Tom Malesi is an influential blogger who writes for the standards popular crazy Monday. Known for his articulate command of language and the ability to impregnate ideas into the minds of the many, including yours truly, which stir up hotbeds in our own minds. The following article is an example of a post rather quite influential thus for what’s to further come… (Crazy Monday – January 25th 2016.)
WELCOME TO KENYA, A HOT BED OF WEIRD SUPERSTITIOUS BELIEFS
Every community in this country has cultutal beliefs than others find weird. Look at Luhyas, for instance. Not long ago, a council of elders shocked Kenyans when they attributed increased marital woes and single parenthood in the community to – get this – women eating gizzards.
According to the community’s ‘food code’, it’s an abomination for women to eat gizzards. It only eaten by married men and, in their absence, sons. In absence of both, it’s given to an elderly male neighbour. Also, two people, can’t share one gizzard. If they do, locals believe, it can cause tension, hatred or regular fights between them. So serious is this ‘food code’ taken that a Luhya man in Mumias recently clobbered his wife and reported her to the village headman for eating a gizzard meant for him. Such attrition of culture attracts severe punishment like a wife being sent back to her parents to be taught good manners. In extreme cases, its sufficient grounds for divorce.
Even in this modern times, when objective evidence is of utmost importance when looking for solutions to problems that plaque mankind, we have educated and spiritual people who still cherish silly and irrational cultures, myths and beliefs of yore. Most of us corporate types always brag that superstition is beneath us, yet we like telling others. “Keep your fingers crossed” when giving them hope for a positive result and wishing them good luck. And I ask, is there any relationship or connection between luck, hope and crossed fingers? Or just because crossed fingers from the sign of the cross, we assume God will somehow intervene? My friend, that’s superstition.
Where I came from, it’s common to see a daft man make a silly mistake like marrying a scatter-brained woman, and when they give birth to bird-brained children, they blame a jealous neighbour for having bewitched their kids. Alternatively, a lazy bum, masquerading as a farmer goes to his shamba, haphazardly does his thing in two minutes and rushes to the local market centre, where he spends the better part of the day chewing gum, yawning, sunning himself like a lizard, politicking and gossiping. But when his expected bumper harvest doesn’t come by, he blames his ancestors or neighbours for having cursed him and his farm.
Most of us blanket ourselves in myths and backward beliefs that force us to relate two or more events that have absolutely no influence on one another, even when scientific evidence has proved lack of such links.
Look, folklore, for instance, has it that if you have itchy palms, chances are very high you will receive money. Most of us still believe this is true. What’s more, my people frown upon opening an umbrella indoors. They believe doing so is inviting bad luck to rain upon one. The locals believe the umbrella is meant to protect one against vagaries of bad weather. So opening it indoors is an insult to the guardian angels and spirits in the house, who will sulk and go on a go-slow, leaving the house unprotected.
To others, sweeping at night is an abomination for it wipes away blessings. Not long ago while visiting a Nairobi-based uncle of mine, a man I consider sufficiently enlightened, he paused the TV and gave his teenage son an elaborate tongue lashing for whistling at night. I found the incident hilarious and rolled on the ground with laughter. He claimed whistling at night brings bad omen, especially death of a family member.
Meanwhile, some people believe when you knock your toe on the ground several times while walking or choke on food or drink, chances are very high someone is backbiting you. To others, woe unto you if you break a mirror for you invite misfortune for seven years! Superstitious beliefs abound across Kenya, it’s just that most are practiced secretly.
Well there is more of the story on page 6 of the same issue of crazy Monday January 25th 2016.