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Kifunika Hill
26-SEP-2009 Jola Dziubinska

Kifunika Hill

Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Kifunika, a sacred hill not too far away from the path, known as "fumuu la mkuu" (skull of the ancestors) or Kifunika Hill, with an altitude of ca. 2900 m, northwest of the Mandara Hut.
The local Chagga people (the tribe on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro) used it for sacrificial ceremonies. Also Chiefs from the Chagga people are buried there.
The Chagga have never conducted a ceremony on Kibo peak - not only because of the difficulties of the ascent, but also as a sign of respect for Njaro, the spirit who dwells in Kilimanjaro.

Even today, if a drastic event occurs, involving the entire Chagga people (like drought, epidemics, intractable group conflicts and war) - the ceremony called "tambiko" is conducted on the Kifunika peak.
After the sacrifice of the animal (usually a goat), its parts are divided with extreme care, since each body part has a particular significance, corresponding to a particular clan member who has a right to that meat.
The head of the animal is then wrapped in its skin, tied together, and left on the peak for the "mizimu" (nature spirits).
Womoo mkaa (upper ribs) go to the mother of the wife; kidari kya auyo (chest) goes to the father of the husband or the clan eldest; mario waka (neck) goes to women; kurende komonawamae (front feet) go to distant relatives; wanakye (legs) go to boys; testicles go to all male participants of the tambiko.
(from: "The Melting Glaciers of Kilimanjaro. On the Touristic Appropriation of African Nature in Aesthetic Modernity" by Urte Undine Frömming)


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