Since 1901

Why the famous Kakamega crying stone stopped crying

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The once-powerful magnetic pull of the ‘Ikhonga Murwi’ has been diminished in recent years.

Ikhonga Murwi is a descriptive phrase in the Isukha dialect of the larger Luhya language that refers to the famous Crying Stone of Kakamega County. The Crying Stone is a giant boulder shaped like a human torso, complete with a head, and only the hands are missing.

For many decades, water used to cascade from the head down its smooth surface to earn it the ‘crying stone’ tag. Seven years ago, the stone suddenly stopped ‘crying’, no explanation has been given.

Many people believe it has magic. According to Mary Ingato, periodic skirmishes between the Luhya and Kalenjin on the outskirts of Malava town originated at the crying stone in the 1900s.

Resident Ibrahim Matsili said the story handed down is that curious Nandi tribesmen attempted to get to the top of the stone to topple its head and determine what caused it to cry, but they never made it. “They would lob ropes to encircle the head in the hope of pulling it down, but those who attempted to do so died on the spot.”

Resident Mary Ingato says in 1987, some European tourists came around and took pictures lying in a hole, much like a grave, that they dug at the base of the crying stone. “John Shirandula, my father-in-law, participated in the fun against advice from fellow elders. He died within five months.” “The mystery surrounding the source of the water that used to come down the crying stone led many to believe it had magical and healing power,” says Matsili. “The water that used to come down the front of the rock was so pure, many marveled at it.”

According to elder Ernest Shitera the stone used to soak in water from underground and the surplus was expelled from the top.

“Besides the good side of the crying stone, there is a negative side too. Criminals used to hide in the caves,” said Charles Shirandula.

The Kakamega government owes it to residents to restore the glory of the crying stone. Mid last year, Tourism Executive Alfred Matianyi said there were plans to give the site a major facelift. To date, nothing has been done.