Tuesday, 11 September 2018

An Ode to Queen Mumbi - Waithira Mbuthia

She wears a crown
In most unconventional place,
Where daughters left
Their names enshrined
In nine stretchmarks:1

She’s Queen Mumbi,
The mother of my clan,
Whose once voluptuous
Breasts brought Gikuyu
Tumbling down Kirinyaga Mount.

The dimples in her bottom,
The exhausted loins,
The flabbiness in her thighs—
All insignia of a people’s origin:

I speak in her tongue,
Echoing proverbs and parables:
She’s my blood, my flesh—
The muse of my ways.

Waithira Mbuthia (20th century) Kenya
Source: Bomb Magazine

  1. Part of the mythical origin of her people, the Agikuyu, or the Kikuyus as the missionaries called them. One man, Gikuyu, from whom the tribe’s name is derived went to Ngai (God), who reigned at the top of Kirinyaga (Mt. Kenya), the sacred mountain, to request a bride, he was presented with Mumbi (name means creator), with whom he bore nine daughters —Waithira, Wambui, Wangui, Wacera, etc.— whose names came to represent the clan names: Aithirandu from Waithira, Ambui from Wambui, etc. Later the nine daughters were presented, by Ngai, with nine gentlemen. The union of these produced the Agikuyu tribe.

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