Luanda Magere: The Invincible (Luo community) (2019) by Shujaa StoriesNational Museums of Kenya
Luanda Magere the Great Warrior of the Luo
No Luo Warrior has had a more profound effect on the community, than Luanda Magere, son of the Sidho clan. His name means the ‘fierce rock’, or the rock that builds and this shows just how mighty this warrior once stood.
Tales are told of his unearthly powers and his skin of stone. It is said that he was indestructible and spears, arrows and clubs simply bounced off his body. His extraordinary ability to tear entire armies apart is celebrated up to this day. The Nandi were the Luo’s traditional enemies and were extremely good at fighting especially at night.
On the other hand, Luanda Magere and his tribesmen were better fighters during the daytime. While people were fighting, Luanda would be seen at home smoking tobacco but if he heard that the Nandi were threatening his people, he would ask that his shield and spear be brought immediately.
The ensuing battles would have Luanda strike down so many Nandi Warriors at once that the rest would have no option but to flee. So afraid of the mighty Luanda were the Nandi that whenever they would hear that he was also on the battlefield, they would all run back to their lands.
Luanda Magere would at times even follow them to their homes and take their cattle, their most prized possessions. It eventually reached a point where the Nandi gave up fighting Luanda Magere as they did not know what to do to defeat him. They left him alone, deciding that he was indeed God’s miracle.
Luanda’s downfall however, came in the form of his Nandi wife. The Nandi had given him their most beautiful girl in order to appease him and make him leave their cattle alone.
It so happened that one day Luanda fell sick and his first wife was not around to nurse him. He chose to call his Nandi wife to bring him medicine. He instructed the Nandi wife to cut his shadow with a knife to administer his medicine. Imagine her shock when she saw the shadow bleeding!
That same night, the sly Nandi wife sneaked back to her people and told them of Luanda’s secret and they attacked the same night using the element of surprise. Caught unprepared, Luanda and the Luos fought bravely and outmatched the Nandi.
It was almost dawn when the cowardly attackers retreated in defeat. And Then one Nandi warrior remembered that Luanda’s shadow bled. He stood on top of a hill and struck a spear into Luanda’s emerging shadow. Alas! The mighty Luanda fell down and died and his body turned to stone.
All of a sudden, strong winds blew over the land of the Nandi and Kano, the land of Luanda’s people. And then, a two-year drought followed Luanda Magere’s death. Luanda appeared to the Luo elders in dreams and told them where he had died.
Luanda's legacy lives on
To this day, the place he died is revered and people come from far and wide to conduct rituals and prayers at the stone. To this day the story of Luanda Magere is passed on from generation to generation.
Research field work was undertaken in Samburu and Marsabit (for Gabbra, Samburu, Rendille, Saakuye, Dasanach, Elmolo, Waayu a.k.a Waata, and Burji superheroes/heroines), Embu and Tharaka (for Aembu, Tharaka, Ameru and Mbeere superheroes/heroines), Mombasa ( for Boni, Swahili, Pokomo, Segeju and Bajuni superheroes/heroines)and Taita-Taveta/Voi (for Taveta superheroes/heroines) capturing all information about the heroes from the 40 selected ethnic groups/communities by Museum’s research team. The illustrations were done using digital media by Shujaa Stories Limited.
National Museums of Kenya - Contributors
Mzalendo Kibunjia (PhD) - Director General
Purity Kiura (PhD) - Director Antiquities, Sites & Monuments
Julias Juma Ogega - Senior Curator/Research Scientist
Njuguna Gichere - Research Scientist
Lydia Gatundu - Art of Curator
Emmanuel Kariuki - Exhibit Designer
Philemon Nyamanga - Curator/Research Scientist
Mercy Gakii - Curator/Research Scientist
Imelda Muoti - Curator/Archivist
Innocent Nyaga - Marketing Officer
Suzanne Wanjaria - Exhibits Designer
Ray Balongo Khaemba - Senior Collection Manager
Raphael Igombo - Education Officer
Eddy Ochieng – Photographer/Videographer
Shujaa Stories Ltd
Tatu Creatives Ltd
Shujaa Stories Ltd
Shujaa Stories Ltd – Contributors
Masidza Sande Galavu - Illustrator
Jeff Muchina- Editing
Martha Shavuya Galavu - Illustrator
Brian Kiraga – Research and Writing
Daisy Okoti - Editing
Shani Mutarura - Editing
Juelz Laval – Photography/Videographer
Linda Tambo - Photography
Nature Kenya- The East Africa Natural History Society (EANHS)