English: Traditional Maasai Dance Kenya 2005
English: Traditional Maasai Dance Kenya 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Forging alliances,

Pastoralists hunters and gathers, and against agriculturalist conspired,

Weaving diabolical schemes,

A trio envied, lusted and for their neighbor’s stocks, females and bounties coveted.

Marching in rows at day or in twos at night time paired,

Rowdy armies made for Nyeri to the tooth armed.


Rising from shadowy gorges,

Barabiu accessed Mathira by natural bridges.

Sweeping down the dense northern ranges,

Aathi and Gumba’s jagged spears pointed towards Tetu lofty ridges.

Working soil, flashing knifes are what Bantus first saw.

Absorbed in demanding toils, headers unexpectedly heard roars of twanging bows.


In running battles of Mathira, rival contingents and regiments for territory clashed!

In earth wrecking confrontations of Tetu, invaders roared and troops gnawed,

With ire, the host’s warriors and generals in defense hacked and slashed;

From the grave confrontations, who’d emerge victorious in the last?


‘Curly hair, Long ears, and filthy dwarfs have stolen your land!

Why suffer humiliation when can beg for our able hand?’

Mũrang’a folks with alarm remarked!

Throng on throng of dismayed refugees, from Nyeri to their district when flocked.

Alas! Routing to the core, would the Barabiu, Aathi and Gumba alliance prove the best?


Contemplating on a retaliatory raid

For allies, Gikuyu approached the Maasai for military aid it’s said!


Military tacticians evolved marvelous martial plans.

“Full nine” plus Maasai Morans made eleven formidable clans.

Topping the list in priority: regaining annexed territories was the first;

How to share war spoils came last!


Iregi age set assumed the rein

Generals and warriors consulted the oracle about the campaign

‘God favor you best before the long rain’

The divine advice came to everyone’s delight.

Sentries patrolled and overlooked the borders by night.

By day, enrollees for drill, bashed or overturned hills to portray skills and might;

At dusk, mountains for sport subdued with a simple stroke of their right.

Host or the cunning guest, who’d this time around suffers humiliating plight?


Scouts spied and stalked the foes from hidden terrains.

To sun, scotching wind and fog solders were even impervious to rain;

Can power, wealth and success be accrued without grief and pain?


Smiths and crafts men for days bent and fashioned iron;

Captains and Generals pondered and meditated on the knotty mission:

Overnight: arrows, bows, spears, machetes and new plans appeared to turn in millions.

Would the imminent retaliatory raid yield any immortal merit for Iregi generation?


In the legendary battle of Sagana,

(Slightly at the edge of the famous Karatina)

Marching in columns, Barabiu, Aathi and Gumba’s defence

Countered violently Gikuyu and Maasai contingent’s offence;

Belching lethal mist, and whetting machetes against the earth,

Rival Generals and troops set shields loftily and loosened bizarre sheaths;

Bending bows and releasing poisoned arrows,

At the front line corpses on corpses suddenly piled in rows;

Thrusting spears and working blades

Dashing Streams of pus and gargling brooks of blood seemed to offend Hades .


Dealt with defeat, Gumbas hastily made for the woods,

Aathi too, battle torn, could not more blows withstand.

Barabiu’s formations were now disorganized and troops discipline poor.

Outnumbered, and trapped, Curly haired brutes were quickly losing the upper hand.

With daggers raised and spears set, Gikuyu and Maasai closed in,

at sight of knives, Barabiu panicked, lost composure and morale of the enemy wore thin.

Gikuyu and Maasai determination increased,

pursued murderously and from all corners besieged

From a position of disadvantage, Barabiu hopes gradually dimmed  woes when  increased.


In fame and name Iregi generation is unsurpassed

Shrewder than they, who today in bravery have these ancient heroes paralleled?

I wonder where in the frontiers their faded bones lay unburied!


9 thoughts on “IREGI AGESET (1820)

    1. In Gikuyu nation, the most famous ageset is the Iregi, Iregi literary means: to defy or to refuse, this ageset is the most famors of all past generations. The Iregi ageset engineered the first ever political revolutin in Gikuyu land many centuries ago. the Iregi regiment of 1820 got the name Iregi to denote their stubborn and contentious character (it was meant to ridicule them) however just like their predecessors, they caused alot of chaos when they took over leadership from the Maina generation. this poem is celebrating the wars Iregi armies waged successfully aganist other formadable nations who constantly invade the Gikuyu terretory. I hope this small description will anwser your curiosity.Thank you.

      1. And are you iregi, too, by general character? Or Iregi by inheritance or enlistment and background? Or all together? Yes, you description helps. Thank you for taking the time to write it. —- Bear

      2. i guess i am all of them, being a man of unsteady character by nature, i guess my nature fits well with the character of my ancestors. thank you love history?

      3. I do love history, but not manufactured history. What has happened has happened regardless of how obscured by our wishes. Each of us has a unique personal history as different and yet similar as our DNA.

        Are you an elder? You seem much too reflective and humble for youth. We are all relatives. Bear

      4. he he eh, i like it that you love history, i generally love knowledge, though my meager works are preoccupied with bitter historical aspects of the past generations, i also do write day to day casual happenings; manufactured history is the worst as it tends to belittle or down play or exxagerate some historical events, but a sober mind should be employed when dealing with new points of view, i consider myself old but not too old to exchange ideas, what aspect of history are you passionate about ?

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