The Defamation of Afrikan Culture:
The Case of Waing’a
An old song in the Gîkûyû (Kikuyu) language is translated thus:
I was pale and flaky when I was coming from Waing’a.
Jesus took me
Cleaned me up
Applied oil on me
Clothed me with salvation
I’ll never go back to Waing’a
Never again will I go back to his place
If you ask many Agîkûyû (Kikuyu people) today who Waing’a is, they will tell you that Waing’a is the devil, because that is what they were taught to believe. But the truth of the matter is that he was a man who fell victim to the propaganda of the European colonist. A man whose name was destroyed and whose identity was deliberately made synonymous with that of Satan. His name and that of his family and descendants was subjected to the most vile strategy to shift Afrikans away from traditional healing practices to using those of the white man. Step by cunning step.
In 1889, as the story is told, a strange disease had struck the land of the Agîkûyû, one that the people had never seen before, that caused the skin to itch intensely, get hot, develop a rash, ultimately leading to the death of some of those infected. The people called it Mûhare. Waing’a, the medicine man, renowned throughout the Gîkûyû nation had no knowledge of this disease. None of his forebears had encountered it and so it was information that was lacking from the history his predecessors passed down to him. He did, however, have a solution for the itching, which was to cover the skin of his patients with white soil or ash, thus easing their discomfort and giving his patients a distinctive white appearance as they left his medicine hut.
Not far from Wainga’s, stood a newer hut belonging to a Scotsman who the locals nicknamed Nyaruta. Nyaruta enticed people to his hut saying that he was servant of Njecû (Jesus), who would heal them of their affliction. Indeed, the people who went to Nyaruta were given the treatment they needed, had oil applied to their skin and were provided with fresh clothes to wear. They were then sent on their way, becoming messengers of the news that Njecû heals; and with their fresh and youthful appearance, they made for great heralds of these good tidings. Wainga’s mortality rates from this disease were higher than those of Nyaruta… which did not help circumstances swing in his favor.
The stinker is this. The mysterious ailment was a biological agent that had been brought and spread by the white man, in order to find a way in which to control the people, by converting them from their usage of natural remedies to embracing the white man’s technology and methods. The biological weapon was the same one deployed against native Americans in times past and was spread in both circumstances using blankets and infected clothing. It was also leveled against the people living in the land that would eventually be called Kenya. It was a tool used to convince people that their own solutions, knowledge and ancient wisdom were ineffective and futile, but that those of the white man and Njecû were superior. A tool used to erode hundreds of years of indigenous knowledge through its rejection by the people that Waing’a had lived among as brethren and helped to heal for years. A tool used to colonize the mental and spiritual spaces of the people.
The Waing’a name was deliberately defamed and destroyed in order for the white man to achieve his aim.
Imagine with me what that was like for Waing’a and his family, who must have surely enjoyed a place of honor in their community for generations, having seen parents, grandparents and heard of great grandparents who had taken up the time-honored and trusted role of healer. Serving babies and mommies, warriors and kings alike, ensuring that knowledge was transferred safely, that herbs and forests were used for the purposes for which they were created: leaves for the healing of all nations. When suddenly, intruders from the north came to the land and decided that they wanted to control that aspect of communal living and to take it over altogether not for the benefit of the communities that they had found living in harmony with nature – but for their own desire to control any and all activities, beginning with the spiritual and psychosocial aspects of community relationships.
And so, they gathered their tools of death and deployed them, like they have been known to throughout time, knowing fully well that all of it was a ruse. Their plan being to swoop down like heroes using the remedy they already had, to bring resolution to the outbreak they had deliberately started – thereby deceiving thousands. Spreading fear and insecurity and lies, they took out one of the most unifying figures in the society, rendering his solutions useless in the eyes of his people. Then, they unveiled the medication which they ascribed to Jesus to convince people of His supernatural healing powers and branded the unsuspecting healer, Waing’a, the devil. What an injustice!
To the weak and untrained mind, this article may be perceived as an attack against the person of the Christ or God, but it’s far from it. It is against every idea, innovation, technology and whatever else that the white man has used to defile, maim, destroy, kill and corrupt indigenous knowledge systems globally while using the name of God as excuse. It is against the wicked globalist and imperialist agenda of the so-called white race that see every other race as threats and wants to put every other person under the boot. It is against the parasitic identity and ideology running deep in the core of the heart of the white race that makes him kill and destroy whatever he cannot control or have to himself. It’s against the greed, the lies and the manipulation of the white race to make himself feel superior and others inferior. It is against anything and anyone who takes joy in thriving at the expense of others, irrespective of what race or color they may be. It is against anything evil.
It wasn’t bad enough that the colonizer had said that they were the very representation of the divine because of their skin color and that Afrikans were the very representation of the demonic because of their skin color, now they had to go and pick on a family name in a village to destroy? That’s wickedness.
When I first heard this story, just a few weeks ago, my heart wept for Waing’a and his family and all those across Afrika who had been so unjustly treated. That they would become the ‘poster boy’ or ‘poster girl’ for these wicked psychological operations that were waged against the Afrikan people. Entire identities destroyed and characters smeared that had been safely kept for generations. Massive volumes of intellectual and spiritual resources discarded by the people of the land because they were now deemed to be lowly and unfit for modern life and living. The Afrikan legacy lost or destroyed because of the wiliness of the colonizing enemy.
Our prayer is that there would be a redemption of these names, these identities, these families, these legacies and these mandates and a full restoration of their purposes, because they are still needed, just as they were needed then. No one deserved to be subjected to so great an injustice. May their restoration be great.
But I have a problem with these masses who are so easily fooled. I mean, seriously, all the time? Like, there’s never a time when these ‘masses’ will stop and consider the lessons of the day and decide not to be a part of the ‘masses’ who get fooled? For instance, when you read the story of Waing’a above, does it not bring to mind the current global affairs? Isn’t the pattern very clear to your eyes? A biological agent that is spread deliberately in order to get control. I mean, come on, that’s so obvious I don’t even have to spell it out beyond that. What about the eradication either by reputation or through death of a central galvanizing figure in the community in order to destroy the dependence on the systems and knowledge base of a society?
We live in a time now when Chinese herbal medicine and Indian Ayurvedic medicine are being hailed in Afrika as some kind of major advancement, while still disregarding our own heritage and history and knowledge bases! While modern doctors secretly visit natural healers as they dole out toxic drugs to their patients, deceiving them into remaining captive to a system that they obviously believe does not work. Are the masses so blind that they cannot see simple patterns play out each time? How is it that many are not seeing the pattern again with this Russian versus Ukranian war that is going on right now? Or is it a coincidence that the war “broke” out just after the failed attempt to kill the world and destroy systems through the lie called Covid-19 pandemic? Or is it really very difficult to see?
What kind of foolishness is this? Why is it that people will not slow down and take time to understand the things going on around them before flying into action? In the days of Waing’a, as in today’s situation, people were so freaked out about the idea of death that they fled to an unknown and did not bother to question what was really going on. Simple questions such as: Where did the disease come from? How come it has struck this particular community where Nyaruta has set up his own camp? Why has it happened now? How come we have to be given new clothes? Did this have any connection with the gifts of blankets and clothing we were given by Nyaruta? Why are they not teaching Waing’a this knowledge so that he can help more people? Why do they only want us to go to Nyaruta for treatment?
You see where I’m going with this?
If the masses will not do the work to think, will not two or three or ten individuals inside these masses not choose to step aside and consider what is going on? Will they not then teach 100 and empower them to think? Will they not go back through time and pick the valuable lessons and apply them to current situations and circumstances instead of dumping them and running blindly into the future uninformed and unguided?
The story is the same and has been the same throughout the ages – one will come to influence and corrupt for their own selfish gain, they will tap into the thing that will create the greatest amount of fear and trepidation or greed in the communities they are targeting and they will use that to create leverage for themselves. It is the ones who allow themselves to be used, without considering all angles and facts that concern me. The employees of international and local NGOs, the employees of multinationals and government agencies, the licensers of operations, products and services in their countries. These ones who quickly abandon Waing’a and his ashes in order to take up the oil and cloth of Nyaruta without thinking about every aspect of what they are doing first. These are the ones by whose hands the process of destruction is completed as they are swept away in the hysteria of the moment… and such hysteria can be fear or death or greed for wealth. It’s not always the gun being held to the temple, sometimes it is the goodies.
Let’s be aware. Let’s live aware.
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Chioma Phillips is the Editor of Msingi Afrika Magazine and the host of Msingi Afrika Television. Her hope is to see the Truth shared, with all who will listen, for the transformation of the people and the continent of Afrika - and the world. She believes passionately in the critical role that Afrika and Afrikans have to play on earth right now and hopes to ignite the spark that will cause them to see and believe who they are, so that they can live out their Truest lives for the remainder of their days.
I remember reading about Wainga sometime back and I was so…angry. Great article. Education of the blind is not easy. God bless you.
It was such an injustice. A major one. Heartbreaking! God bless you too.