The Agikuyu Customs and Religious Significance of Tiri in the Mau Mau Struggle
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This research attempts to analyse the Agikuyu beliefs, customs, and religious rituals related to tiri and their significance and role in the Mau Mau struggle. This has been done by obtaining information from oral interviews, written documents, and archival records. The study is divided into five chapters and a conclusion. The first chapter introduces the work by identifying the problem of research. It has high-lighted the Agikuyu relationship to their land and the beliefs attached to it. To the Agikiyu land was considered sacred and the concept of tiri has been derived from it. This chapter also gives the objectives of the study. These objectives highlights the major theme of the study, that is the religious significance of the concept of tiri among the Agikuyu. The chapter also shows how the concept of tiri influenced the Agikiyu during the Mau Mau struggle. The chapter has also given the historical and geographical justification on the study area, Kiambu. It also gives the methodology used and concluded by analysing the literature review. This review concerns literature that ridicules Mau Mau in an attempt to degrade it. The review also covers the literature mainly from African writers who view Mau Mau positively. Chapter two is a description of the Agikuyu people, their beliefs and practices prior to the coming of the Europeans, and the religious significance of their concept of tiri. The chapter analyses the myth of creation among the Agikuyu, the systems of land acquisition and land utilization. It is concluded with the religious rituals related to tiri as practised by the Agikuyu. All these beliefs and practices bring out the observation that there was a strong relationship between the Agikuyu and their land. Chapter three has explored in details the coming of the Europeans in Kiambu district. It has analysed the interruption on the system of land tenure, land utilisation, as well as the changes in religious practices connected with tiri. It is a fact that the Europeans had some positive aspects to offer to the Agikuyu, but it has to be emphasised that, it was their interruption of the Agikuyu social, economical, and cultural system, that caused and accelerated the Mau Mau struggle. The interruption of the beliefs and practices especially is seen as a major cause for revolt among the Agikuyu who had put so much religious value to their land. In chapter four, the role of tiri in the Mau Mau struggle has been discussed. The religious significance of tiri in various Mau Mau activities such as songs, oaths, and prayers are examined. The chapter concludes by observing that tiri played a major role in all these aspects. Tiri acted as a central unifying factor among the people. In the final chapter, the concept of tiri after the Mau Mau struggle is analysed. This has been done by summarising the changes that have occurred in the systems of land tenure, land utilisation, and religious beliefs held in relation to land. The chapter concludes by giving an analysis of these changes in relationship to the concept of tiri today. This concept which was a major principle before and during the Mau Mau struggle, is shown to have changed to one of a monetary economic value. This is indicated in the general conclusion.