Mepoho: The respected seer from the Mijikenda

MipohoElders dancing to a Giriama dance

Mepoho was a powerful and respected seer among the Mijikenda.

Her prophesies were respected and people would follow her advice. Nevertheless, very little is known about her. What is known is that she hailed from Kaloleni. Some of Mepoho’s prophesies created a point of controversy on the myth that the Mijikenda from Singwaya (or Shungwaya), which was to the north of the Somali coast. The historical accuracy of this myth contradicts the prophesy of Mepoho who prophesized the coming of the White people.

The myth has it that the Mijikenda migrated from Shungwaya in the 16th century. Vasco Da Gama and other explorers came to East Coast of Africa (Kenya Coast) as early as the 14th century. The Persians and the Chinese of course, came to this region much earlier.

If Mepoho foretold of their coming it is obvious that the Mijikenda settled on Kenyan Coast much earlier than the 16th century. Many people often confuse Mepoho with Mekatilili wa Menza.

THE MIRACLE

No one knows Mepoho’s biological parents. According to cultural accounts, a group of women in Kaloleni walked to fetch water in a nearby water pan on an early morning. There was a heavy down pour the night before. The rain was accompanied by thunder and lightning. No one dared walk out of their house when it rained like such.

The women welcomed by the cries of a newborn bay when they reached the water pan. The women wondered how the baby got to the water pan by itself as there were no foot prints to indicate someone has been there before them. One of the women decided to take the child. The baby girl was wrapped in blue cloth (musimbiji). In the Mijikenda community, Musimbiji signifies divinity. It is a type of clothes worn by seers and diviners.

Residents made a thorough such to establish if there was a woman in the neighborhood who had delivered a baby in the recent days but there was none.

BECAME A SEER

The baby girl grew up, like expected, she became a seer. She used to foretell things to come in the future. As a norm, seers must organize and take part in spiritual dances (Ngoma za Pepo). It is during such dances when the seers would foretell what will happen in the future. She could foretell of a catastrophe such as drought, famine, floods or any impending disaster.

There is no account to show that Mepoho got married.

In Kaloleni sub county, there is a shrine where it is believed Mepoho sunk after giving her last prophesy. The shrine still exists to date, though it has been encroached. One day she demanded that a spiritual dance (Ngoma za Pepo) be performed at the location of the shrine as she had important message to tell the community. She sat on her three-legged traditional Giriama chair as the dance started.

THE PROPHESY

As the dance reached the climax, Mepoho got possessed and started to narrate her prophecy thus:

“There will come people with white hair like sisal fibers. When these people come, you will also see vehicles in the sky, on water and on the land. You will see young girls giving birth to babies. They will also take snuff. When you see these things happen, your culture will be destroyed. And your land shall be taken away from you”. She ended by saying

“I have told you of these things, I am tired and I do not want to see our culture destroyed. Am going away,”

As she sat on her three legged stool the earth opened and she was swallowed alive.

Be the first to comment on "Mepoho: The respected seer from the Mijikenda"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*