Wayyuu Banoo: The Father of Hunting (Waata community) (2020) by Shujaa StoriesNational Museums of Kenya
Wayyuu Banoo: The Father of Hunting among the Waata
The Waata are Oromo-speaking people who live mainly beside the Tana River in Lamu District of Kenya. According to Waata legend, there lived a rich ancestor called Wayyuu Banoo who offended Waaqa, the Oromo Sky-God, in the course of a traditional board game.
The myth explains how Wayyuu Banoo, a rich livestock owner, challenged a visiting stranger to a contest of wealth while the game was in progress. The stranger, who was none other than Waaqa or God himself, punished Wayyuu for his arrogance by totally wiping out his herds except for one billy goat.
When Wayyuu Banoo realised his mistake, he asked for Waaqa's forgiveness and help. Waaqa not only forgave Wayyuu but he also bestowed on him the skill needed to fashion a bow and an arrow and also to make poison for the arrow. He then instructed Wayyuu Banoo to sacrifice the remaining billy goat.
Wayyuu became the father of the hunting tradition of the Waata. They consider hunting a divine gift, whose values they continue to transmit to the younger generation through these symbolic means.
According to myth, Waaqa, in compensation, gifted all Bineensa or wild animals to the Waata as their exclusive property.
The Waata commemorate this event annually by sacrificing a billy goat and performing songs and dances in honour of the elephant and other animals that they once hunted. They consider hunting a divine gift, whose values they continue to transmit to the younger generation through these lingering ceremonies.
Wayyuu Banoo, the founder of the Waata and creator of their hunting tradition is also credited with establishing the Qaalluu or shaman dynasty.
The Qaalluu play an indispensable role in all life cycle and transition ceremonies among the Oromo people including the Borana and the Gabbra, and are always rewarded with special parts of sacrificed animals.
All these innovations are owed to Wayuu Banoo whose legacy endures.
Wayyuu Banoo's legacy lives on
The Tana River Delta is an Important Bird Area (IBA) and a Global Biodiversity Hotspot. The Tana Delta is also part of the Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa. It’s ecosystem is thus of global importance in biodiversity conservation.
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)