Tracing African Roots :Kuuchika: African fertilisation process
The last three instalments dwelt on the importance of mukwerera (rain-making) and sacredness of the traditional month of November to African traditionalists.
The period from September, when mukwerera starts, through to the traditional month of January has a lot of spiritual significance to many Africans.
This is so as the onset of the rains brings with it an omen for reproduction and multiplication. In this instalment we talk about giving the seed more strength, a process known as kuuchika.
This is a process done before the seed is planted so that it is resistant to diseases and migratory pests.
I will also touch on the importance of this time of the year to human being’s reproductive system which like the land, also goes through the same process.
Kuuchika, or strengthening of the seed, is done before planting and the chief or elders take seed to spirit mediums who will in turn take it before the ancestors so that it is strengthened and blessed.
The seed is then distributed to all the people so that they mix it with other grain for planting.
This process makes the seed yield bigger harvests and makes it resistant to pests, diseases, the vagaries of weather and wild animals because the fields will have spiritual protection.
The African’s whole life has an attachment with Musiki because we always have to keep the commandments of the land.
Before harvesting and eating, people, through spirit mediums, thank Musiki – through ancestors – for their abundant harvests.
The observance of the commandments means understanding that it is the land that owns the people, not the people who own the land.
This means during the whole period, people observe the commandments of the land like not killing sacred wild animals which are not for consumption.
They would also ensure not to commit murder, adultery and other crimes against humanity until the harvests are done. It is still evident in some parts up to now that grain that goes through the process of kuuchika brings more yields and is more resistant to diseases and pests than other grain.
This process of kuuchika is also done for humans beings so that they conceive.
Today the process is usually done when married people have conception problems, but before it used to bee done prior to marriage.
In some of Zimbabwe people still practicing that. After puberty, boys and girls are taken to the river to test their strength to conceive.
Those found to be weak had herbal and spiritual remedies prescribed.
Failure to conceive in African traditional religion is mainly because of biological and spiritual reasons. So Africans have pharmacologists and herbalists who knew what to prescribe.
Spiritual issues that made people barren include being bewitched, one might have a spirit that needs to be welcomed, or crimes that might have been committed by one’s parents which needed to be paid for and so forth.
On the biological side, one could have low sperm count or blocked fallopian tubes, etc, which needed remedies.
Kuuchika is broad.
Even where a couple wants to change the sex of a child, after having had boys or girls only, there is a process called kushandura nyoka, which means changing the tubes’ ability to have a child of the desired sex.
Gentle reader, in African tradition there are very competent pharmacologists very capable of doing this.
Thus in cases where kings and chiefs needed heirs after conceiving females only, kushandura nyoka was done and sons were born.
Another thing one would find interesting is the properties of fruits that sprout at the onset of the rainy season.
These fruits have properties that stimulate and enhance sex drive as well giving strength to the male seed and opening up the female tubes.
Fruits like mazhanje, hute, tsambatsi, maroro, tsvanzva, nhengeni, nhunguru, masawu have these effects. People eat these fruits without knowing their other uses.
Like I said, there is a spiritual connection between the onset of the rains, the germination and ripening of first fruits and conception of humans and animals.
November, mwedzi weMbudzi, is known for multiplication of goats, and other animals for the following months.
Different areas have fruits that sprout at the advent of the rainy season.
The process of fertilisation is spiritually connected between the land and humans since the land owns the people.
If the land becomes angry with people, there won’t be many fruits. That is why among some communities, jiri remazhanje or mashuku, or gute rehute, are sacred forests and people who say nasty things in them meet misfortunes or disappear.
The fruits are also to be shared with wild animals, which also have a spiritual bearing on the land.
Zvita (December) which is literally derived from the Bantu word for gathering, shows that after observing the spiritual month of November, people gather to weed the fields (nhimbe) and gather for festivities for both the land and people.
So, in African tradition every aspect of life has a spiritual bearing.
And all the processes are inter-connected from the process of mukwerera, sanctity of the month of November to the fertility period of the beginning of the year which starts in traditional December but is mid-November according to the Gregorian calendar.