Re-traditioning

Letter from Kenya

Standing on a dusty Nairobi roundabout amid exhaust fumes and blaring horns, several hundred young men raise their hands north to the unseen shrine of Kerinyaga, or Mount Kenya—the second-highest mountain in Africa and mythological birthplace of the Kikuyu, Kenya’s largest tribe.

These Kikuyu faithful are members of the Tent of the Living God, one of a growing number of non-Christian traditional religions in Kenya. The Tent’s founder, Ngonya wa Gakonya, bedecked in white robe, graying dreadlocks and assorted traditional decorations, leads the congregation with the incantation “Thaai thathaya ngai thaai—God, bring peace to our people.”

 

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