Kurwu people are wild. Very exploitative. They go against tradition and are willing to do anything that is interesting. They are adrenaline junkies. And they are extroverted
A Kurwu tribesperson enjoys listening to podcasts and watching movies. They also enjoys reading non-fiction and working out are the most least preferred.
Does this describe you? Find out more about your tribe by learning its heroes and origins below.
Read Also: Origins of The Kurwu Tribe
It was the third moon of the year. The village of Kurwu had gone through a successful harvest season. The village was in euphoria, and the trees had blossomed, heavy with fruits of every kind. The granaries were pregnant with harvest and the cow’s udders sagging with milk. It was one of the successful seasons and the whole village converged together to pay reverence to Tebo, the god of rain and venerate the spirits of their ancestors. The village elder poured libation and made a burnt offering to appease the gods. It was in this bountiful season that Kiyota was born- and named according to the season and his name literally translated to bounty.
Kiyota’s childhood was full of spontaneity and curiosity. He was always in and out of the maize plantations, jumping through hedges, and uprooting most tubers just to see what was beneath the soil. He was always coming up with new ideas of games to play with his fellow children when their parents were in the fields with hunched backs, clammy sweats and black fingernails- labouring to provide food for their families. His curiosity coupled up with his idea generation made him listen in to the older men who sat in circles riddling outside their huts on cool evenings. He was passionately drawn in and wanted to quench his thirst for riddling. He was however not allowed to join in until he had gone through initiation. Kiyota grew into a healthy young man. He was short and plump, and walked as though he was bouncing. He had a pitch-black afro that sat like heaps of mowed grass. He seemingly had no neck and his body looked like it was mounted to a mountain of flesh. His smile was the widest and most contagious and he easily made friends with anyone. He always had bracelets on his hands that he made during one of his creative escapades.
Upon initiation, Kiyota joined the junior social group. They were taught the word structure and the riddling process. Knowledge of riddles helped the child to establish his identity as an individual and as a member of a junior social group, when he distinguishes himself during a riddle‐contest. Knowledge of the riddle and their word‐formulae helped the young men and adults to establish their identity as members of various senior social groups, and of Kurwu society. Social status in the tribe was prided and held in high esteem, which made the riddles even more important. Knowledge of the Kurwu riddles was of educational value only with reference to their function in Kurwu social life. In the middle social group, the elders taught the young adults how to form the basis of a riddle. They were meant to come up with riddles that inculcated moral values in the community or cautioned against certain social taboos. The participants would then gather around every evening and riddle each other, and whenever they could not get the answer, the riddler asked for a prize and then gave the answer. Kiyota perfected the skill of riddling and almost always got a prize. He was always creative and fostered the cultural values of the tribe in his riddles. Transition from the middle group to the senior group would only happen during a social ceremony where all the participants of the middle group riddled each other and the riddler whose riddle goes unsolved gives his members one moon to come up with the answer, beyond which he is given a prize and named the village riddler, until dethroned.
The middle group that consisted of Kiyota and his mates had spent forty moons trying to grasp the concept and process of riddling. The group had grown so much and were quite creative with their ideas. They challenged each other mentally and fought many word battles. Upon completion, the village elders on the King’s command held the occasional graduation ceremony. All the villagers assembled, and the ceremony was officiated with the Kurwu pouring of libation ritual and burnt offering. They began with general riddling, followed by feasting. The ceremonies could not start until everyone was well fed, and the older men sipping on their local brews in a corner away from the children. The battle of wits then began afterwards. The members went in one by one, each riddling their mates, and getting an answer. Kiyota’s turn came and he stated his riddle. The process went on and no one could get his answer. The ceremony was adjourned for one moon to allow brainstorming for the members of the social group.
One moon later, the villagers were summoned, and the members given an opportunity to give their best guess. They went on for a couple of hours and Kiyota had not accepted any of their guesses. He was then asked to name a prize, for him to give the answer. He asked for a piece of rope, which he was given and gave his answer. With consent from the villagers and the council of elders, Kiyota was then declared the wordsmith of the village, and he held on to it for the longest time as far as history was concerned.
Read Also: Who is a Kurwu?
The Kurwu tribe occupied the central part of Mbiu nation. This was the area with verdant meadows stretching over miles and miles of land. The area was a cool restful shady world with light filtering lazily through the treetops that meet high overhead and shut out the direct sunlight. The tribe was renowned for its cultural emphasis on subsistence farming. The tribesmen cultivated crops like maize, beans, potatoes and cabbages. They were a group of risk takers who would experiment with various kinds of crops they cultivated. Their curiosity coupled with their risk-taking nature saw to it that they discovered a wide range of crops to farm in their vast tracks of land. The Kurwu people were spontaneous and very creative- a trait that was deeply rooted in their passion for riddling and storytelling. They were avid thinkers who could easily generate ides on their feet.
The Kurwu tribe paid reverence to a god called Tebo, the god of rain who was a supreme deity as well as venerating the spirits of their ancestors. They had traditional ceremonies like naming ceremonies, initiation rituals, fasting ceremonies before planting and harvesting season, wedding ceremonies and funerals for the dead. All these ceremonies were officiated by the village headman who burnt incense in the village altar grounds to appease their ancestors before commencing on the rituals. The initiation ceremony, which occurred once in every seven moons, involved circumcision of both boys and girls. The boys and girls who were circumcised at the same time entered the same age set and were named according to the given timings. Four moons post the initiation ceremony, the previous generation of the men hands over the defense of the community to the new generation while the women are now prepared for marriage. The Kurwu tribesmen unrestrictedly intermarried with other tribes and encouraged polygamy. They practised barter trade with the other tribes, exchanging their food crops for iron, honey, beads, fabric and milk.
Kurwu people had ridding sessions every evening outside their huts. The riddles were used in the course of a competitive game for young people. They were viewed educational chiefly because they were an asset to fuller participation in the Kurwu social life. Both riddle and answers were learnt as a linguistic whole, and it was more important to know the riddle than to be able to puzzle out the answer or understand their content. However, the Kurwu community had social groups in order of seniority based on their riddle solving ability. One was able to join a higher social group if they passed the riddle contest. What was tested was the ability to understand the context of the riddle, the word structure and the answer. The junior social group- mostly comprised of the younger members of the tribe, tested on their word structure and ability to participate in the riddle telling process and stage. The senior group on the other hand, was more focused on the context. The riddling sessions were aimed at enhancing their mental flexibility, to boost their creativity and spontaneity.
The tribe was ruled by a village man, Kioi, who not only led the tribe in spiritual matters but also political issues like war. The Kioi was a coveted position that was a privilege of a specific family and was successive in that bloodline. The Kurwu tribe was divided into villages named Koras, which was just an extension of a clan. The division into Koras was due to the vastness of the land and the was based on the location of the people. The villages were made up of five families each and had a chief who reported to the Kioi. No one was restricted to a specific Kora, and one could easily move from one Kora to the other due to marriage, or other reasons. However, catastrophes in a Kora would make people from that Kora to be banned from shifting. The Koras would come together in unity during the ceremonial traditions of the tribe. Every seventh moon, each Kora would forward the young men who would be initiated together and later form the army to protect their respective Kora and the community at large.
Check out Kurwu: KURWU:Life and times of Kiyota