Prelude to the M'Goiyu Dance

Kikuyu - Prelude to the M'Goiyu dance

The M'Goiyu dance was an exceptional gathering called by Kikuyu elders in the 1920s, to swear and solemnize a warriors' oath to protect trees.

Credit: photo scanned from "Africa Drums", by Richard St. Barbe Baker. It is an unusually perceptive and sympathetic account of both East and Central Africa from a time (1920s) when traditional cultures and their values were under increasing assault from colonisation and racism. Working as Assistant Conservator of Forests in Kenya, he encouraged the Kikuyu and others to plant trees in order to combat land erosion. He also participated in their culture, and was the first (and probably the only) white man to be elected to honorary Kikuyu elderhood. The book is dedicated to "To the Glory of Mwininyaga" - Mwininyaga is another word for the Kikuyu God, Ngai. Baker's efforts led to the "Men of the Trees" movement, which is now worldwide. You'll find more about both him and the Men of the Trees movement at


Traditional Music & Cultures of Kenya
Copyright Jens Finke, 2000-2003

also by Jens Finke
Chasing the Lizard's Tail - across the Sahara by bicycle - fine art photography