Version classiqueVersion mobile

A Complex Polity

Anne-Marie Peatrik


Texte intégral

athi: see muthoi

authi or kibata: warriors’ dance

baite: term of address a) between men of consecutive generations who have handed over power to each other; b) between men of different generational divisions; c) between a maternal uncle and his nephew once the latter has been initiated; d) among Meru, when they cross paths in Nairobi, for example; e) as a result of d), a nickname given to the Meru

bankiro: official lovers’ relationship between a man and a woman of conjoined generation sets

chuku: granary, once erected outside of the family kraal

ekaanga: dry, hot season around January and February during which raids increased

etaalia (pl. mataalia): step for measuring a length; age grade

etaana (pl. mataana): promotion of initiates; the three generational subsets classed by order of initiation: ndinguri ( “those who wait because it is closed”): first subset; kobia: [literal meaning not found]: second subset; kaberia ( “the little ones who are in front”): third and last subset

gaada (or gada): name of the generation-set system specific to the Borana and more widely to the Oromo people

gaaru: dormitory of the non-initiates; warriors’ hut; hut of the father

gakenye (pl. tûkenye): non-initiate, small girl

gichiario: kin relationship in the form of a blood brotherhood that prohibits marriage and fighting, and imposes a kind of mutual aid

gichiumû or gichumû: wooden object representing the male and female genitalia, used by non-initiates during games to test knowledge revealed gradually

gîkumbi: the wife’s house

girane: individuals, both male and female, who are reputed to be very beautiful, and to cause the death of successive spouses

gîtiba: term designating one or both generational divisions, or generational cycles; see ntaliba

gûciara: to be born, give birth, give new life; see ûciarwa

gûcimba: to spit through one’s upper teeth, to scorn sb.

gukurîrwa: provisional shunning of a husband declared by the women’s council

gûtûra matû: “ear piercing” ritual

gwato: contract between one who lends a cow and one who borrows it; cattle bond

gwûkwamira: curse carried out by women only

ibwa (mabwa): honeycomb of a hive; honeycomb cells; reticulum, the compartment of a ruminant’s stomach whose inner walls resemble the honeycombs of a hive

îcia: mother

ina: mother; inamuthenya: “day mother”; “godmother”

inya: energy of the creator principle, or Supreme Being, called Ngaï or Murungu; energy, force

iraa: cosmetic made from the salted white clay from Mwimbî or the Igombe crater, used in rituals involving the “accomplishment” of an individual

îrika (pl. marika): sometimes designates the female initiation promotions

ithe (pl. baîthe): father; ithemuthenya: “day father”; “godfather”

ithûngi: the “Erect”; in Tigania this designates the grade of the Accomplished; synonym of mwariki

îtîri (pl. matîri): threshing ground; the consecrated place on the public ground where boys and girls are (were) circumcised

jûûjû: grandparent; grandchild

kaaria: a kind of white clay that is the emblem of the set of women who have reached the grade of political power

kaberia: see etaana

kaîjî (pl. îwîjî): small non-initiate, small boy

kaita or kagita: the name of a healing association

kearao (pl. cearao): public ground of the “neighborhood” (ntoora)

kiaanda (pl. tûaanda): blacksmith’s workshop, potter’s workshop; kiaanda kia ntaanî: “novice’s workshop”, seclusion hut of newly circumcised boy

kiama (pl. ciama): council of Fathers of the country, council of men; kiama cia aka: “council of women”

kiara (pl. ciara): household waste pit

kiempe: drum, honey pot

kieni kia gaaru: “public ground of the warrior gaaru”; designates the communal ground where people gather within each territorial section

kîgwîria: “He who makes people happy”, honorific title

kiingo (pl. cingo): farming season that corresponds more or less to one semester

kîmukwa: pendant necklace received by a girl during the “ear-piercing” ritual

kiome (pl. iome): awning at the entrance to a father’s hut; place where men convene

kioncho: incest within generational sets; individuals (men or women) excluded from their generational sets; premature child

kîooro: iron for branding cattle; “trial of the kîooro or kioro”: trial by ordeal in which the novice is threatened

kirago: category of objects or particular individual (see mûgwe) considered beneficent and endowed with a protective force

kirato: sandal (s); a boy receives his first pair of sandals during the “ear-piercing” ritual

kîrimo or kîrimarimo: term to do with the idea of “swallower”; in initiation games and folktales, it designates a boy disguised as a wild beast, or a kind of ogre, or even a magic gourd

kîrumi (pl. îrumi): curse

kîrûrû: grain reserves inside the wife’s house

kitharimo (pl. itharimo): blessing

kitheega: “the Malignant”; term for a child conceived by an uninitiated big girl

kobia: see etaana

kûbirika: period of mourning; to mourn, with the tacit intention of getting rid of the mûgiro or pollution from an inauspicious death

kûbwithia kiongoana: “to repair the head”; phrase designating the category of rituals involving the growth and accomplishment of individuals

kuramuka: raid; see also njûûri

kuringa nthenge: “beating the goat”; designates a sort of oath-swearing ordeal

kurîria: category of songs chanted during visit by a boy or a girl to the mother’s kin preceding his or her initiation; name of this peregrination

kûruga na mîambo: “to fight through words”, to pretend to fight, a way of designating joking relationships

kûtaana: “to circumcise”, “to excise”; to initiate; see etaana

lamalle or ramare: warriors in charge of fetching the circumciser; council of warriors

lûbua: seclusion hut of a circumcised girl

maatha: twins

maitha: enemies

makûikû: name of a healing association

matheta or matuna: internal conflict

mirongo ithato: “thirty”; number designating the largest fine that a council of Fathers or women’s council could impose on a culprit

mirra: (Catha edulis) tree whose bark— from young branches—contains natural amphetamines, and is chewed

mîthega (sg. mûthega): medicinal plants, protective charms; always used in the plural

moran: in the Maasai language blended with Kiswahili, term designating a warrior; often used by white people to designate any warrior in eastern Africa

mûciari (pl. aciari): agnate

muciere (pl. aciere): woman of child-bearing age

mûciî (pl. mîciî): family kraal; mûciî jwa ngombe: “cattle enclosure”; mûciî jwa mîthega: “protective enclosure”, any family kraal whose father provisionally holds a ritual function

mugaa (pl. agaa): diviner-healer; mugaa wa ntaanî: “diviner-healer of the novices”, buffoon disguised as a cow who carries out the trial of the kîooro (see above) of the novices

mugambi (pl. agambi): “he of the speech”; in a council of Fathers of the country, the individual who stands out in his ability to express himself, to find solutions, and bring about agreement

mûgiro: state of sickness or contamination of an individual and/or a country, following a deliberate or involuntary transgression of the forbidden, or brought about by a curse

mûgwe (pl. agwe): dignitary who with the left hand blesses the newly promoted sets; in Tigania, designates the mantle worn by the individual responsible for these blessings

muka (pl. aka): female individual, young woman; term to designate an initiate after the birth of her first child

mûkenye (pl. nkenye): female adolescent, non-initiate who is growing

mûkiama (pl. akiama): “council man”; in Tigania it designates an individual whose function resembles that of the mûgwe (see entry)

mûkûrû (pl. akûrû): “he who has matured”; Father of the country; man who has begun initiating his children

muntuetû: “our man”; term of reference and address designating the maternal uncle

mûrimo (pl. mîrimo): disease

murogi (pl. arogi): witch

mûrumî (pl. arumî): male individual; term to designate a man who has become a young father

Murungu: see Ngaï

mûtaanî (pl. ataanî) wa îjîîjî: circumciser; mûtaanî wa nkenye: exciser, female circumciser muthaka (pl. nthaka): “Bushman”, warrior

muthoi (pl. athoi ou athi): hunter

muthoni (pl. athoni): ally (in marriage alliance)

mûturi (pl. aturi): blacksmith

muuma: truth, oath; kwaria muuma: litt. to speak truth, to take an oath

mwaka (pl. mîaka): year; mwaka ya mpaara: “year of fatigue”, year of scarcity or famine

mwalle: designates the bridewealth heifer; a deformation of mware, “girl” or “sister”

mwana (pl. aana): child

mwariki (pl. ariki): Accomplished; last age grade; see ithûngi

mwekûrû (pl. ekûrû): “matured woman”; Mother holder of the kaaria (see this term); woman who has begun initiating her children

mwenjî: “he who shaves”; the poor individual who deals with the corpses of those who die inauspiciously

mwerera or nthanîthio: part of the bridewealth, the paying of which permits the initiation of the future bride

mwîjî (pl. ijîîjî): adolescent, growing non-initiate

mwiriga (pl. mîiriga): territorial section, territorial sub-section; clan category, clan; front gate a) to the family kraal; b) to the cattle enclosure; category, species

nainchû: honey, mead

ncibi: secret council of non-initiated boys

ncoro or choro: horn of the set of women in power

ndatho: part of the bridewealth, the paying of which permits the departure of the future bride

ndinguri: see etaana

ndûgû: term used among the children of sisters; combined with other terms (ndûgû îcia, ndûgû etû, ndûgû imwe) ndûgû designates the various categories of potential allies among kin; the payments called ndûgû correspond to the heads of cattle paid for each child and each grandchild born from a sister who left to marry

ndwa: war

ngaa: women’s small wooden shield; part of the ethnonym Mwiko jwa Ngaa, used to designate the Tigania before the colonial conquest

Ngaï or Murungu: terms used to designate the Supreme Being; the first is of Nilotic origin, the second Bantu

ngoono cia ngombe: “stories told by cows”; riddle, enigma

ngutu: novice in her period of seclusion; initiated girl not yet married

ngwiko: form of coitus interruptus and/or intercrural sex

njuki: bee

njûûri: raid, battle; dance to celebrate the return of warriors who have killed an enemy

njûûri ncheke, or njuri ncheke: “raid by a small number” or “close council” made up of super-initiates responsible for the arrest and execution of criminals and sorcerers; in colonial times, a council that eventually replaced the defunct councils of the Fathers of the country

nkilion: secret council of uninitiated girls

nkoro: heart; organ of speech located on the left for men and on the right for women

nkulani: “to give in an ongoing exchange”; cycle of exchanges; see also rûracio

ntaanî: male novice in his seclusion hut

ntaliba: for a girl, designates the sets of fathers and mothers of her generational cycle of origin; see gîtiba

nthaaria nguo: “to tear up the mantle”; ritual during which a father introduces his eldest daughter to his generation peers

nthîî: soil, earth; land in the sense of “sovereign country”; nthîîgûrû: “earth-sky”, domain of the mûgwe (see this latter)

nthoni: restraint, manners

nthukî: generation set; genealogical level

ntindiri: “he who waits to do nothing”; an individual, male or female, with an extraordinary longevity

ntongu: small yellow fruit placed on thresholds during rites of passage

ntoora: “neighborhood”; basic residential grouping made of family units living in proximity to each other; erroneously considered “village”

ntuiko: “rupture”; phase of the handover of powers between generations marked by numerous transgressions and widespread disobedience

nyamba: breeding bull; used as a protective device to designate a person who has died under inauspicious circumstances, that is any individual who died prematurely, whose name must no longer be uttered

riiko: “hearth” inside a wife’s hut

rugoi: warriors’ horn

rugoono (pl. ngoono): story; see ngoono cia ngombe

rukunyî: peaceful handing over of power between generations typical of the southern Meru groups

rûracio: part of bridewealth paid in heads of cattle, from the verb kûrachia; to give in an ongoing exchange; see nkulani

rwaato (pl. ndwaato): association; mode of recruitment to an association that can be a result of individual choice but may also include forced recruitment

thaano: cool, dry season, around August and September, during which rituals having to do with the maturation of individuals, especially initiations, took place; moment when the change of year occurred

thîîri, ûkiri: peace

tibûû: commercial expeditions when women, accompanied by warriors, went to neighboring or more distant populations to trade their goods

ûbacûgia: reinsertion ritual of the killer warrior

ûciarwa: “born together”; designates the link between the Tigania-Igembe and the Kamba, as well as the link resulting from the adoption of a newcomer by the Tigania-Igembe; see gûciara

ukindara: kind of wrestling practiced by non-initiates only

ûkûûra gaaru: ritual of the “uprooting of the warrior gaaru”; can be used to designate the handover of powers between generations, see ntuiko and rukunyî

ûrûcia: coaffins; men of the same generation set

uthoni: marriage alliance

waangi: altered state in which a warrior is seized by the desire to kill an enemy

waathi: name of a healing association

waatho: order or law dictated by the Fathers of the country; from the verb kûwaatha, to institute

winj’anga: family incest

© Africae, 2020

Licence OpenEdition Books


Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search