In Summary
  • The GPRS directed me through a dusty track with mammoth ruby boulders of a wondrous kind, resting on each other’s backs. My senses soaked in the warm air as the dry were scrubs ruffled by the light breeze.
  • He had perched a tent perched on the lonely Komarock hill. One night in the wee hours, he was aroused from sleep by the wails of a child.
  • Each pilgrim has as story, background, motivation, but they all have something now in common: they are all religious and have found a place of sprayer and meditation the place thousands of religious Christian pilgrims visit every year.

Travelling eastwards of Nairobi gave way to loneliness and unspoilt views of Ukambani. The sun bathing the plains with a warm radiance created elusive mirages, further and further ahead. The vehicle cruised through Kangundo and stopped in the sleepy town of Koma.

The GPRS directed me through a dusty track with mammoth ruby boulders of a wondrous kind, resting on each other’s backs. My senses soaked in the warm air as the dry were scrubs ruffled by the light breeze. As I trotted on, startled elderly lizards slithered past and hid in the rock crevices. Soon, I reached a small clearing with two houses and a dais. There was not a soul to be seen. A sign showed the direction to the office. The track would soon reveal a clearing that had concealed under a blanket of turquoise wonder. The air hung silent, and there, stood a dais and two miniature greying stone buildings.

Kilimambogo in the backdrop. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

THE LEGEND

I had arrived at the Komarock, a revered Kamba sacred place since the mists of time. Elders would arrive there to offer sacrifices at the traditional altars (Ithembo).

They would pray for fertility of Kamba land and protection from pestilence. Season after season they sacrificed to the unknown with unshakable faith that their petitions were answered. They believed that a mystic power resided on those Komarock hills.

Passion of Christ effigies with the passion of Christ symbolised. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

Mr Mutuku, a caretaker of the shrine reveals that in the dawn of 1830 a Kamba man, only known by the name Mwithi, decided to erect a small hut on top of the rocky outcrop. From there he would watch for Maasai bandits who may attempt an ambush .As Mwithi’s wives went about collecting firewood and grass to thatch their huts, they started seeing apparitions. This is further collaborated by Anna Katungwa, a Kamba writer.

“They would see a vision of a young white woman holding an infant in her arms. They would then bow down and hide their faces from the gleaming sight, only to see it had disappeared into the blues upon looking up again.”

THE MYSTERY OF THE ROCK

In 1971, a Mowlem Construction company was contacted by the government to construct the Nairobi-Kangundo road. The arduous work of blasting the rocky outcrop to acquire hard-core and ballast began.

A dais at the shrine. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA


“The elders opposed the move but later agreed that Ithembo be relocated to the foot of a Mugumo tree at the end of the hill. A bag of sugar and two he goats were offered to appease the spirits. Despite the rituals, blasting was very hard. Machinery would break down and the process became slow,” says Mutuku. Strangely, the rocks from other places were easy to blast.
Apparently, there was an eccentric force preventing the rock from being damaged.

THE WAILING CHILD

He had perched a tent perched on the lonely Komarock hill. One night in the wee hours, he was aroused from sleep by the wails of a child. In the utter dark, the child’s voice said:

“Mom, we will soon have to leave this place, they are destroying our home."

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