2011/2012 Yearbook Oral tradition and history

Games and Sports

Sports, traditional and modern, is another realm for showcasing Kenya’s oral traditions. Each community has its traditional sports, although they are not all actively practised today. Among the Kamba, traditional games and sports include swimming, running, jumping, tugs of war, hide and seek, stone throwing, light wrestling and archery. Among the Luo, there is wrestling, swimming, hunting and canoe racing.

Bull fighting, popular among the Luhya, is becoming a new tourist attraction in western Kenya. Some promoters intend to formalise it following an announcement that the government will open the Obama Tourism Circuit for western Kenya to maximise on Barack Obama’s presidency. Barack Obama Sr, the US president’s father was a Kenyan.But the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals and the African Network for Animal Welfare consider the activity a form of cruelty to animals and a crime.

Oral traditions also feature very strongly in modern sports where cheering is its main manifestation. In a rugby match, it is common to hear the refrain “Wakenya Eeh; Wakenya Aah” (Kenyans Eeeh! Kenyans Aah!).The cheering is particularly strong  in soccer matches. The most obvious example is the cult-like football club, Gor Mahia, whose fans have institutionalised their cheering into the following anthem:

Soloist: Kogalo

(Son of Ogalo) …

Chorus: Goooor….Gor Mahia

Soloist: Kogalo

Chorus: Pinje duto ywakni (All nations rue you)

Soloist: Kogalo????

Chorus: Goooor, Gor Mahia

Soloist: Kogalo                                   

Chorus: Nyiri duto ywak ni, GorrrGor Mahia (All lasses rue you Gor Mahia)

A new addition to the Kenyan cheering tradition is the South African vuvuzela, the plastic horn popularised by the 2010 soccer World Cup extravaganza in South Africa.