Mukite Wa Namene: The Drumming Warrior (Bukusu community) (2019) by Shujaa StoriesNational Museums of Kenya
Mukite wa Namene: the drumming warrior
Among the Bukusu, a story is told of an orphaned boy who was born in the 1790’s rose up against all odds to beat drums of war and unite the people of Bukusu Land.
Mukite wa Nameme was his name. His parents were killed by the Bamia of the Teso tribe and for the rest of his childhood, he was forced to live as a refugee in Ebukabalasi because the Bamia also displaced and dispersed his people.
Mukite wa Nameme grew into a fearless man. As the farming season of 1822 neared, he walked far and wide beating the drums of war and gathering his kinsmen together.
His mission was to lead his people in reclaiming the land that was rightfully theirs from their oppressors, the Bamia and other tribes that had taken over their land.
When the people answered his call and returned to their motherland, he organized military training, built forts and forged weapons for the Bukusu warriors.
He was a military strategist who developed unique military tactics that would give the Bukusu an advantage over their enemies. He taught the Bukusu warriors not to flee from battle. He divided his army into three divisions: intelligence, the front guard and the rear guard.
Consequently, the previously cowardly Bukusu warriors turned into ruthless warriors. Mukite wa Nameme’s organization of the Bukusu people is said to have been level only with that of Maina wa Nakutale, the leader before him. But No one could compare with Mukite wa Nameme in terms of military skill and wit.
When the Bukusu went to war with the Teso, this time the tables turned. The Teso were given a thorough beating in the battlefield.
The Abatachoni, Abasamia, Abawanga and the Luo of Ugenya were not spared either. Even the fierce Wakwavi, or Uasin Gishu Maasai as they were known were driven away across the Kuywa River. Before this victory, it was unfathomable that the Bukusu would fight the Maasai and win.
Yet, Mukite wa Nameme was not satisfied with these victories. He was determined to teach the Abanyala of Port Victoria a lesson that they would never forget as they had tormented and violated married Bukusu women who had sought refuge in their land.
To this day, Mukite wa Nameme’s bravery and how he united the Bukusu people is a tale told with pride.
Mukite wa Nameme’s legacy lives on:
Mukite wa Nameme taught military skills to win battles. Today we have different battles: we fight poverty, pollution, food and water scarcity.
To win these battles we need to learn new skills: to farm without destroying the soil, to use solar power and cooking gas, to stop discarding plastic bags and bottles. Most important, we need to leave forests and wetlands undisturbed so that they can provide us with ecosystem services.
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)