Mwamsimburi: The Fiery Leader of the Wasegeju

Mwamsimburi: The Fiery Leader of the Wasegeju (2020) by Shujaa StoriesNational Museums of Kenya

Mwamsimburi: The Fiery Leader (Segeju community)

Mwamsimburi: The Fiery Leader of the Wasegeju
In the 16th century, the Wasegeju people inhabited an area north of the Tana River known as Shingwaya. It was around that period that a vicious band of marauders known as Wazimba marched north from the Zambezi, plundering and pillaging up the East African Coast. Wazimba threatened the town of Mombasa and were met by an army of 3000 Segeju warriors led by Mwamsimburi.

Mwamsimburi: The Fiery Leader (Segeju community)

Picture this scene. The warriors stand in position. Their muscles aching in anticipation but they held their ground, waiting for Mwamsimburi’s signal and soon enough they heard it. They leapt forward as their war cries rent the air. The 3000 Segeju warriors attacked the Wazimba marauders and a few days later, the ground was soaking up the blood of the Wazimba. The Wasegeju had won. The year was 1580.

Mwamsimburi: The Fiery Leader (Segeju community)

Oral tradition states that using his skills and experience from defeating the Wazimba, Mwamsimburi later led the Wasegeju westward up to a place near Voi, and in the process managed to escape the treacherous plains of Tsavo and protecting them from the marauding lions. They built shelters using branches of trees and grass to shield them from the rain and from the sun it was too hot. They hunted animals for food and ate wild fruits along the way, enjoying the view of the open, vast land of Voi and the Taita hills on the beautiful blue horizon.

The Wasegeju then split into three different bands. One band travelled south to the Tanzania border and crossed the Umba River to their homeland in Tanzania. Mwamsimburi led another band that later came to settle in the foothills of the Usambara Mountains at a place called Bwiti. The last band of armed Wasegeju men marched along the coast, defeating and evicting the Digo and Bondei people who were living there. These men took Digo wives and settled along the coast in the present Vanga area.

The Wasegeju honour Mwasimburi and his story continues to be told through generations.

Mwamsimburi's legacy lives on
The Taita Hills, sometimes also spelled as Teita Hills, are a mountain range located in Taita-Taveta, in south-eastern Kenya. The hills consist of three massifs: Dawida, Sagalla in the southern side of Voi township and Kasigau in the south, near the border of Tanzania. The Dawida massif is the largest and tallest of the three, with an altitude of 2,228 metres (7,310 ft.) above sea level at its highest peak, Vuria. Dawida has three other main peaks: Iyale, Wesu, and Susu.

Credits: Story

Credits: Story
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

Concept Developer:
Shujaa Stories Ltd

Creative Direction:
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

Other Contributors
Nature Kenya- The East Africa Natural History Society (EANHS)
Spellcast Media

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Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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