki, Elizabeth Gitau, Eunice Waithira, Beatrice Nyambura,Rachael Njeri, Eddah Njoki, Jane Wanjiru, Pauline Wangari and Victoria Warue


According to Italian traditional marriage, when a man wanted to ask for a woman’s hand in marriage, he had to speak to the bride-to-be’s father. Once the father agreed and both the families were fine with it, presents of acceptance between families were exchanged. These could be home items and so on. It was customary for the prospective groom to place a diamond ring on his bride-to-be’s middle finger before the engagement was announced and later on after doing a small engagement party a wedding date is set, though they were not to marry in the month of May and August. Since the month of May was dedicated to Virgin Mary because all Italians belong to Catholic Church. August instead was considered to be the month of sickness and bad luck. Most couples were getting married on Sundays as it was considered a lucky day.

During the wedding day a white ribbon above the church entrance was tied. this shows that a union was taking place in the church. The bride and the groom to be used to walk towards the altar together symbolizing the journey of marriage.

In those days the brides were to wear green gowns symbolizing fertility or a long white handmade gown. Neither the bride nor the groom was to buy wedding rings. It was to be bought by the wedding testimony couples as a gift and a sign of commitment to the new couple, also there was no dowry payment but both families of the groom and bride divided the wedding ceremony expenses equally. This is carried out up to today.

After exchanging vows as the bride and the groom walk outside the church door, rice was thrown to the newly wedded couple as a sign of prosperity both in wealth and children. It is also kept till now. After taking some photos in the church, doves were released as a symbol of love and happiness. The doves could be bought by either friends of the wedded couple or family relatives. Then they all headed to the reception which was to be in a restaurant, never in the open air. Once through with the eating and some show dances, a toast had to be made. No wedding could be without a toast; they were to do so with a half filled cup of white wine. They then used to toast “Hurray for the newlyweds!” (Evviva gli sposi).

Presents were then given to the newlyweds by members of the family and friends. The bride’s family used to give towels, bed sheets, pillows and bed covers,  they were to be all in white as a sign of marriage and beginning of new life together. A golden necklace was given by the groom’s family to the bride as a sign of acceptance. This brought the end of the ceremony. As the guests walked out the groom and the bride gave each of them confetti. These are packed sweet-like colour white put in a small silk cloth together with some coins – sign of richness, rice-sign of many children and a ceramic small angel –sign of God’s love and protection.

This was given as a thanksgiving to the ones who attended the wedding and their beginning of a new life as a couple. Up to today some of these traditions are still kept.

Story Prepared By:
Elisa D’Andrea

Monday, 5 May 2014


CELLPHONE NO: 0721 308 594
P.o. Box 87440-080100
Kiembeni Estate – Mombasa

Mila ni kiungo muhimu katika maisha ya mwanadamu. Kwenye kunga ya maendeleo, mila ilipachikwa miongoni mwa elimu, dini, afya, ulinzi, ukulima na mazingira; yote yakiwa chini ya mwamvuli wa nguzo ya kijamii, mbali na kiuchumi na kisiasa. Kati ya viungo vyote hivyo mila, ndiye uti wa mgongo na kidhibiti mwendo cha jamii duniani. Hivi kwamba jamii ilipaswa kuendeleza sera yake kijamii kwanza ndipo itambulike kiuchumi na kisisa. Mfano ni Uchina, ilipata jina kisisa baada ya kumiliki barabara ukulima. Japan na teknolojia viwandani kwenye sera za kushindana kukuza vipawa viliwafanya wenyeji kuwa matajiri kiuchumi. Milki za Uingereza na sera zao za utawala wa dunia ni mfano tosha wa kijamii. Marekani haikubaki nyuma kwani kila mielekeo yao ya muungano wan chi hamsini ziliipa nguvu nchi nzima kwa ujuzi tofauti tofauti. Kama mzungu alizunguka kutalii ili aendeleze utafiti wake , naye mwarabu vile vile aliishi kwingi kuzabuni ili biashara yake inoge; biashara ni kitengo cha uchumi lakini tabia yake si siasa bali ni kunga ya kijamii. Kwa jumla, mtu kuendelea kwa vyovyote vile ni sharti mila. Na hivyo basi bila ya mila, pana ila. Ndiposa kauli ya ,’Mwacha mila ni mtumwa’’ ikaja. Mtu mathalani hakupiga kura kuzaliwa

alipozaliwa. Na pindi ukizaliwa Mpokomo huna tena hiari ya kuchagua eti ugeuke na uwe Mkamba. Upende au usipende huna budi, utabaki kula, kuvaa, kufurahi, na kuhuzunika.

Mpokomo pia yuko na mila zake. Aliimba na kucheza. Aliimba nyimbo za furaha na za huzuni pia, kwa sababu nyingi tofauti tofauti. Kwa mfano, Mpokomo aliiimba Gassa/Kittoko bila ya ala yoyote ile ya muziki, Aliimba bila ya kucheza na akiwa chini kitako au kalala chali, hakusimama wima. Alikiimba kittoko hicho aidha kutahadharisha kwa mfano (Jihadharini-Mende), Kejeli kwa mfano (Ningali Kijana-Mende), Mapenzi kwa mfano (Together- Dr. Niko)na Hamasa kwa mfano (Wanawake wa Ndera- Ise Viera). Nyimbo za aina hii huimbwa wakati wowote hasa usiku. Na washiriki ni waume akiwepo mwana dada fulani pengine bibi wa mmoja kati ya waimbaji tena mraibu wa nyimbo kama hizo. Hapa ni furaha tupu. Kwani nyingi wa nyimbo hizo ni tumbuizo sana mume kumuimba mwanamke akimsifu, akimsibu na kmuumbua watu wasikie urembo au ila yake muumbuliwa huyo pasina mwenyewe kuwepo.

Kkosa ya Dani ni mchezo wa watoto wa kipokomo ambapo ngoma haikutumika. Michezo mingine ni watoto wa kike mingine ya kiume na mingine iliwajumuisha wote. Mfano :
Majjilingao-Mchezo wa watoto wanaposhikana makundi mawili wakipishana, wanapita kwa watoto wawili walioshikana mikono wakiweka mtego wa kunasia   huku wanaimba usiku;  -Haijjafiiko? He! He! e!  -Majjilingao ho ho lingo, majjilingao kittattafule.  -Ngao ya mabombwe, fumo ddyakuttora.

Mpesi-Mchezo wa watoto wanapoketi chini na kufanya dori, miguuni pana kitambaa kinazungushwa huku na huko kushoto kulia na nguo imefunika gubi gubi mwanzo wa kiuno kukiimbwa usiku;   -Mpesie, mpesi karitto, ikiya wenye bbabbaa.
Kode-Mchezo wa watoto wa kike wakichimba kishimo ardhini na kuweka mawe. Hurusha moja juu huku wakitoa na kusukuma zingine ndani kulingana na hesabu ya anayecheza bila ya kuimba.Mchezo ni wa mchana.
Tteba-Mchezo wa watoto hasa wa kike wakichora miraba ardhini kiasi cha wachezaji. Kipande cha mawe hutupwa kinyumenyume na kikiangukia chini ni,’tteba’, mchezo huanza kwa kurukaruka kutumia mguu mmoja mchana.
Pofu-Pafle-Mchezo wa watoto wakifukuzana majini aidha mtoni au ziwani. Ni wimbo alafu mbio wakipiga mbizi,mbio na kachombe kwa wimbo na kushangilia hasa nyakati za mchana;  -Pofuo-Pafle, Ddya mama- Ee, Aniaggiye-Ee,Ddyakwe!
Kinu Kya Hawito-Mchezo wa watoto nyakati za usiku wanapojilaza kwa amri ya mmoja wao, Ngalingaliee!; Wanalala macho juu, wakinyoosha mwili mzima:   - Kinuo kinu kya Hawito,kya mchelechele bbwoya bbwoya. –Mwezie-ee! Ee!,mwana chingicha mwana e mwana chingicha.   -Chiko chikoo! Haya.
Fiche (Rare)-  Mchezo wa watoto kufumba mkono nyuma migongoni na kuwambia wenzi wao watambue walichoficha kuwa kikulia au kushoto.                                                                                                                               
Chio-Mchezo wa watoto usiku wakifukuzana kwa zamu huku mmoja kafungwa kitambaa cha macho asione na kwa nyimbo;- Amfu kattuttu- ttuttuya, Nije ne fumo nije ne ttora? Njo ne fumo. - Chio kafwe macho, chio kaona.Huyo mhangaisheni huyo.
Msupepe-Mchezo wa watoto wa kupesapesa miguu hasa wanawake wakichuchumaa wawili wawili huku wamegeukiana wakiimba na kupigapiga mchanga kwa mikono yao yote;  - Msupepe mchanga moto kwauona.

Kinamddabbe-Mchezo wa watoto wakikimbizana ndani ya maji, nje na kwenye nyumba inayojengwa, hasa nyumba ya miti miti.Mmoja anafuata mwingine amguse huku wakiimba;
- Kinamddabbe, unakyo-anakyo.Mbio…..!
Akosee- Mchezo wa watoto mchana kwenye dori hasa wanawake. Wanapokezana viguguta  wakiimba;- Akosee nyaa zipho hamkuna mongo wa nyama. - Hoo hohoo Maramba kachi mwayano maramba. - Mamo niphe yukombe nikadye marikka nyamo.  - Kkosao mfunyeni kakosa.
Tandaule-Mchezo wa watoto wakinyoosha miguu wakikaguliwa kwa nyimbo;-
-Mosia tandaule nyota kwa mlima katiti simbanyo naiya kwa ngombe bburanyinga ho!.Ngombe zenu bburungale kwa jili kwa ngombe. Mwananimbwa bbwa, maddindye ho, mwananimbwa bbwa!      
-Moja na moja tandaule kwa magguyu ggwanya ggwanya, madindye hoo mwana nimbwa bbwa bbwa bbwa!
-Koko kokoya na malugga sangarse mumina. Mumino washindi shindi kajja waddoddo rubbesa. Abbo, kalimaddo, manguddo, ttalabba.

-Bbocha karara, magguyu chingicha, maneno mabaya, ttumbaku na nusu, nusura fwe!
-Dangulo dangulo, he ntanta yuwa, he yuwa yuwa mai, he mai mai kulotta, he kulotta kulotta simba, he simba  simbaegguru, he gguru gguru kongwe, whende kwa vironda.
Kwa nyingi nyingi- Watoto bado wakiwa kitako na miguu yao wameinyosha. Mwenye kuhisabu na aliye kiongozi anapitisha mkono na kuitingisha kofia ya goti.                                                                                                                                 
Kwa nyingi nyingi kwa nyingi nyingi,kona unazimbika seggera unga, kuko kumbika kumbuka kwa nyingi nyingi. - Nkuruttume nyade, saanga nyade.  - Ggumbu ggumbu ggumbu sole!

Dangalola-Huu ni mchezo kama kinamddabbe, watoto hufukuzana kwenye uwanja bila ya kwenda mbali. -Daanga loola-Samakia. Daanga loola- Samakia. Hasina nampata- kwampata. Hasina nampata-kwampata.
Addirise kiguyu-Mchezo wa watoto usiku wakishikana kwa pamoja na kurukaruka kwa mguu mmoja huku wakiimba;- Addirise kigguyuo e nangere, addirise kigguyu ajjeanisehe nangere. - Mwanahajjuyu ggoneyea keso maggura haonana.
Mwaraggidde- Mchezo wa watoto wakiwa chini kitako. Makundi mawili wamefuatana kwa mlolongo na kiongozi wao akimlenga kwa bunda la nguo amchukue kila anayempiga.Wengine wakijificha nyuma ya mgongo, huku wanaimba; - Mwaraggidde- buu, mare hekaani-hekaani
Piropiro-Mchezo wa watoto:  -Piropiro chamara, asiduna nayawe.   -Ggoromicho ee! Micho, koonde na konde
Kwangure mongo- Mchezo wa karibu kumalizia michezo wakati wa usiku watoto wanasinzia ishara ya, ‘twende tukalale.’ Mistari ni miwili na kila kalabba watu wawili hutawanyika na kutoka mistari yao upande upande na kwenda kwao;
- Kwangure mongo, haya. Mwanangu kalabba kalabba, haya.
- Mwanahajjuyu ggoneyea keso maggura haonana.

Ngware ni nyimbo za Kipokomo za dini kwa ndugu wakristo hasa wa chini- (Milanchini) Tana Delta. Huimbwa pia bila ya ngoma. Na sana, ni katika kusherehekea siku kuu ya Krismasi na mwaka mpya. Huimbwa usiku wa kuamkia tarehe moja Januari na washiriki ni wake kwa waume. Mfano wa nyimbo ni (Nilekeze Pwani) na (Naikurubia).
Mattalili huimbwa bila ya ngoma na ndugu waislamu wakati wa kuomboleza mtu akiaga na kabla ya kuzikwa. Wanawake huizunguka maiti ikiwa kitandani na hata wakiwa nje ya nyumba huku wakilia. Pindi mtu akifa iwe usiku hadi mchana mpaka azikwe, basi ni nyimbo tu za  huzuni.
Himatta ni nyimbo mashambani wanawake au waume wanapokutana kwa kulimiana. Ni jembe nyimbo. Mfano (Kirura Ami Saduna Kirura).
Funya ni nyimbo isiyo na ngoma kwa akina mama wapokomo. Mtu akiasi au kuwakosea wanawake, aidha sheria zao kuvunjwa hasa na waume, wanawake hujumuika kwa kumlipiza kisasi kwa kumkwangura kwa makucha au koa za mtoni. Humwimbia nyimbo za kumuapiza na kumlaani huku wakilia kwa mfano (Whendeni wake whendeni) na (Kahuddawia).

Yavia  ni hali ya kumtoa kipusa na kumkubali katika hali ya umama. Kwamba sasa ametosha kulea mume na nyumba yenye watoto. Kwamba akubali pia kujihusisha na hali ya maisha kwamba aliyekuoa amekuchongea. Nyimbo zake ni;( Unauke kauyawa kafungwa polwe ddya kichwa).
Sosobha ni kibembeleza mwana. Mtoto anapolia aidha kulia kwa kumkosa mama mzazi, kulilia njaa au maumivu, mkubwa wake humbembeleza. Ni kutokana na nyimbo ya aina hii ambapo nchi ya Kenya imejipatia wimbo wa taifa. Mfano wa nyimbo hizo ni:
Woi woi mwano, wanyoko waime, waime mupunga, mupunga nde wako, nde wako we kuddya, we kuddya unyamaiye njayoo!!( Oi! Mtoto nyamaza, ili wazazi walime, ili walime mpunga, wewe unapenda sana kula mpunga,ukila tu, huwa unatosheka).

Mwana nyamaya mwana nyamayo, nyoko kenda pwanie, sowe kenda pwanie! Na kuninyea na kunikojeeo.(Wee mtoto nyamaza, mamako alienda mtoni, babako alienda mtoni, wewe unanikunyia na kunikojelea).
Mddondo mddondo, hayuno mwana kaiyaani njoo muuddye. Mddondo ywangu kichwa na mukia.(Mdudu mdudu tafadhali, huyu hapa mtoto analia fika umtafune. Mdudu muhibu mwenye kichwa na mkia).
Bee mddondo be! Bee mddondo be! Akuddobbee ni naani, whende hukawabbigge wantu wa makondeni mwezi uyawa ni naani? (Ee mdudu! Ee mdudu! Nani alokuchokoza, tuende tukawapige wantu wa mashambani. Mbalamwezi ulitoka, ni nani?).
Akiiyoiyo humudoma mikomani, naye kanamba nicheze. Kajjende mwana, kajjende mwana naye njwa kiiyoiyo. Woi woiyee! Nyamaya kimye. Siiye mwano, siiye mwana nunu, nyamaya kimi. Nyamayo, nyamaya mwana bee! Nyamayo, nyamaya mwana bee kisasuzi. Kisasuzi mwana jjongoyoyo bee! (Analia na tumemuokota kichakani, na ananiambia nimuimbiye. Mtoto hanyamazi, na katu hatulii bado analia. Lo! Mungu wangu. Mtoto anyamaze. Usililie tena, usilie mtoto mzuri. Nyamaza kimya. Nyamaza kasha utulie tuli. Na ukitulia nitakufurahisha na nikupe kitu kizuri).
Hayudde nkimo, hayudde nkima, hayudde nkimaa mkoshoro karebbani kyambo (Ndiye Yule tumbiri, tumbiri mgiryama anasubiri chambo).
Nyalilo ni mchezo wa watoto. Koko ya embe ilitobolewa na kuwekwa kamba katikati. Inazungushwa koko hiyo na pindi ikivutwa huleta kasi fulani  na mlio tosha kuitwa mchezo.
Mpheru ni mchezo wa watoto wa kupiga pia ya mti. Mti huchongwa kiasi na hutegemea aina ya mti. Kibati kilichofungwa na mti kwa kamba hutumika kama usukani wa kuendesha pia hiyo. Kila kinapotandikwa huvuma na kuleta mlio. Watoto wawili au zaidi huvigonganisha vizuu hivyo na kinachozunguka na kizito kilichochongwa kwa usawa huviangusha vingine dhaifu.
Mphujju ni mchezo karibu sawa na mpheru wa kuzungusha pia. Tofauti ni kwamba, mpheru ni kigongo cha mti wowote, huchongwa. Mphujju, ni mmea au mti maalumu unaoitwa m’mphujju. Mti huo huzaa matunda aina ya mapera nayo huitwa mphujju. Tunda hilo likikauka mbegu zake humwagika tunda likitobolewa katikati. Ni kama mpira uutoboe juu na chini sawa sawa. Kijiti huchukuwa nafasi ya matundu yale mawili. Kwa kutumia kijiti kilichojikunja cha upongoo kutoka kwa mkindu, kamba hufungwa na ikizungushwa kwa kijiti cha tunda hili na kuachiliwa, tunda hucheza ngoma nzuri sana hadi mwisho hupumzika. Ni mchezaji airudie kazi hiyo tena na tena.
Ggao au saddyekka ni mchezo wa wazee wa kiume wakijitumbuiza barazani. Huu ni mchezo wa bao na unachezwa katika jamii nyingi duniani. Hauna wimbo ispokuwa kufanyiana mizaha kama vile kwenye karata, keramu  na drafu.

Ngwili ni nyimbo za ngoma kwa wanawake wa kipokomo mwanamke akizaa. Ngoma hii ala yake ni debe tupu lenye kuleta makelele ili anayezaa asisikike sauti akilia kwa maumivu hasa, anafichwa mtu mume asiijue siri ya uzazi unaumpata mkewe. Sauti ya hamasa na kushajiisha wanawake wakutane kwa haraka ya, Yee Wake! Kisha nyimbo mfululizo pamoja na msukumo wa anayezaa, huku wakimpiga na kumchuna. E kavyayo, ee kavyayo! Yaani, o! amejifungua. Huimbwa wakati wowote, usiku au mchana.
Beni huimbwa sana na wanawake wa Kipokomo kwa ndugu wakristo. Ni ngozi iliyowambwa kwa pipa kubwa litoe mlio mzito na watu warindime kama ilivyo ngoma hiyo.

ni ngoma ya kidini iliyoibuka katika tamasha za kuadhimisha siku ya kuzaliwa mtume Muhammad. Ni gwaride la sarakasi katika kuendeleza maghani ya maulidi barzanji na maulidi ya Kiswahili. Siku hizi, Samai imemea miguu na kuwa Zamuni, yaani kwata. Kama kawaida vazi la kanzu na kofia huvaliwa na vijana wakijumuika kando na wasichana wenye buibui. Ala za muziki ni ttwari, kigoma na zumari. Kwakuwa Mpokomo mwingi ni muislamu na amepakana na Mswahili, dini imekuwa ni mila yake na tamaduni ya uislamu katika kuijenga elimu ya dini na dunia alitumia ushairi, midundo na mahadhi ya kiislamu. Bila ya shaka hatuna budi kuingiza mada hii katika kundi hili la ngoma hasa ikikumbukwa ya kwamba ttwari  pia hutumia ngozi kama vile ngoma. Katika fani hii, hata kama si mwanzilishi, Mpokomo amebobea na kukubuhu ujuzi mwingi wa ngoma hii zaidi kuliko kabila yoyote Pwani.
Mtu huzaliwa na akawa mtu mkubwa. Akiwa njiani mtu hupitia mambo kadha wa kadha kimaisha ili akubalike katika hadhi, tabaka na daraja aliyonayo. Kwa mfano kijana hutahiriwa ili astiri uume wake huduma bora kwa mkewe.  Kijana anapotahiriwa hupitia daraja tofauti tofauti kule jandoni. Tohara (Ntinye) ni wakati wanapofanyiwa kitendo na ambapo ni mwanzo wa ngoma, alafu Tohara (Riggi) wakati kijana ashatahiriwa na mwisho ni Tohara (Lwebbe) kijana yuko tayari. Zipo nyimbo na ngoma zake hapa: (Yarhigha na Mbele), (Lele Mwobbe) na (Usikile Ubbaratte).  Miri ndiyo ngoma inayochezwa mchana kutwa na usiku kucha. Hujumuika wake kwa waume ili kuwangojea vijana watoke jandoni na kuelekea makwao. Njuga za kutengenezwa na miyaa huundwa na kuvaliwa miguuni kwa waume. Nkanyiki, shanga, ngorosho na kkone, huvaliwa maungoni, kiunonu na shingoni. Mikononi wameshikilia nchoncho huku wamevalia ttama vichwani mwao.  Wanawake nao ni Vumba vichwani mwao, vichida shingoni, Hida maungoni pamoja na shanga. Nyimbo za mchezo wa Miri ni nyingi, bali sana ni (Jjabha Kayulelo)

Gganga ni aina ya ngoma ya Kipokomo ichezwayo na wazee wakienda kurogga, wakitoa
huduma ya matibabu kutoa jinni  (Kidumbwe)na kufurahikia. Kwa mfano wanaimba: (Gganga mekuya). Hapa ni furaha na mchanganyiko wa huzuni kwa wote. Gganga na Miri ni viungo tosha kwenye halmashauri ya serikali kuu ya wazee wa Kipomomo zama zile, yaani Kijjo na Waggangana. Washingo huchezwa na watu wa kawaida kufurahikia jambo au tukio Fulani.

Wanawake kwa waume wenye rika moja ndio washiriki. Usiku au mchana ndio ngoma hunoga. Mfano wa nyimbo yake ni: (Muharia Ywangu).

Kittoko ni mchezo pia huchezwa wake kwa waume sana kwa kufurahikia hali Fulani wakati maalumu kama vile baada ya kazi, mavuno na arusini. Nyimbo kama (Mattolibi walonioza).

Ngoma hizi zote hapo juu hutumia ala aina ya ngoma kubwa, ikiandamwa na kijigoma kidogo na kijidebe kilichogongwa na vijiti. Pembe au koa hupulizwa kuletwa shangwe na vigelegele.
Mwaribe  huchezwa kwa ajili ya furaha vile vile usiku au mchana. Ngoma aina ya sondo na pia pilingwa, vumi na uttasha ugongwao na vijiti hutumika. Mfano wa nyimbo iimbwayo wakati huo ni: (Mboya si ddya kuhenda).

 Ttaireni ni ngoma ya mzuka au kutoa mapepo yaliyowakabili wagonjwa. Nyimbo aina hii ndizo huimbwa: (Farasi Wangu Panda). Mgonjwa anaweza kuwa mke au mume. Utasha, Vumi na kijigoma ndizo hutumika.
Wanawake wakijifungua (Ngia Nyumbani), hukaa ndani ya nyumba kwa siku thelathini na tisa bila ya kutoka nje. Siku ya arubaini ni sherehe ya kutoka (Yawa Nyumbani). Mchezo huu ni wa wanawake, tena wale waliopata bahati ya kuzaa hata kama mtu amezaa kisha mtoto akafa hajazaa tena. Mfano wa nyimbo zao ni (Hida Kiwaluwalu). Kidundu (Kikaha) ndicho kinachotumika kama ala ya kuchezea ngoma. Ngoma ya aina hii ambayo kwa jumla ni ngoma ya akina mama pekee, huitwa (Mea Wake). Bali watu wa jamii ya juu huita  Kingika (Wantua dzuu) na Kuphanga (Milanchini).

Wapokomo wako na ngoma nyingi nadhani kuliko kabila yeyote nchini Kenya.  Ngoma hizi nyingi ni za kuwambwa na ngozi aidha ya mnyama mwitu kama nyati, kuro, swara au mnyama wa kufugwa kama mbhzi na ng’ombe. Mti maalumu kulingana na itikadi huchongwa kwa namna Fulani ili kukidhi haja ya mchezo ule. Wakati  mwingine chuma hutumika endapo mti ulikosekana kuchongwa kwani si kila mtu huchonga. Vipo vifaa vingine vingi vinavyotumika kuunda ngoma. Vifaa vingine ni siri ya wazee wa Gassa. Hivi ndivyo vifaa vingine: Ngoma mzuka, ngoma ttaireni, ngoma wggangana, mwaribe, pilingwa, vumi, ttwari, beni, uttasha na kadhalika.

Story Prepared  By
Fatma Mansoor
Elimu Asilia , 2014
Research Institute of Swahili Studies in Eastern Africa (RISSEA)
National Museums of Kenya