Kasisi Facing Mount Kenya is an online database in honor of the late Very Rev. Charles Mũhoro Kareri. Born in 1898. Kareri witnessed the establishment of the Church of Scotland Mission work in Kenya. He was later to become the first African moderator of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa.
Despite the colonial discriminatory by-laws Charles Mũhoro Kareri played a pivotal role in the translation of the Bible to Gĩkũyũ language. Highly intelligent and well capable of carrying out translation work on his own, Kareri singlehandedly translated most of the Psalms using Swahili and English Bibles.
In the 1920s and 30s, Kareri traversed the Gĩkũyũ country collecting words and evaluating how such words were used in different Gĩkũyũ dialects. Kareri aimed at collecting and using “archaic words” which he feared would be lost if not preserved in written form. In his opinion, though some of these words were difficult to most readers, he would rather people use a dictionary than lose the original Gĩkũyũ. Kareri strongly felt that it was his responsibility to preserve the words for the benefit of the community.
There were times when Kareri would spend days together with Missionary Arthur Ruffell Barlow arguing over certain Gĩkũyũ words as they polished and added more into the language. He also translated invectives for Mr. Barlow. Most of his work found its way not only in the Bible but also in Barlow’s dictionary and T. G. Benson’s Kikuyu-English dictionary.
Kareri saw himself as a man with a mission. It is in honor of this great vision that this online database is establish to preserve history, encourage research and offer resources in matters of Christian missions, theology and public policy.
The Gĩkũyũ Christian songs (and Swahili songs) found in this database add to the long history of Agĩkũyũ great composers and singers. It is a history that has used complex cultural codes through songs, proverbs, and marebeta to articulate Agĩkũyũ's faith in God, their experience, vision, and sometimes political defiance.
That history is well captured by Boyes who was one of the earliest travelers in the Gĩkũyũ country long before colonization. Noting about the importance of singing in the life of the Agĩkũyũ, Boyes observed:
"the Kikuyu are a very musical people, singing wherever they go, and the warriors would come to the dances in a body, singing as they marched along, and keeping as perfect time and step as a regiment of trained soldiers… the Kikuyu seem to have more varieties of dances than any natives I know, and are, on the whole, a light-hearted race, singing all day long."
Boyes also recorded that the Gĩkũyũ country had:
"a class of strolling minstrels, resembling more than anything the old troubadours of the Middle Ages…a privileged class, travelling from place to place and extemporising songs about local events and people – not always without a strong tinge of sarcasm, which no one dared to resent."
King of the Wa-Kikuyu: A True Story of Travel and Adventure in Africaby John Boyes. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd., 1968: 88-89.
The second edition was published in 1935. The third and most important revision was completed in 1974. The fourth edition was revised, enlarged and published in 2003.
To access individual songs, click on the image of "Nyĩmbo cia Kũinĩra Ngai" on the left side of this page. The songs are arranged thematically.
This is the first online version of Nyĩmbo Cia Kĩroho. The first collection of these songs was printed in 1972. More revision, edition, and additions have been done over the years. The second edition was published in 1977. The third edition was revised, enlarged and published in 1988.
To access individual songs, click on the image of "Nyĩmbo Cia Kĩroho" on the left side of this page. The songs are arranged alphabetically.
To access individual songs, click on the image of "Tenzi Za Rohoni" on the left side of this page. The songs are arranged alphabetically. Nyimbo zingine nyingi katika mtandao huu wa intaneti wa Kasisi Facing Mount Kenya zimetafsiriwa kutoka kwa Nyimbo Standard na Nyimbo za Kristo.