Kidongoi's Kin Prophecy & Power in Maasailand
RICHARD D. WALLER
According to Maasai myth, the first laibon,1Kidongoi, was found as a child wandering on the Ngong Hills by a murran who took him home and looked after him. Later, when the child revealed his extraordinary powers of foreknowledge and miracle-working, his alarmed benefactor gave him to another, whose clan, Laiser, he joined. Kidongoi's descendants, often referred to as the House (Enkang) of Supeet or Mbatiany, came to form their own sub-clan, the Inkidongi, and have prophesied for Maasai sections ever since.2
A belief in prophecy and divination is widespread among the Maa-speakers and their neighbours. The rise of the Inkidongi laibons among the Maasai, although almost a paradigm case of the expansion of prophetic power, is only one example, and even in Maasailand the Inkidongi had their rivals. This chapter examines the 'laibon tradition' by looking first at the special characteristics of prophetic power and influence among the Maasai and then suggesting an interpretation of the development of one prophet group, the Inkidongi, in the context of rivalry between practitioners within what was a highly fluid, entrepreneurial and competitive field of opportunity. Finally, it considers briefly other prophets in Maasailand and sketches in the wider background of an enduring but adaptable tradition of prophecy in the region.
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Publication information: Book title: Revealing Prophets:Prophecy in Eastern African History. Contributors: David M. Anderson - Editor, Douglas H. Johnson - Editor. Publisher: James Currey. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1995. Page number: 28.
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