Of the lethal witchcraft of Mbeere and a man called Gacamuku

As I grew up, there are topics that forever dominated village conversations. They still do.

One such is the super powerful witchery and sorcery of Mbeere.

To date, no other community is feared in Difathas like the Mbeere who live in the southern part of Embu County.

The myths are countless.

From stories of snakes that are reared and which guard the homes of the natives of a place called Mecca, to the dry shrubs that can be spread along a farm boundary and securely fence it in Evurore, to the experts from Kanyuambora who successfully cooled a soup that had boiled for five days in Karucho, Mbeere witchcraft has its special place in the history of African sorcery and magic.

Several times, as I grew up, when the drought got too tough in those parts which neighbour my rural village home of Difathas, Kirinyaga County, the people of Mbeere would pack there stuff and come knocking our doors randomly, seeking to be accommodated and given something to eat in exchange for their craftwork like ciondos or the free labour they offered; at least just survive.

Of course, many people were hesitant to host these good souls due to their sorcery history but my now aged grandma was forever a friend and host of these great people. One such Mbeere visitors who frequented our home was a generous soul called Biri. I wonder where she disappeared to.

Biri was such a fantastic human being. I never regretted even a single of her visits, some of which could last months. At the end of her visit, Biri and Co. would receive generous rations of maize and beans to take back home.

Back to sorcery and black magic, no other Mbeere has his story causing shockwaves across generations than a man called Gacamuku.

A well-known witchdoctor and sorcerer, Gacamuku was once presented before a magistrate in Embu Law Courts, to answer charges of preparing and selling illegal brew.

Upon the magistrate pronouncing his judgement, jailing Gacamuku for three months without a fine, the medicine man politely responded: “Bwana judge, I also jail you for a similar period of time.”

At first, no one understood what Gacamuku meant. Not until those attending the proceeding realized that the judge could not leave his seat. He was stuck there!

The magistrate, so the tale goes, was literally glued to his chair in the courtroom.

The sorcerer had to be called back to ‘release’ the man of the law, but that only happened on condition that he quashed his judgement and released Gacamuku.

Where Gacamuku was from, when he died and whether he has descendants who possess similar powers, I still don’t know.