Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga

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Location: Central Kenya near the town of Muranga, Africa

Who Considers it Sacred? The Gikuyu or Kikuyu community

Significance: It is considered to be the mythical “Garden of Eden,” or place connected with the origin of the Gikuyu tribe.

This place figures into the origin stories of the tribe. The Creation story begins on Mt. Kenya where God, Ngai, created the first Gikuyu man who was instructed to go to a specific place to the south of the mountain where there was a grove of fig trees, Mikuyu. Here Giyuku found a woman, Mumbi, who became his wife. The roots of the fig tree entered Mother Earth nourishing the tree and connecting with God. The Creation Goddess came together with the the milky essence of the Mukuyu tree resulting in Gikuyu and Mumbi giving birth to 10 daughters who became the mothers of the 10 Gikuyu clans.

The Threat: Degradation of the site because of poor management. Unfinished buildings are evident, such as an unfinished Cultural Center Performance Hall and hotel. The “Visitor’s Book” appears to be the walls of the buildings which are covered in graffiti. There are disputes over building an exterior wall.

Preservation Status: The National Museums of Kenya and Murang’a County Council are the custodians of the site and there are Kikuyu caretakers. Disputes arose in the summer of 2012 over the building of a wall around the perimeter of the sacred site by caretakers.

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