1977 年 1977 巻 16 号 p. 23-35
In this paper I consider kithitu (pl. ithitu) among the Kamba, a ‘Bantu speaking’ people in Central Kenya. Kithitu is a kind of magical medicine (muthea) in a broad sense. Its form is a medicine container, such as an animal's horn or a human tibia, in which magical medicine is packed. Medicine is mainly made from plants, but it is very difficult to know the constituents of medicine because secrecy about the ingredients is strictly kept.
There are many kinds and many uses of ithitu among the Kamba, but in this paper I examine Kilonzo's kithitu which is very well-known in the northern part of Kitui District. There are many oral traditions and much gossip about the kithitu in which its potency and the people's fear of it are always expressed.
Here I consider how the Kamba explain the various qualities and power of the kithitu, including:
1. The owner must keep his kithitu in the bush (kitheka) far away from his homestead (musyi). If he puts it in his homestead, the people of his homestead will die because of the strong effective power of the kithitu.
2. After using the kithitu, the owner and the persons concerned must not leave it without wiping off their eyes, hands and the soles of their feet with a mixture of juice from some plants and the soil of an ant hill, or with mwoyo (the undigested contents of a goat's stomach), because they have to cleanse the destructive power of the kithitu before coming back to their homes.
3. The kithitu sometimes comes near to the owner's homestead from the bush and cries like a man asking a goat's blood to drink. On such occasions, the owner must kill a goat and take the blood to the kithitu immediately. It is said that if he neglects this, all the members of his homestead will die.
4. The owner of strong kithitu can not have his real sons. It is believed that his real sons die young one after another because he always uses the kithitu.
5. The kithitu is used in oaths as kuya kithitu (to eat kithitu). It has the power to judge the truth. The accuser and the accused go to the bush and each of them swears over the kithitu, saying that if he tells a lie the kithitu may kill him. But people don't swear over the kithitu directly without kusuna kavyu (to lick a hot knife), ordeal as the first step, because the kithitu is so dangerous that a liar is killed with it. Swearing over the kithitu is connected with law, morals, values, legal procedure, clan conferences (mbai), political power and so on.
The kithitu is used as uoi (magical power to knock down an enemy or a rival). When some person encounters serious difficulties brought by his enemy, he visits and asks the owner of the kithitu to kill his enemy. The owner chants a spell against the enemy, striking the kithitu with a twig.
The Kamba categorize uoi into two parts: Uoi wa mundu ume (uoi of man) and uoi wa mundu muka (uoi of woman). The kithitu belongs to the category of uoi of man. It has the characteristics shown below:
(1) A person who wants to use the kithitu must pay money to the owner. It costs about three hundreds shillings (equivalent to about fifteen thousands yen). Kuthooa kithitu (to buy kithitu) means to use kithitu as uoi.
(2) Women and children cannot approach and use the kithitu because administering it is always attended by some danger and secrecy. Only the male adults can use it.
(3) It is forbidden to use the kithitu without socially justified reasons. To use kithitu is basically permitted by the society, but only if people follow the prescribed pattern of usage. The kithitu as uoi is deeply related to the kamba magico-religious beliefs a