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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The magic of naming places


By Wa Joe

Have you ever thought how places got their names?
It was until yesterday when I was curious to know how the various places got their names.

I talked to a reliable source, an elderly woman Mrs. Mariam Wanjiku Macharia from Kongoni village in Ndindika sub location, Kinamba location.

She told me of a village called Mihehu, Kikuyu for whispers. In the mid 1970’s, residents of their village used to brew illegal liquor known as busaa. It was illegal to brew or consume busaa and so the drinkers locked themselves in a house while conversing in whispers (mihehu)

A village like Karungubii in Sipili area means dark alleys in Kikuyu language and was used by residents to hide when consuming illegal brews during the colonial era.

Wanjiku did not stop at that, she also narrated about Gatirima area on your way to Nyuhururu from Kinamba. She told me that the white settler who inhabited the area had weak legs and hence the name Gatirima.

Take for instance Mwenje village in Kinamba location. The mzungu or white settler who inhabited the area in 1950’s had a bald head and residents referred to him as Mwenje which means one with a shaven head.

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