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