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Denis Wabuyi


There are various ways in which ancestors visit us especially during the dry season. The people that passed on have a way of keeping in touch with the living and one of that is through the whirlwind “ishifuutsa”

During the dry season, it is very common for one to meet a ghost especially in the mid of the day when the sun burns most (mwiyangilwe). That is why children are cautioned from moving at that time. It is also at that time that the dead visit through the whirlwinds (ibifuutsa). One who commonly passes by our home is the late Khaemba. Every Tuesday at 2 pm, the wind whirls from Nakunuku past our home and stops at the spot where he was buried.


One strange thing about the whirlwind is that if you covered it with a basin, it turns into a snake. It has ever happened to Wakharu who used to despise the customs of the village. Since then, he has learned to respect the customs and whenever he sees a whirlwind come his way, he gives it chance to pass.

Meeting a ghost is not something uncommon and save for very bad spirits, others only require a sacrifice and someone gets back to normal. Moses is a renowned petty thief. When a goat or chicken goes missing, he is always among the first suspects just like Wonyama and Wamusanga. On this particular day, he had gone to Busiu and delayed returning home.


According to him, when he reached Wakutuma he saw a very tall man donning a white katso (tunic/kanzu). As he approached him, from nowhere the man emitted a fire. Without thinking twice, Moses threw away the bicycle and dived off into the nearby bush and ran with all his energy to escape the ghost.

Apparently, he is not the only one to have met the ghost that night. Even Mabonga when returning from Busiu saw it and also abandoned his bicycle, called on his comrade Wakapisi to escort him. Wakapisi being a world War veteran escorted Mabonga back to the place where he had left the bicycle but they did not find it. Just like Moses, Mabonga’s bicycle was taken by the ghost?

Moses is known to suffer epilepsy attacks and is what followed after escaping the ghost. However, unlike previously where this could last an hour or less, this attack went on and after convulsions, he started nodding his head endlessly and talking random words. Amidst these random words, the spirit within him started making demands. His grandmother was called to interrogate him and establish whose spirit had entered Moses.

He asked for busela and they brought it, asked for chicken and one was slaughtered immediately and roasted with kamoshe. After downing the alcohol, chicken and kamoshe, Moses suddenly regained his senses and went to bed.

Us who had come to witness the ordeal were awestruck by a spirit that could only come and demand for food then go back. Morning could reveal a lot. Did the ghost take the bicycle? We could say that Moses had sold off the bicycle and pretended to get away with it but the fact that the same happened to Mabonga, no one could doubt Moses.

But where could the ghost take the bicycles?


Then at midday that next day, the spirit visited Moses again. This time it was demanding for a goat’s heart, kamoshe and alcohol (busela) and it wanted a twin goat. We all knew that it must be Wamono’s spirit.Wamono, Moses’ brother had collapsed and died at Namashele, a day before his circumcision. All as asked was given but what troubled elders was when the spirit asked for chicken that very evening.

Wandwasi with immense anger went into the house and came back with a Machete. We all thought that he was going to slaughter Moses but he just bypassed him and went to the backyard.


He then returned with a sizable whip swearing to beat the hell out of the spirit unless it tells them what it wants. On seeing the seriousness in his eyes, Moses looked to his grandmother who also remained silent, turned to the others who had gathered as if to look to who will rescue him but all of us had tired of the demanding spirit within Moses.

Seeing that no one was ready to stop Wandwasi, Moses took to his heels and ran off. Which spirit could run away from a mere whip?


Then the bicycles were both found at Wonyama’s home. After a good beating he confessed to have got the bicycles from Wamusanga. Later when Mark narrated what had happened, it was amazing how coincidnce could cause the village a lot of the drama that ensued.

Known for his stubborn nature, Mark had chosen to play a prank on Mzee Mabonga who returns home in the dark. He waited till 8pm and dressed himself in a white tunic and carried his stool to the road. When he heard a kengere, he knew it is Mabonga and mounted the stool with a burning stick in the hand and raised it over his head. He could enjoy the scene as the rider fall off the bicycle and ran off. As he was descending the stool, he was surprised to see how courageous Mabonga was to suddenly come back for his bicycle ride off back to direction of Busiu. But then as he was contemplating what to do next, another rider came from the same direction and he chose to play it again. And surely, the first person could have been someone else. Mabonga also abandoned his bicycle and ran off towards Wakapisi’s house. Mark knew that if Wakapisi happens to come, he would be shot with an arrow. Wakapisi is not joke. He therefore picked his stool, removed the tunic and ran back to his house.



As Mark was playing his prank, Wonyama and Wamusanga were picking the bicycles which the scared riders abandoned. They had got wind of Mark’s plan when he bragged about doing it while at Nasiyata’s drinking joint that evening. As Mark played his prank, the two thieves were busy reaping but it was even surprising that they got 2 bicycles where they had expected one. And it was for that reason that they could be arrested but that will be a story for another day.

For Moses, he confessed that he saw the ghost-like figure but the demands for a goat, chicken and kamoshe and busela was not a demand by any spirit but himself.


“I had taken long without eating meat and I now see how you people care more about the dead than us the living.” He said in the clan meeting that had been organized to send him back to his parents’ home. A child cannot prosper among his maternal relatives at the cost of the owners of the home.

He was sent away!

Till then, we shall keep you posted!

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