Have you ever thought of changing your gender?
Then make a trip to Nzambani Rock in Kitui County, Kenya. The rock, initially discovered by the Native Akamba Community and refer to it in their local dialect as ‘Ivia ya Nzambani’ is a stone outcrop standing approximately 183m above the ground. It is believed that anyone who goes around the rock seven times changes into a member of the opposite sex. This tale told from the akamba ancestors has been passed from one generation to another. So far, no one has ever tried to go round the rock seven times. Maybe you can be the first?
Many people would ask, how exactly did the rock came into existence? A story is told from an elder from Akamba community that, initially where the rock is situated there was nothing and that the area was a forest where animals could graze and firewood fetched. One day, three girls went to the forest as usual to fetch firewood, one of the girls found a round stone which she picked and hid it in her chest so as to take to her grandparents to use for pounding tobacco. The girls were dressed in animal skin according to their culture at the time. After sometime the girl noticed that the stone was growing big and heavy forcing her to stop collecting firewood and called the other girls. When the rest of the girls came, they found that she had turned into a rock apart from the head. The girls tried to help her after finding out from her what had happened but they could not and so they had to ran back to the village and alert her parents who also came and try to help her but they could not.
Elders met and sacrificed a black sheep which also failed to recover her. The following day when they went back, she had completely turned into a rock. The girl’s name was Nzambani. That is how the Nzambani rock came into existence according to the akamba elder, though their other tales told as to how the rock came into being. It takes about 45 minutes to climb to the top of the rock. At the top, one has a 360-degree view of the whole county of Kitui. Wow, indeed that is an experience like no other…. Akamba community living around there claim that the stone is growing due to its shining allure and the undeniable fact that despite the trees around continue to grow throughout the years, they never surpass the rock’s height…The rock is visible from a distance of 60 miles away.
Apart from the Nzambani rock, Akamba community is also known for its rich and vast culture, tradition, norms and practices that is unique from the other communities. Want to experience it? Find your way to Kenya to have an intense and one on one interaction with the community. The community is famously known for woodcarving and basketry. In major cities and towns in Kenya, especially in gift shops, open air markets and even art galleries, one is bound to come across beautiful handcrafts-woodcarvings, sisal baskets and well decorated artifacts made by them.
Did you know that long before the coming of the white man, possession of supernatural powers was greatly revered by Kenyan tribes?
Among these tribes, only a few individuals could rival Syokimau of the Kamba in prophetic powers. Syokimau was born and raised in Iveti Hills, near what is now known as Machakos, in the 1800s. Apart from Syokimau being a prophetess, she was a great medicine woman also. Her people held her high as she could predict if other communities such as the Maasai and the Kikuyu would attack which gave Akamba warriors enough time to prepare to defend themselves. She is hailed as the greatest prophetess that ever lived as she was the first to prophesy the coming of the white men and the building of the railway line. Surprisingly, she even foretold in mid 1800s of a coming generation that would behave strangely and would talk like weaverbirds, claim to be wiser, break traditions, do things that were considered taboos and build houses on top of the other. Honestly, is that not happening now…..
The akamba are a bantu speaking ethnic group who predominantly live in Kenya occupying Eastern province that constitutes: Makueni, Kitui and Machakos County.