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crying stone of isukha

Crying stone

Among the Isukha, the most revered shrine is the so called Crying Stone of Ilesi or ikhongo murwi in local parlance. It is situated at Ilesi, Mwikhonje sub location and is visible from Kisumu-Kakamega road. The magic structure is a large boulder sitting on a column of rock with water (or marks of it) flowing from a groove in the middle. For centuries, the Isukha have carried out various sacrifices in the precincts of the stone to bring fortune to the community or to exorcise evil spirits that threaten their livelihood. For instance during drought, the community makes ritual offerings to ancestral spirits to bring rain and save the community from famine (erotso). Beneath the stone is a cave called Shimichiro where clansmen who have breached taboos such as incest are ritually cleansed. Although the stone does not always weep, when it does it signals a bumper harvest.

Sacrifices

Isukha people believed in the existence of a supernatural being called Were also called Mukoye. They also called him Omwami We Mumbo. There was a special tree called Mukhumi where they offered prayers at. Whenever they had famine and drought, they would go to the tree and offer prayers and sacrifices. And also after the season of harvesting, a thanksgiving ceremony was always organized under the same tree. They would first pluck all the leaves from the tree and mix it with firewood before lighting a very big fire.  Every household was supposed to bring a portion of what they would have harvested and burn it as they believed burning it as offering thanksgiving prayers to their God for the good harvest.

During the ceremony, they were very keen on the direction of smoke because if it did not go straight to the sky they would take it that their prayers had not been accepted and therefore they would go home and arrange for a fresh ceremony. They would repeat every now and then until smoke went direct to the sky. The Isukha people also valued Lusiola tree and as such they planted it in every homestead. Lusiola tree was used to construct houses and sticks from it were used by elders as walking sticks. They later started offering their prayers and sacrifices around the famous crying stone.

Circumcision
Isukha people just like Abanyore and Idakho learned circumcision from the Nandi. They would circumcise children from the age of sixteen to eighteen years. The say age was really considered because they would only initiate boys who were able to take instructions given to them well. They would collect all the boys from different homes that were ready to be initiated and put them in one room where instructions were given to them by chosen elders. A day before initiation, they would be taken to the river very early in the morning where they had to be shaved and washed with Ice cold water. Remember that unlike Bamasaba who smear the initiates with cold mud, Isukha people do not smear the initiates.

richard muhanda and patrick shikikoti
Isukha elders and cultural experts from left: Richard Muhanda, Priscillah Shikokoti and Peter Shikokoti. CLICK HERE for details