Kikuyu Goat Eating Traditions

I will try to describe the practices and traditions regarding how a Kikuyu goat was eaten from the little I know. Feel free to correct, argue and insert the missing info

NOTE: Whenever a goat is slaughtered for whatever occasion there are some traditions that are followed during its preparation and consumption.

The carcass , the tripe and the inside organs of a goat / cow or sheep are delicacies in several African cultures. I will try to describe the little I know from the Kikuyu (Kyuk) culture as I have seen it TODAY. ( so expect a couple of western culture issues that will be inserted).

The whole things started early in the morning on the day of the occasion where the young men of the host homestead would wake up get the goat (or goats) and setup a semi-butchery – cum – kitchen at one corner of the backyard .. away from the main area where guests would be seated. Their main utensils would be a sharp knife, sufurias, water container, several fresh banana leaves, salt, firewood, a grill, chopping board etc etc ..

One would light up a fire … while the others killed the goat …

1. When the throat is sliced open the blood is drained into some container like a karai or bucket that has SALT in it. The salt keeps the blood from clotting up or drying out completely in globes and preserves it in jelly like form. This blood had its purposes .. explained later in this article

2.The carcass is then hang up with the hind legs. The head (kiongo) and hooves (mahungu) are then cut off. The head and hooves are then roasted in hot coal fire to burn the hair off. Once the hair is burnt off, one then removes the burnt hair by scrapping the surface of the head and hooves with a knife. These are then washed and put in a huge sufuria with water to boil the whole day…. this is actually the SOUP and BOILED MEAT that you will eat and drink at the end of the MBUZI session.

3. The carcase is then skinned. The skin (rua) can be spread up to dry on the sun using pegs . It ends up being a ka- nice door mat or carpet or it is used to make those drum tables u see in several kikuyu homes.

4. The skin can also be used as a surface /tray to hold the “Matumbo” as they are being removed from the carcass. That way you dont soil alot of utensils. Back at home in Nyeri we also use banana leaves as containers / clean surface to hold the “matumbos”

5. Once the goat is skinned one then removes the matumbos. When I say matumbos I mean.. the lungs, the heart, the intestines, the stomachs, the liver , pancrease, kidneys , rectum etc etc.

These are kept aside in the containers in point 3 above for the veterinary doctor / meat inspector to examine before he allows the carcass to be eaten. The lungs and the pancreas are given to the dogs after the vet has examined them.

6. Once the vet has given a go ahead the carcass is cut up into pieces according to tradition. The ribs (mbaru), the abdominal cavity covering (múrote kana ngaî), the front legs with shoulders (moko na ciade), The hind legs (maguru), the hips (ruhonge), the liver (ini), the kidneys (higo) are kept aside as the main pieces to be roasted to what y’all know as “NYAMA CHOMA”. Traditionally these were the parts that were served to the guests and the other persons at the occasion and one of the hips (ruhonge) plus the murote used to go to the one who slaughterd and prepared the goat (muthinji or athinji).

7. Now the neck and the back and the excess fat under the skin and at the tail were given to the one of the young men to cut up into small pieces and cook “WENYE” (I will be coming to this in point 8 below). The bare bones of the neck and the back would then be thrown into the sufuria in point 2 above as part of the soup ingredients. This was because the neck and back have many bones and tendons making them not very enjoyable as nyama choma.

8. WENYE: The men normally cook the neck and back meat together with vegetables like Dhania, onions, biriganya, garlic, carrots, bitter herbs, spinach or capsicums or green pepper, red chilli (optional). They would then add the salted BLOOD in point 1 above and the excess fat in point 7 above.

Now this fatty ,but very sweet mixture is let to fry in its own fat under low heat. This is what will eventually go INSIDE the “MUTURA” and “NGERIMA” and other “sausages” .. got it ?

The excess wenye could be served on a plate to jammaz to eat.

CAUTION.. never eat too much of wenye coz you will spend the night running to the latrine… heh heh heh

9. The kidneys were traditionally roasted over coals and were strictly eaten by only the little girls (Age 10 and below) in the homestead.

10. The heart, the spleen and the liver were roasted too and served to the grannys and grandpas or any other elderly person . This is coz they are soft and more palatable to the elders who normally don’t have the front teeth to ng’ang’ana with ribs and other “meat on bone” nyama choma.

11. The front legs and shoulders were roasted too and anyone could partake of them. The shoulder (kiande) has symbolic value in Kikuyu marriage. In a kyuk marriage ceremony at the brides home the groom symbolically cut the kiande to symbolize that he has “married” (kúhikania kuma múciî) from that home and the fact that he has been give one and a knife to cut it means that he has been accepted by the bride’s family.

Believe it or not “gutinia kiande” …. is the symbolic act of a Kikuyu Wedding. Once the couple cut the kiande.. they are officially married as per Kikuyu traditions … ie they are recognized as husband n wife and are free to live together, have kids etc etc.

The ceremony where the kiande was cut is called “Nguraririo” .. This ceremony sometimes occurs after the bridegroom has inspect a line of covered n hooded women .. and successfully Identified the gal he wants to marry .. and he better get it right .. otherwise !! wacha tu !

Anyway back to the story ….

Some kyuks keep that marriage tradition to date others just kula the mbuzi the way one normally kulas a burger at McDonalds, then the scatter without “cutting the shoulder” as tradition demands.

12. NOW: Another crazy tradition is that the person who kulas the meat attached to the “Shoulder Blade Bone”.. that ka- flat – triangular bone .. I think we used to call it “SCAPULA or somethin in biology “.. that person who kulas that bone MUST toboa a hole in the flat surface of that bone. I dont know what this HULLABALOO is all about, BUT we are normally told that IF you kula a mbuzi with the WAZEES and you you fail to do that and you will be CHARGED a FINE of another GOAT ON THE SPOT !.. damn ! . Personally I dont ask why.. I just toboa the bloody hole…

12. The hind legs and the ribs are roated and served to everyone.

13. The intestines: (mara)

Normally these were cleaned and all the shyte was removed from them by literally “milking the tripe and shyte out” .. in Kikuyu we say “kúmiria mara”. This was done without piercing the intestines… as in .. the person doing it had to push the shyte from the “stomach” end of the intestines to the rectum end then wash the whole thing inside out. Nowadays in the age of pressurized water we normally just attach a hose to one end and pump all the shyte out.. The duodenum and colon parts of the intestines form the skin of the MUTURA. .. They are normally tied on one end… turned inside out.. then filled with the wenye in point 8 above.. tied on the other end so that it is sealed… then thrown into the soup sufuria to boil for a while before being roasted/dried in low coal heat.

The rest of the intestines were normally roasted. This is what many kyuks call “mara”…

14. The stomachs (mahu) : These are normally washed inside out and either roasted or cooked as stew. This is what y’all know as matumbo. Now a goat or cow (ruminant) has 4 stomachs namely, the rumen, the reticulum, the omasum and the abomasum. The Abomasum is what is called “gakuo kaingî “. This one is normally hard to wash coz it has several layers. Jammaz normally give up the washing and kula it semi-clean with kidogo dung… heh heh heh.

I will now discuss the “Sausages” (“NDUNDIRO” )

15. NGERIMA: The omasum stomach is the one that makes “NGERIMA”. Have you ever heard of a decicacy called “Thenga Twarie”.. this is the same thing.. Imagine a sausage .. the shape of an oval ball.. that what it looks like. “Thenga twarie” in kikuyu means “move away ..we want to talk” or “excuse us we want to talk privately”..

This is what the selfish wazees used to tell their wives and children when “NGERIMA” was about to be served so that the wazees end up eating the NGERIMA alone.. got it ? heh heh heh

16. MURURA : The duodenum and colon parts of the intestines form the skin of the MUTURA. .. and are normally tied on one end… turned inside out.. then filled with the wenye in point 8 above.. tied on the other end so that it is sealed… then thrown into the soup sufuria to boil for a while before being roasted/dried in low coal heat. It is normally cut up in slice when being served… kinda like salami…

17. “NDUNDIRO” = is a general word reffering to mutura and ngerima.. and any other sausage like delicacy..

18. SOUP : (thubu) Towards the end of the feasting… the sufuria in point 2 above becomes the center of attention especially for those we call ” andú a kúheha na kîgwa ” yaani TUSKER drunkards like me. The the rich and thick soup involved is the best you have ever tasted… it beats oxtail with herbs any time. Infact it sobers me up faster that than coffee or mama kali (my chic in bytch mode).

So … the soup is poured in a jar like container and stirred using a spinning stirrer called a ” kîbîri gîa thubu”. It is then served in mugs and one is left to add their own salt to taste.. . One can also eat the now boiled and very soft meat that is scattered in the soup sufuria.

19. After the goat is over one thanked whoever threw the goat party by spitting on their chests as a blessing to the person.

There you are… that is the little I know about goat eating in kikuyu tradition…

2 thoughts on “Kikuyu Goat Eating Traditions

  1. Picasso N. Picasso

    So corrections:
    At point 5, u say lungs (mahuri) and pancrease (rwariungu) and given to dogs. No they are not. They are boiled together with the head for soap and during a Ngurario ceremony, lungs actually have a symbolic part to play.

    Point 6. A kikuyu male does not eat Honge! You are supposed to be fined a Ngoima (fattened ram). Honge is only eaten by women.

    10… not necessarily old ppl. The liver has a thick side which is eaten by men and a thinner side given to women.

    Point 12… hehe.. there is a reason. that flat triangular bone (giciri) takes up space when lying flat. no imagine u guys eat a ram ever so often and those bones are lying around. No grass would grow properly meaning ua other sheep won’t find enough to eat so they won’t breed and get decimated (kuhuka). By punching the hole, grass can grow through and keep the flock fed hence mo to eat… get it..??

    Point 13 to 17 has very few truths and a lot of misinformation. For example, ngerima is NOT eaten by men…. You DON’T miria mara by pumping water through them (someone ought to hang for that)…. That whole info has no kyuk traditions in it.

    All the same, nice try. Not bad.

    Liked by 1 person


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