Part 2: Rūraacio among the Agìkūyū
Our point of departure:
"Rūraacio is not given to purchase the woman to be married, as all the negotiations and manner of it's 'payments' make clear. It is not even possible to discount the economic character of Rūraacio
...but it's Social and Religious implications are much more significant." L Magesa

✓ Njohi ya kūmenya mūciì
After Njohi ya Njūrio, Njohi ya kūmenya mūciì ( beer to know the girl's home) is brewed. It was prepared by the young man assisted by his relatives.
The young man, his parents, a few elders, paternal cousins, and a few women took the beer to the young girls home. This is one of the beers consumed by both men and women. It is at this juncture that the girls father said to the young man's Father,
Rìu thiì ūraacie ( Go now and prepare the dowry.)
The boy's parents returned home and begun to collect sheep and goats, for the first Rūraacio installment. It is important to note that right from Njohi ya Njūrio, Njohi ya kūmenya mūciì,
relatives from the girl's side were largely part of the process. In particular the maternal uncles, paternal brothers, and cousins. A few selected elders were also part of the whole Ūgūrani process.
✓ Why was Rūraacio was given?
1. Rūracio among the Agìkūyū was never a payment or a one off affair. It was something given over a long time. It was also never aimed at enrichment. This is so because the CORE reason for Rūraacio was to seek blessings from Ngai for the couple,
the two families and clans coming together.

In Gìkūyū Religion, there was/is a deep interconnectedness between Ngai, the Ancestors ( Ngomi), the Unborn the living ( parents, elders, children) and the clan. There is a power chain flow that trickled/s down from Ngai,
to the ancestors, the unborn, to the living and so on. This power flow, is key to anyone who wants to understand the deep Agìkūyū philosophy and Religion. Therefore we will keep referring to this interconnectedness often. According to oral tradition as passed down from Gìkūyū
and Mūmbi the forefather and foremother of the Agìkūyū community, Ngai spoke to Gìkūyū and told him that it was his wish to bless his daughters, their husbands, their children, and their marriage/family life. Therefore, Gìkūyū and Ngai went into an agreement.
That the blessings of children from Ngai, would be through their parents and the clan. Rūracio was therefore one of the ways through which children would seek their ancestors, parents clan's blessings. Therefore any item given in the Rūracio process, was never a payment,
but a token of appreciation to Ngai, the ancestors, parents, and the clans.

From the introductory part of this series, to this section, it is important to point out that Rūracio is a purely religious, social, and psychological process-
with all the rituals, ceremonies, and intentions accompanying it.
Remember also, this token was never a one off affair, it was given through several physical visits all of which were aimed at strengthening the bonds of kinship between the two new families and clans.
Rūraacio was not entering into a contract, it was a step by step, progressive development undertaken in a community framework. It was a gradual growing together of partners and families.
2. To legally bind the marriage. In the Agìkūyū community, if a man has not given Rūraacio, it is synonyms to not being married to her. If another man from came and married her, gave Rūraacio she and the and the children from that marriage,the man would not have
any legal claim to his wife or children. It is also through Rūraacio that a man was given the right to exclusive sexual access to that woman. Rūraacio ensured that that marital union was safeguarded and bound.
3. To make children of that marriage legitimate members of the Father's lineage. Children only belonged to a man who had given Rūraacio. Thus in this way children are given an identity. This too also allowed the man to bequeath status and property to his children,
as his descendants. The man who had not given any Rūraacio, would not have any legal rights over the children biological or adopted. Without this recognition and legitimization by Rūraacio, the status of children born becomes ambiguous.
The children were identified with and legally associated with the mother's clan and lineage.

4. To stabilize the marriage some people would refer to Rūraacio as marriage 'insurance' though not a very Worthy terminology and a sign of good will from both clans.
Through Rūraacio, a woman has a sense of belonging and Indeed she now becomes part of her husband's clan. The clan also recognizes her as part of the larger family in this way. Rūraacio cemented and expressed kinship ties.
5. Rūraacio also formed part of the process of the covenant that broke down the barriers between clans and peoples and established unions of life, Love, harmony, peace, and security beyond certain frontiers.
It is also important to note that the parents and the family of the young girl entering into marriage, would not accept Rūraacio and allow a girl to marry a man unless they were sure beyond doubt that she would remain with her husband and be a good wife to him.
If woman left her husband without just cause and without having been unfairly treated by him, her parents and family became liable to repay the whole of the Rūraacio with interest yes! you read right with interest.
Equally, the young man about to enter into marriage and his family, was properly prepared, investigated, and also tested to ensure he had met the necessary requirements of a good husband and father. If he I'll treated or gave his wife just cause to leave him,
he lost both his wife and almost all the Rūraacio. By the way, in a huge way, the man's clan protected the wife. If the man was caught and proved to be I'll treating his wife, he would be reprimanded by first his Riika( age mates.) If this still didn't stop the clan was involved
This would also happen if the wife misbehaved. Her family would spoke to her and warned her.
Overall, there was a hegde of protection toward the married couple right from the parents, extended family, and whole clan. Also remember that there was alot
of preparation ( in the form of kĩrĩra) that was given to the young man and woman. Especially during initiation. Therefore marriage, did not start with Rūraacio, but long before through rigorous covert and overt training.
Ultimately, Agìkūyū marriage as was with African marriages was anchored in God the main sustainer of life and the principal preserver and transmitter of the vital force. A marriage without Rūraacio among the Agìkūyū, was considered highly irregular and offensive.
Cohabitation, though very rare then, was an injustice to the two clans, and to any clans.
Marriage solemnized with Rūraacio was a profoundly sacred reality. Why was this so? We will answer this question in part 3 and we will also look at the Rūraacio items.
Sources of this information:
✓Oral interviews with our consultant elders.
✓ Research
✓ Literature on Agìkūyū culture see photos below. We have all these books available and you can place an order with us via DM, SMS/ WHATSAPP our office number on 0790-224189.

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Definition of terms:
✓ Irigithathi - First born
✓ Itiema - Second born
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✓ Tata-sister to your mother
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