todayFebruary 17, 2022 144

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Whereas many artists in East Africa can claim that they  live up to the Kiswahili saying “Msanii ni Kioo cha jamii” (An artist is the mirror of society) through their works, fewer artists have the rare distinction of creating art that envisages what an ideal society should look like.

Performing-cum-recording artist, historian and organizer, Monaja easily fits within the latter group.

He releases a song hitting the airwaves with a great feedback as he takes us back to our roots with Ntamburukua Nkoro.



Ntamburukia Nkoro is a spiritual song, done predominantly in Kimeru (Imenti and Tigania dialects) and partially in Sheng as well as Kiswahili, which bemoans one’s anger and sadness at being hurt by others while calling on a supreme being to give one the energy to forgive their tormentors.

About the song

The song is produced by Somi of Somi Records and Monaja. Its rhythm borrows from the rhythm of most popular Kimeru songs – 120 BPM (Beats per Minute). Most of the instruments used in the song, however, have been drawn from various communities. The song’s kick comes from the drumming of Chuka Iraka drums (drummed by Chuka drummers), its strings were played by Ken Nywameya using the Orutu from the Luo community while Job Kihiko plays shakers and the flute from the Mijikenda community on the song.

The song features three members of the Ameru Crew and Monaja as the performers of the song – Ameru Crew’s three members perform the first second and forth verses in Kimeru while Monaja performs the introduction of the song, the song’s chorus and the third verse of the song. While Somi and Monaja’s verses, done in Kimeru and Kiswahil respectively, more or less repeat the chorus’ theme, Melanin Falaki’s verse and Colonel Wicky’s verse take a more political angle. Colonel Wicky questions the identity of the killers of Meru hero Ntai wa Nkuraru as well as the usefulness of the GEMA ethnopolitical association to the Ameru people as the association was not used to assist the Ameru during one of the droughts the community faced – he implies that the association is only used for the politicians benefit. Melanin Falaki’s verse addresses the assassination of General Baimungi, the humiliating desecration of his remains and argues that his killers still rule Kenya today. The plot of the song’s video is partly based on this verse.

About the video

The storyline of the video is based on the assassination of Mau Mau General Baimungi albeit with some embellishments. It shows an aged and sickly politician visiting a witchdoctor to establish the cause of his problems. The witchdoctor, using magic, is able to retrieve a record of the politicians past – a gourd with water held by the witchdoctor shows the misdeeds of the politician in his younger years. It reveals that the politician took part in the murder of a freedom fighter and for this he was cursed by the freedom fighter’s wife who invoked the curse by crashing a pot on the ground (this is in line with Meru traditions). The witchdoctor, disgusted by the act of the politician in his younger days, chases him from his dwelling whereupon he is accosted by a crowd of his constituents. Despite the protective action from his bodyguards, the commotion symbolizes the perpetuity of his curse – the politician will never know peace for as long as he lives.


About Baimungi:

“Baimungi” means one who adorns traditional headgear (Mungi) made out of the skin of a he-goat, colobus monkey or the mane of a male lion. Born in Mwereeru village of Katheri sublocation, Abothuguchi, Imenti central (present day Imenti Central constituency, Meru County) around 1922, his real name was M”Marete wa M’Ikandi. Little is known about his life until 1954 – when he joined the Kenya Land and Freedom Army, a movement which fought against the Colonial Government for freedom and land.[1]

Alongside other fighters, Baimungi surrendered some of his weapons to the government and returned to the forest to await further consultations with government officers.[2] However, alongside other Mau Mau generals, he was assassinated by police officers on 26th January 1965.[3] Just like the Mau Mau fighter, Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi, he was not accorded the dignity of a burial – the locations of his remains, which were in the government’s custody after his assassination, are unknown. Residents of Abothuguchi division were enraged and bitter as a result of his killing. A battery of songs was composed in his memory and in protest against his killing.[4]

Baimungi’s family would live in poverty for decades. Months before her death in July of 2014, his widow, Evangeline Muthoni wa Baimungi and her family wrote a letter to the Kenya government appealing for compensation for Baimungi’s 120 guns believed to be held by the government in the custody of the National Museum of Kenya.[5] She also appealed to the government to show her where his body was buried.

#NtamburukiaNkoro out now! #Thefirstbetrayal



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