Kikuyu elder Njoroge wa Kimani wants soda, beer banned during ruracio(Kikuyu dowry procession).

Kimani, 90 who runs Wakanini Cultural Centre in Murengeti in Kiambu laments the rapidly changing ways of conducting the ceremony. According to Kimani, the revered tradition is being ruined by modern ways such as drinking sodas and beer.

“I don’t understand how soda became part of this tradition. When and how? Who sanctioned this? It even irks me a lot when I see dowry procession with women carrying crates of soda. This is not our tradition,” laments Kimani.

But one Mary Wanjiku, 76, admits women popularised sodas in ruracio but unintentionally.

“We have small children and women who spend hours in the kitchen and such need to quench thirst and not with water or tea but something different and uncommon. This is how sodas were entrenched in the ceremony,” she says.

On his part, Kimani says his issues with the soft drinks is that they have become part of the dowry ceremony.

“In the olden days, those who did not consume alcohol drank porridge. No one is forced to take brew but if they insist on offering sodas they should be kept away, shared out and be consumed away from the venue of dowry rites. What we can allow is brew, uji, water or soup from the slaughtered ceremonial animals,” he warns.

The elder also castigates an emerging trend whereby beer is taking over muratina(Kikuyu traditional beer).

“Modern generation should know that beer is to liven the event but the brew meant for the ceremony is our traditional muratina.

“At no time will commercially brewed alcohol replace muratina, but such is allowed to extend celebrations. I have never accepted to spearhead any ritual without muratina being part of it. That is a prerequisite, even a calabash of it can be enough,” he says as quoted by Crazy Monday.

Kimani also lashed out at sections of clerics he said have waged war on traditions by misadvising their faithful to dump traditions like dowry or dishonoring some demands of dowry ceremony.

“These rites have been around for decades and can draw curse if they are disregarded. Why Pastors tell their members not to offer brew for dowry and when such are shadowed by curse they abandon them,” he says.