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Tharaka Nithi elders abstain from sex ahead of rainfall ritual

By Winnie Mabel September 22nd, 2023 2 min read

In the Tharaka Nithi community, there is a folklore about a person called Kibuka.

According to the National Museums of Kenya, Kibuka was the Tharaka’s spiritual leader, a medicine man, diviner and rain maker. After Kibuka, there was the Council of Elders who are the judicial authority of the community responsible for law and order, decision making, religion and administration.

In this modern times, Tharaka elders still participate in rituals for various purposes including animal sacrifices to God, cursing rituals to punish people and to ‘call’ for rain.

On September 21, 2023, Tharaka elders held rituals and in a a video in Nairobi News’ possession, one of the elders explained what had taken place, why it had taken place and what the elders were required to do before appearing for the rituals.

“The elders, organized by the Society for Alternative Learning, recreated this ritual so that we can explore our reconnection with our allegiants and our ancestors. And we are here to pronounce peace to the world and one of the things we can learn from what we have done is that the Elders can also organize the activities and these activities are critical, that we appreciate. We live in a diversity of cultures and we are here today to appreciate the culture of the Tharaka people,” began the elder.

He went on to explain that since they began the rituals, Tharaka community has a number of things they can be proud of including the rain, claiming that despite rain seasons being difficult, Tharaka people did not struggle much with food production and sales. He also mentioned that because of appeasing Kibuka,  a curse that had been bestowed upon Tharaka people was lifted and sons of Tharaka Nithi County are flourishing in various places including senior government positions.

The elder went on to reveal how the elders had prepared themselves to participate in the rituals.

“The elders have also not taken breakfast. So one of the commitment of this prayer is to abstain from food and sex. It is a recommendation from this process that those who participate, they take the prayer and for it to be answered seriously and there are quite some demands for the elders to be able to observe,” explained the elder.

Currently, Kenya is gearing up for the el-Nino rains. According to the Kenya Metrological Department in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, El Nino rains are expected to fall during the October to December season. El Nino effects are more pronounced during this season and are associated with average rainfall over Kenya. However, the rainfall will be determined with finality by the strength of the El Nino.

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