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Dr. Kinuthia Njoroge's Profile
Dr. Kinuthia is a Social Science graduate, Phd Oral Literature, Philosophy and Culture who has lived in America for 15 years. He came back to Kenya in 1971 and began work with the now defunct East African Airways as Assistant International Relations Manager. When the East African Community was dissolved, Dr. Kinuthia joined the University of Nairobi as a lecturer of oral literature and culture where he worked...
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We have programmes for both adults and for schools and institutions.
Progammes are designed to be both flexible and entertaining while at the same time serving their intended purpose of educating visitors on the intricacies of Gikuyu culture.
A Boost to Kenyan Culture
For anyone, chance to watch live performances of traditional dances, music and story telling or to sample a range of traditional dishes and famous African brews is a rare opportunity.
Dr. Kinuthia Njoroge, an enterprising 55 year old social science graduate from the the United States had a vision: to set up a centre for research and cultural preservation and to fill the void that existed in showing visitors at least part of the African way of life.
Dr. Njoroge also wanted to provide students of African culture with the opportunity to study and experience through live performances of their ancient ways and create an interesting outing for school children at the same time. This is why the opening of Riuki cultural Centre in 1988 was received with such warm enthusiasm from lovers of Kenyan cultural heritage.
The Centre is situated about 25kms from Nairobi and offers tours to African homesteads, performances of African dances, story telling sessions and a treat of selected dishes from “Mumbi’s jiko’ – the traditional cuisine.
According to Dr. Njoroge, the centre is more an educational centre than a tourist resort. ‘It is not our wish to compete with commercial tourist attractions that expose Africans to ridicule with dances twisted to suit the interests of the tourists and without caring whether the performers are enjoying themselves. Some of the virtues associated with African culture are generosity, kindness, sharing and respect between different age groups, ethnic groups and other people. Culture gives people an identity, says Dr. Njoroge.
Riuki, which means hearth or simply the centre of a Gikuyu homestead, and nuclear of the family, is an apt name for the enterprise. It portrays Agikuyu rural life and culture both in outlook and activities.
Riuki Cultural Centre Trust Objectives
- To develop an awareness of the contribution of the some of the Agikuyu cultural practices in the overall growth of children within the community through songs, dances, drama, stories, proverbs, idioms, riddles and enigmas..
- To alleviate poverty through training and development of creative skills targeting the youth and women groups in the community.
- To promote the neglected creative cultural potential of the youth and women groups in order to alleviate poverty and enable them engage in gainful means of livelihoods in art, craft, traditional technology as well as production of intangible creative performances.
- To promote intercultural relations among Kenyan and develop national harmony and encourage intercultural relations with other countries for a better appreciation of other cultures.
- To promote cultural tourism and network as well as collaborate with groups and institutions in the tourism industry.
- To facilitate the development of infrastructure of cultural centres depicting the diversity of Kenya cultures.
- To establish a travelling theatre to visit schools and institutions in the country for for purposes of staging thematic shows in such areas as HIV-AIDS, anti-drug abuse awareness, environmental conservation technology and innovation.
- To establish the Riuki Cultural Centre Endowment Fund as part of support for the Riuki community initiative as a CBO.
Inside the centre is a typical traditional Gikuyu homestead comprising five houses. One house is for the male head of the family, the other three are for his wives, the fourth one is for his son muramati and in the fifth lives the homestead assistant ndungata. The wives houses being the most complex, are each partitioned into seven parts:- the woman’s sleeping place, uriri, a place for storing food thegi, a place where girls sleep kiriri, the uncircumcised boys share their sleeping places with goats in thingira (mans hut). Goats which feed in the fields were kept on the left side of the woman’s bed. At the centre of the house is a cooking place with a traditional hearth of three stones, riuki.
A small verandah next to the main entry provides safety for the children in case of emergency such as when a pot falls from the fire. The man’s house thingira faces both his elder son and wive’s houses.
Inside his house is the bed which is covered with a goats skin. Facing the entry is a gichegu where goats for mating, fattening and slaughtering are kept.
The son’s house does not have partitions until such time that he gets married. Then he would require privacy for his wife and female children. Only at this time he would own such wealth as goats, and sheep. Guarded by warriors, the big mud house boini facing the other houses, and which is open at the front thereby making up a large verandah, is owned by the elder of the homestead for entertaining visitors. Sitting in boini the visitors are entertained by traditional Gikuyu dancers, story tellers and dramatists. Meanwhile they are fed on traditional dishes: irio – maize and vegetable mash, nyama choma – roasted meat, ucuru – porridge and rukuri, a meat of Agikuyu. Other houses at the centre include meat roasting – kirugu house and the guard house itara. At Riuki Cultural Centre the latter is used as traditional theatre, the museum of Agikuyu history and culture, as well as lecture and film hall.
You will find it most stimulating and interpreting, and will provide you with a great opportunity to take photographs of your choice and at close quarters without harassment or interference.
The day will be one of Kenya’s best, with the sun in full attention throughout. You will travel via Kiambu, District Headquarter in Central Province through Ndumberi, Tinganga and Ikinu Villages to Karia Village along lush and green agricultural
Gikuyu country with banana plantations and coffee trees untill you reach Riuki Cultural Centre. You will be received by Dr. Kinuthia Njoroge in person, the guide and a host of children.
You will be given a brief lecture of Gikuyu rural life and invited to taste the Gikuyu brew, Njohi Muratina, Gikuyu porridge and view the farmers preparations. Gikuyu dancers will entertain you with dances, songs and cleansing ceremonies, while being served with a delicious African Barbeque complete with Gikuyu traditional meat, rukuri, and delicious marinated steak, Agikuyu mash, sukuma wiki-‘push the weekend!’ irio, salads, fruits and more traditional wine.
You will leave with the sinking sun, having enjoyed a day full of interesting experiences. The food will be well prepared and with great care by Dr. Njoroge’s two wives, who will be dressed in traditional garb for authenticity. You will be sent away with blessings and goodwill, ‘come back some day’ with a request to tell your friends to visit Riuki Cultural Centre and share a day of Gikuyu customs, meats, dances and music.
After visiting Riuki Cultural Center, you cannot fail to see the potential of a fully fledged cultural institute in the small village of Karia village. It is Dr. Kinuthia Njoroge’s worthwhile dream that is on the way of becoming a reality.
4 hour Kikuyu Culural Tour either in the morning, afternoon or evening
Includes a guided tour of the village, traditional doctor cleansing ceremonies, traditional dances, traditional food tasting, a lecture on Kikuyu traditional lifestyle, visits to tea/coffee farms, factories, church, a local school or simple come for lunch at midday and leave at 2.30pm, or dinner at 7.00pm and leave at 8.30pm. For full lunch, please book ahead.
Overnight at Rioki Cultural Centre
Includes a guided tour of the village, traditional doctor cleansing ceremonies, traditional dances, traditional barecue lunch, a lecture on Kikuyu traditional lifestyle, visits to tea/coffee farms, overnight at Riuki Cultural Centre with vening experice of culture with people. Accommodation on banana fibre as in the past with a bonfire
This is a homestay with a Kikuyu family for a complete African experience where you interact and dine with a Kikuyu family and enjoy African hospitality. Meet the community and participate in homestead activities by living and sharing with them.
0900hrs to 1400hrs
You are picked for the tour drive through Limuru with a brief stop at the Eastern Great Rift Valley view point. Driver further down to the valley to Maai Mahiu. Oonkidongi Cultural Centre where you will be welcomed by Maasai Morans with cow milk. Introdution of Maasai way of life will follow - most of it is in Cultural Dances, Maasai art cultural games and stories. The highlights of their life are: circumsicion songs, wedding celebrations and war songs. Thereafter you drive back to Nairobi arriving at around mid-day or late evening.
Programs for Schools & Institution
Arrival time 10:00 at the center
We have a wide range of tongue twisters and our artist will explain and teach students of their purpose and usage.
Children Lullabies Songs
We perform lullabies and demonstrate their use. We explain the meaning of lullabies in relation to the cultural values of the society.
We have a wide range of proverbs which our artists will try and do their best to put into practice. Proverbs will only be meaningful in their context and students will have professionals where they have dialogue where the language is enriched with well selected proverbs. The Riuki Cultural group will also present a wide variety of Kikuyu poetry and use the appropriate instrument. The poets are original and their poetry reflects the rich Kikuyu cultural values.
Songs and Dances
We have groups of professional dancers and soloists who perform all categories of songs and dances.
These include: 1. Wedding, 2. Work songs, 3. Praise songs, 4. Initiation songs, 5. Love songs and more.
Its our sincere hope that we shall entertain, teach and interact with students and make oral literature life and enjoyable.
Contact Riuki Cultural Centre
Dr. Kinuthia Njoroge
P.O. Box 42458, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya
Mobile 254 (0) 722 944 441/0738422670
Ewauso Oonkidongi Cultural Centre
Ewuaso oonkidongi cultural centre is situated in the heart of the rift valley 9 kilometres from maai mahiu. Hills and two mountains (mt Suswa and Mt Longonot) surround its scenery which is rich in wildlife such as Thomson gazelle (Gazella thomsonii) ,Burchell’s Zebra( Equus burchelli) Giraffe (giraffa camelopardas) among others in a peaceful co existence with the Maasai community. Guided by the vision of conserving the maasai culture and history, Ewuaso oonkidongi cultural village gives the visitor an all inclusive package about the maasai culture.
The maasai, properly called the ILMAASAE,are predominantly nomadic pastoralists who occupy the southern part of Kenya and northern districts of Tanzania. Maasai is essentially a linguistic term referring to the speakers of this Eastern Sudanic language (MAA) of the chari-nile branch of the Nilo-Saharan family.
The Maa language has two internal subdivisions (dialects): North Maa includes the speech varieties of the Isampur(Samburu) and the Iltiamus(Njemps).
South Maa includes the the speech varieties spoken by Illarusa, Ilmoitanik, Isiria, ilwuasinkishu, ilpurko, Ilkeekonyokie, Ildamat, Iloitai,Iloodokilani ,Ildalalekutuk, ildamat, Ilkaputiei, ilmatapato and Ilkisonko.
The subdivisions function as politically independent iloshon.
The Maasai are further subdivided into clans whose members stem from the same ancestor not far back in history. The clans are patrilineal and include the Ilmakesen(of baboon) Ilaiserr (of the rhinocerous),Ilmolelian(of elephants),Iltaar lo sero(of hyena) Ilukumae(of raven). Regardless of clan or family affiliations, all Maasai are of to moieties, one called Odo mongi(the house of the red oxen) and Orok kiteng (the house of the black cattle)
Several thousand years ago the ancestors of the Maasai migrated eastwards from their supposed original homeland in northern central Africa, looking for pastures. In today’s Ethiopia they encountered Cushitic groups with whom they inter married, thereby adopting some cultural and linguistic elements including circumcision, division in age groups and the drinking of cow blood. Most likely before the 16th century, Maa speaking peoples entered into Northwestern Kenya. The growing number of Cattle is likely to have been the reason for this southward expansion, which led them to cross the Kerio Valley. Maasai elders see Kerio (Endikir-e-Kerio) as their origin. Prior to the arrival of the white man, the Maasai roamed the vast plains of east Africa grazing their large and treasured herds of cattle on the rich pasture abounding on the virgin grasslands.
Today, however, the descendants of these illustrious warriors of the pre-colonial era live in a greatly reduced land area occupying northern parts of Tanzania and southern Kenya.
The Maasai age-old rich traditions and customs and traditions little affected by the tumultuous and ever changing outside world. This is not to say that the Maasai have not responded to modern education. They have responded to it and the fruits have been an enrichment of their culture, in as much as a great deal is now preserved positively in written, visual and audio forms.
Come and join us in celebrating our culture in Ewuaso Oonkidongi cultural center.
Profile of Dr. Kinuthia Njoroge, Phd
Dr. Kinuthia is a Social Science graduate, Phd Oral Literature, Philosophy and Culture who has lived in America for 15 years.
Dr. Kinuthia came back to Kenya in 1971 and began work with the now defunct East African Airways as Assistant International Relations Manager. When the East African Community was dissolved, Dr. Kinuthia joined the University of Nairobi as a lecturer of oral literature an d culture where he worked for 30 years, retiring in 2004.
While at the University of Nairobi, Dr. Kinuthia came up with the idea of a cultural centre. He pitched the idea to the then president of the Republic of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta who presented him with Kshs 2 million. It was then that Rioki Cultural Centre at Karia Village, Githunguri, Kiambu county was born. At the time, he had the Rioki Cultural Centre foster program that catered for 2,000 children who were given USD 20 a month each to support themselves with school fees.
One of the aims of Rioki Cultural Centre was to inculcate morals and values to students and local people so they can be better citizens of Kenya. The community center now supports 97 AIDS orphans who live with their grand parents. We provide the children with food, clothing and shelter. W e also support them with school uniform and shoes as part of Rioki Cultural Centre Trust through donations and grants that we receive from the benevolent local and international visitors.
The people of Kiambu have persuaded me to contest the Senate seat for the county of Kiambu. I wish to appeal to well wishers to donate to Dr. Kinuthia for the foster parent program and upkeep of the AIDS orphans.
Thank you and warmest regards,