Along the Nyando river, lies the Luanda Magere Stone. They say it is where the grave of a great son of Luoland sits. His name was Luanda Magere, a ferocious warrior who could not be killed in the battle field. It is believed that during his time he was made of stone, hence his name, Luanda.
History speaks of a tumultuous time when war broke out between the Luo and Kipsigis tribes. In these battles, Luanda Magere killed very many Kipsigis warriors such that the Kipisigis resulted to peace.
After the negotiation team managed to secure peace, Luanda was given a woman from the Kipsigis tribe as a wife to demonstrate that the 2 tribes had become friends.
Unknown to Luanda, that this was a ploy by the Kipsigis to learn the secret to his immortality and great strength, he accepted the ‘gift’. As the woman lived with Luanda, she came to learn that his strength and his life lay in his shadow.
When war broke again, the Kipsigis were armed with a deadly secret – how to fell the legendary Luo warrior once and for all. The story goes that on that fateful day, a Kipsigis warrior threw a spear at Luanda’s shadow, killing him in the process – he had already slaughtered many Kipsigis warriors.
As life ebbed away from his body, legend has it that he managed to kill his killer before turning into a stone. Luos believe this stone is the body of Luanda Magere.
Hunters around this site believe that if they sharpen their spears on the rock, they would be easily successful in their hunting expeditions. This story has remarkable similarities to the biblical account of Samson whose strength was equally a well-kept secret until a woman came into the scene.
There is an interesting twist to this story that is not commonly told. Apparently when the spy lady who had leaked Luanda’s secret ran away from Luoland, she was heavy with child.
She also never went back to her people but instead settled among the Uasin Gishu Maasai who were then roaming the Rift Valley with their livestock, reaching up to the territory bordering Kikuyu country.
The story goes ahead to tell of a nightly raid of the Uasin Gishu Maasai by the Kikuyu. Prisoners were captured and among them was the woman.
While in Kikuyuland, living among the Ngengi family, she bore a son who was named Kamau but later baptised Johnstone. Johnstone Kamau later changed his name to Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s first president and the father of the current president, Uhuru Kenyatta!
If you travel about 12 KM from the Awasi-Chemelil road and you come across a brownish rock shaped like the curved back of a human being, which has partly been sunk into the ground, you will have arrived at the Luanda Magere Stone.
Where the stone lies, it is said, is the place Magere died and so it is largely believed to be his body. Expectant women are not allowed to step on the site of the rock. If they do, it is said they will miscarry.
There are claims that skeletons belonging to those killed in the wars that were fought here at the turn of the 18th Century are still being retrieved to this day. You can also see a spear and shield placed under an indigenous tree next to the rock which locals claim belonged to Luanda Magere.
On another branch of the same tree hangs a traditional smoking pipe which it is said Magere smoked in times of war. There is a clay pot covered with a calabash that strangely always has water at this site. No one knows who draws the water but it is known it comes from a stream near River Nyando.
While you are here, you might as well visit Nyang’oma location in the former Nyando District where the residents believe was the birth and death place of Luanda Magere. There are rumours of an invincible warrior that lurks around the site. Villagers even claim he appears to them in dreams.
If you are a snake lover, the sugar plantations that surround the site harbour a number of species. Exercise caution as you approach. Locals insist the snakes are friendly because of the spirit of Luanda Magere that lives here – just exercise caution either way and be prepared for the rough terrain and the often muddy, impassable narrow pathways.
It is not clear why a framed-picture of the Legio Maria spiritual leader hangs at the site. Perhaps it is because the place has come to be revered, over the years, as a sacred place. Because of this fact, no fees can be charged for a visit to the rock since villagers believe receiving such money would disturb the spirit of Luanda Magere.