City The Mijikenda cursed men who slept with neighbours wives
The Mijikenda of the Kenyan Coast revered cohesion among the community and therefore reserved the worst curses for any sin that affected harmony among members.
According to Vincent Mwachiro, Mijikenda Community Council secretary General, any man who took the life of another member and couldn’t prove just course put his entire community in the firing line of the most dreaded curse of the tribe.
“They had to pay ‘Kore’ which basically meant that they had to offer a substitute for the slain man to his kin,” says Mwachiro.
This basically means that one member from the clan of the killer had to switch allegiance to the clan of the slain person. Blood money and further bloodshed in the form of revenge was simply not acceptable.
“We had some people who were members of clans to which they were never originally born into and concord was thus restored,” says Mwachiro.
If by any chance, the clan of an offending member failed to comply, misfortune would visit the entire clan and they would serve as an example.
Another dreaded curse befell those who slept with wives of their neighbours.
“If caught, they were required to pay ‘Malu’. This was a payment set to relieve the anger of the husband. Again, to make it effective, the clan of the offending man were required to pay for their randy son’s escapades so that they would take a more active role in ensuring that he behaves in future,” says Mwachiro.
They had to move with speed so that the rest of the community did not put a curse on all of them and label them thieves of other people’s women.
“Of course this kid of infamy came with some of the worst torments imaginable as it was basically a curse that would even affect their future generations,” says the elder.
Defiling minors would bear a personal curse that would affect the offender throughout his life.
“There was no expiation from that sin and offenders would carry the cross for as long as they lived,” says Mwachiro.
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