Revitalizing Kaya Traditions of the Duruma

Tags: Kaya, duruma, Mijikenda, Mwerya


A Glorious Mwerya Jubilee Celebration

In a world where the echoes of tradition often fade, two remarkable groups, Kaya Chilumani and Upendo Mkanyeni in the Kinango area of Kenya, have breathed new life into an ancient practice known as Mwerya. This practice, steeped in community and culture, was the heart of their recent jubilee ceremony (a clearing of debts) that resonated not only with their group members but also with the larger community. Their celebration rekindled the flames of tradition, echoed with joyful songs, inspiring stories, and a renewed sense of unity. In a Mwerya a community create a commitment to service and each member is able to draw on the commitments of others to help farm, fix their house and so on - on a yearly cyclical calender.


The festivities kicked off with melodies that seemed to infuse the air with a contagious energy. These were no ordinary songs; they were anthems of gratitude, each note a testament to the benefits that Mwerya had bestowed upon its practitioners. Through these tunes, the community was reminded of the power of collective effort and the positive impact it had on their lives.

Following the harmonious opening, the stage was set for success stories to shine. Two members from each group took the floor to share personal anecdotes of transformation brought about by Mwerya. These stories, while unique in their essence, painted a collective picture of how this ancient practice had enriched lives and strengthened bonds within the community. The triumphs shared were a poignant reminder of the potential that lies within traditions when embraced with open hearts.

As if the presence of the local elders was a nod from the past, their wisdom added an air of reverence to the occasion. Village Elders, often known as Nyumba Kumi, had the floor to enlighten the audience about the significance of Mwerya and the necessity to revive practices that had faded over time. Their words were more than just speeches; they were a call to action, imploring the community to resurrect the forgotten practices and infuse their lives with the essence of tradition.


And then came the market, an emblem of evolution bridging the gap between the old and the new. Members brought their goods and services, their offerings to the world, utilizing Community Asset Vouchers to trade without national currency. The market became a bustling hub of commerce, a true testament to the potential of their own unique medium of exchange. This innovative approach caught the attention of not just the community members, but also those outside their immediate circle. The seeds of curiosity and interest were sown, promising growth and expansion other their network.

The celebration culminated in a shared lunch, a symbol of unity and togetherness. As plates were shared and stories exchanged, the bonds strengthened, and the spirit of community flourished. The joyous occasion highlighted that the essence of Mwerya wasn't just about labor, but about forging connections, preserving heritage, and embracing a way of life that beautifully marries the past and present.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, the jubilee celebrations drew to a close. The event wasn't just a celebration of Mwerya, but a testament to the power of tradition, unity, and collective progress. Every soul present left with renewed spirits, carrying the flame of Mwerya into the future. The jubilee served as a reminder that amidst change, some traditions remain timeless, waiting for the right hearts to kindle their flames once more.