DELHI India -- Just touching
base to connect ... say Jambo and share a bit of your heritage
growing up in Kenya, especially Mombasa. Guess you learn
something every day eh?, writes Swami Anand Kul Bhushan.
Have to say I have not checked how authentic these
explanations are so assuming they are true.
WHAT’S IN A NAME :
The history of the old caravan arouses some interests in
the native meanings behind some towns between Mombasa and
Adventure ,slavery and tribal wars are all embodied in
these names and are of special significance to the history
Mombasa was derived from the Arabic word "mimbashia"
which means the country which unfolds itself or a large
expanse of land.
Makupa is short for "maji yamekupwa" which means the
water has fallen, it is recorded that in the old caravan
days it was at Makupa where people used to cross from the
island of Mombasa to the mainland, whenever the level of
water went down..
It was known as "Changarawe" which means pebbles, having
connection with the gravel formed there. Blame is put on the
portuguese for changing the name from "Changarawe" to
Changamwe because they couldn’t pronounce the name, it is
also said the original name was Kolokoloni.
The Duruma chief Mazera gave his name to this place where
he once lived ,in the earlier caravan days Mazeras was known
as "Ganjoni" or the place of ruins ,owing to it being
attacked by the Maasai.
Is also of Duruma origin the word means the place of
It is at this place where the Duruma and the Wakamba
warriors used to meet for battle arrays.
One day the wakamba were defeated and as they fled they
discarded their arrows covering the battle field with them.
MAJI YA CHUMVI:
Was originally known as gulugulu which in Nyika was the
name of a local stream.
The name was later changed during the slave caravan era
to its present version which means salt water
It is Kigunya word for gruel ,the story being that the
stream at Voi often dwindled to a mere trickle and on this
account only small amount of gruel could be cooked by the
Wagunya slave raiders.
A place for deep waters.
Tsavo is a Kikamba word for slaughter, however it should
be noted that the word has no connection with the slaughter
of indian coolies during the construction of the railway.
The word infact relates to the slaughter of many maasai
in the area .
Mtito-Andei is of course "Mtito-wa-Andei" or the forest
of Kites, the maasai are said to have laid in waiting in a
nearby forest with intent to attack Wakamba, following which
many Wakamba were killed.
The kites remained in the surrounding forests and fed on
the corpse .Afterwards, the local river and station were
both known as Mtito Andei.
To the Wakamba Kibwezi was originally known as Kivwetse
which is said to have been derived from a former scottish
mission in the vicinity.
In the mission garden was a volcano rock which after a
series of seismic movement split and caused an underground
stream to flow above ground ,however the faithful believed
that the mission padre struck the rock with his rod in much
the same way as did moses.
It was originally known as Kiumbi because of the nearby
In swahili however Makindu means palm trees .The name
changed from Kiumbi to Makindu when seismic disturbance
started a permanent river making palm trees to grow.
Was named after a Sultan of Zanzibar Hamud Bin Muhammad
,to mark his visit to the rail head in 1898.
In the company of the Sultan was the notorious historical
figure and slave raider "Tippu Tib" whose name was derived
from the sound made by his gun.
It was originally known as Machakos road because it is
from here where the roads headed to Chief Masaku’s home.
Chief Masaku’s home is where Machakos town currently
It is said that the name Athi emanated from the Indian
construction 'coolies', when the rail arrived at this point.
The Indian construction 'coolies' found it to have a large
number of hippos, but because they had never seen hippos
before, they cried out in Punjabi.
"Hathi", "Hathi" meaning "elephants",
As the Punjabi 'coolies' knew nothing about the hippos the
confusion was understandable.