I am back with some more Kikuyu songs/rhymes from my childhood years. I noticed lots of you loved them and keep searching. Seriously, that was the life. I made mum and dad sing them and they did, joyfully, to the amusement of my baby bro and sis who have never heard most of them before. Needless to say, I had forgotten some words. I am old, people. You should see the white hairs on my head.

If I find or remember more after this, you can be sure I will add them here for you to walk down memory lane with me. Continued from last time.

Song Six

Nu, nu waiya mburi?
Nu, nu waiya mburi?
Maitu ndume wone,
Maitu ndume wone,
Ni igiri, ni igiri,
ni igiri, ni igiri,
Na ciuma ithatu!

Who, who stole the goats?
Who, who stole the goats?
Mum come and see, Mum come and see,
They are two, two, two,
And they were three!

This song is sang to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”. I remembered it after that cute baby on Kameme FM sang it during one episode of the children’s programme on Saturdays. You know that kid? The one who can’t pronounce big Kikuyu words like ‘kurugaruga‘? Makes my Saturday mornings.

Song Seven

Joma, kihuti, mumero ugituura
Gutiri, dawa, I hinya, gukira Cofta
(Ati atia cofta lol)

Flu, cold, throat pain
There is no medicine with power like Cofta
(Say what Cofta)

First of all, all along, I used to sing it wrong. We said it as mumero wa nguku for some strange reason. Mum corrected me recently. Apparently, joma is another name for homa. I had no idea what it was back then when we sang it while going round four boxes drawn on the ground. Sometimes, we would do it on an old tyre. The singing game involved you getting a partner and jumping around the four squares in circular motion while throwing your legs about without a care in the world.

Song Eight

Wangware, Wangware,
Kururia mwana tukanyue maai thiririkaini!

Wamucuha-i maai magwa-i,
maitika thii-i, nandikunde-e,
ndaciariirwo o hau!

Wangware, Wangware
Drag the kids we go drink water in the stream!

Wamucuha the water has fallen
And spilled on the ground, without my sipping it
I was born right there!

These are two rhymes. I always related them both because they are short and make no sense whatsoever. I guess that’s the whole point of being a kid.

Song Nine

Nguringa caitani ngundi ndimugaragarie
Na wona agaragara ndimuringe iteke

Caitani ni kahote, gatiri na tuhindi
Tuguru ni tucembe, na tuoko ni tuhoma

Caitani ndangihota kunyita,
Na mbarathi kana motokaya
Ona angitumirira mathangu
Ndorete kwa Ngai ndanginyita!

I will punch Satan then roll him
Then when he rolls,
I will kick him

Satan is defeated, he has no bones
His legs are hoes and his hands are forks

Satan cannot catch me
On a horse or motorcar
Even if he sews wings on
When I am headed to God’s, he cannot catch me!

These are three songs, obviously, Sunday School-ish. I always relate them too. Plus they are clearly very childish. That’s how we were taught to imagine Satan.

Song Ten

Kairitu karia twari ndugu,
ndakona Dagoreti Kona
Gekirite ngima muhuko, gakauga ni keki
Na ni riria ndari thibitari
Ndionire mundu wa kunyona
No mwendwa wakwa wokire na cai birika imwe

The girl with whom we were friends,
I saw her at Dagoretti Corner
With ugali in her pocket, claiming it was cake
And when I was in the hospital I did not see anyone come see me
But my love came with tea in a kettle

This was mum’s favourite. We would sing it with her a lot, with our hands held out to each other in those clapping motions, similar to the English singing games. (E.g. “By shot I love you baby” What did this one even mean?)

And because y’all deserve better than just song and rhyme. I will leave you with this classic tale. [two_columns_one]

Tene tene muno ri ni kwari muthungu,
wahaataga nja yake,
kanyoni ka nja gagiuka,
gakimia, muthungu agigakora,
agikooria, “Niki wamia nja yakwa?”
kanyoni gakiuga,”Ti kumia ngumiaga, ni itina ngumemagia, me, me, me!”

Long long time ago, there was a white man
He was sweeping his compound
A little bird came
It pooped
The white man found it and asked, “Why are you pooping in my compound?”
The little bird said, “I was not pooping, I was just…

Karugano gakwa gathirira hau. 🙂

Written by Shiku Ngigi

Mum and dad’s daughter. Shouting big sister. Learning to listen. Jesus freak. Recovering tomboy. Mouse potato. Bass addict. Waking up the writer in her.

    17 Comments

  1. njeri August 29, 2014 at 10:03 pm Reply

    huhuhuhu!! okay shiku!
    you just made me suing all those songs and i felt a kid again!!

    • Shiku Ngigi August 30, 2014 at 11:30 am Reply

      o/

  2. julie September 1, 2014 at 4:39 pm Reply

    hehehe….my children will have to learn these songs….love them.

    • Shiku Ngigi September 1, 2014 at 5:07 pm Reply

      Will pass on the songs to mine too!

  3. Wanjiku September 11, 2014 at 3:14 pm Reply

    hehehe I forgot the Joma kihuti mumero…. waah nice memory…I love the way we would Karugano gakwa gathirira hau 🙂 always with a smile, because there was always a happy ending

    it was worth growing in those days!!

    • Shiku Ngigi September 11, 2014 at 6:07 pm Reply

      Beautiful memories. 🙂

  4. carolmsuper November 18, 2014 at 11:41 pm Reply

    hahahaha! Props for documenting history that may easily be forgotten. I just googled “Njeri koma” and your blod showed up! Good job!

    • Shiku Ngigi November 19, 2014 at 10:33 am Reply

      🙂 Gotta keep that heritage alive.

  5. ann December 17, 2014 at 1:45 pm Reply

    can i get a kikuyu oral narrative written in kikuyu

    • Shiku Ngigi December 17, 2014 at 4:14 pm Reply

      That might be hard to come by on the Internet, Ann. But I’ll let you know of any developments.

  6. chegeh kariuki February 23, 2015 at 11:28 am Reply

    am impressed,i have been trying to teach my kids and i learned the best way to teach them kikuyu is through songs.

  7. chegeh kariuki February 24, 2015 at 12:37 pm Reply

    i need audio,kindly shiku send me your email address…..kchegeh2004@yahoo.com

    • Shiku Ngigi February 26, 2015 at 4:15 am Reply

      Hi Chege! Got it.

  8. teacher maina September 21, 2015 at 11:35 am Reply

    Thanks Shiku! We run a kindergarten school in Athi river planning on a cultural day at the end of the year. Trying to pass on what we remember before it all disappears…

    • Shiku Ngigi September 21, 2015 at 11:46 am Reply

      Beautiful!

  9. Naomi July 13, 2016 at 10:27 pm Reply

    where are you? this must not stop!!!

  10. Kinyua Njeri February 27, 2017 at 11:20 am Reply

    Hahaha! Funniest read of the week!

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