Luanda Magere - Hero from Lake Victoria

A tale is told about the strongest man of the land, nobody could defeat him. He was believed to have had the strength of the gods. Then lo and behold, he marries a woman from the enemy tribe, at a weak moment he discloses the secret to his strength to her, she uses that information to kill him. Sounds very familiar huh? Somewhat like Samson and Delilah yah? Turns out we in East Africa have our own version of Samson and Delilah.

MAZU THE GAME

deangichuki

10/14/20212 min read

two men standing near house

A tale is told about the strongest man of the land, nobody could defeat him. He was believed to have had the strength of the gods. Then lo and behold, he marries a woman from the enemy tribe, at a weak moment he discloses the secret to his strength to her, she uses that information to kill him. Sounds very familiar huh? Somewhat like Samson and Delilah yah? Turns out we in East Africa have our own version of Samson and Delilah.

Folklore of the Luo community of Kenya speaks of a mighty warrior known as Lwanda Magere. He was born in the year 1720 to Abonyo Wuod Omolo and his mother Nyabera. His mother died during his birth and was therefore taken care of by his grandmother Rapondi. His father died in one of the numerous wars with their Nandi neighbours when Magere was barely a teenager. He belonged to the sidho clan in Kano, on the shores of Lake Victoria. He is said to have possessed unearthly powers, and his flesh was made of stone. Arrows, spears and clubs simply deflected from his body, making him invincible during war.

He was famously known for his capability to tear an entire army apart alone

The Luo traditional enemies at the time were the jo Lang'o (Luo name for the Kalenjin community). The Lang'o were tired of being defeated at war by the Luo so their elders sat to discuss the issue and came to a conclusion where they would give Luanda a wife to marry, claiming that it was a gesture of peace. Her name was Maryann. Maryann’s role was to find out how to defeat him. They, therefore, sent her to him in an elaborate ceremony. Though the Luo elders advised him not to take the girl, Luanda Magere did not heed their advice. Why? She was beautiful. Her skin shone like a marble, her eyes were piercing and shiny, so deep that you could get lost in them for hours.

Luanda Magere's eventual downfall came at the hands of his wife. Now it happened that whenever Luanda was sick, his first wife would care for him. One day he fell ill when his first wife was away. He, therefore, called his Lang'o wife to bring him some medicine. Luanda instructed her to cut his shadow with a knife and instill the medicine. She was surprised when she saw his shadow bleed. That night, she crept out of Lwanda's home and ran back to her people. She was received with joy when she told them her husband's weakness: that his shadow was made of flesh and was vulnerable to attack. The news quickly spread. The Nandi knew that the Luo would not expect them to attack as Luanda had married one of them making them kinsmen. They then attacked the Luo. The Luo fought fiercely and Luanda killed so many Nandi warriors that they decided to retreat. As he was running, one Nandi warrior remembered that Luanda's strength was in his shadow. He stood at a hill and threw his spear at Luanda's shadow. Luanda Magere fell down and died. His body turned to stone. The stone is there to date and in addition to it being a tourist attraction point, people come from far and wide to conduct rituals and prayers.

So interesting how many legends have similar stories yet the stories are told in different timelines by people who had in no way mingled. Maybe there existed god-men on earth after all.