International Research Journal of Arts and Social Sciences

International Research Journal of Arts and Social Sciences, Vol. 4(5) pp. 82-92, June, 2015. DOI: http:/ Copyright © 2015 International Research Journals


Full Length Research Paper

Intervention of beliefs and practices in Ugo (divination) in African context: Case studying the GKY Presbyterian Christians of Nyeri Presbytery, Kenya (1908 – 2008)

Hezekiah Murage Muraya, Grace Wamue-Ngare and Julius Gathogo

Presbyterian University of East Africa, P.O Box 387-00902, Kikuyu, Kenya

Corresponding author email:

Received March 5, 2015;  Accepted April 10, 2015



African world-view is controlled by some forces, which are believed to intervene in circumstances beyond human capability. Cultures, communities and religious institution in many occasions come into agreement of the existence of these supernatural powers. They however, differ greatly on their nature, concept and the manner in which they are consulted and incorporated in human affairs bringing about inconsistency in conviction and concerns of reliability. Thus, this study investigates beliefs and practices in go (healing divinity) among the Presbyterian Christians in Nyeri presbytery. The result of this study is expected to resolve subject of dualism among the African Christians and bring about wholistic living in the Christian community. Guided by Horton’s theory of African religion as one of manipulation, and Niebuhr’s missiological model, the study adopted a descriptive survey to collect data from 382 respondents (364 church members, 6 pastors, 6 elders, 6 ago). The study employed systematic and multiple sampling techniques (purposive, stratified random, simple random and snowball) to determine and select the sample. The data were collected through observation, interview schedules and administering questionnaires to the respondents. Data was prepared for statistical analysis using Statistical Package for Social Sciences, means and percentages formed part of the descriptive statistics. The findings reveal that, the Gky believed in go as key instrument through which God heals them. The Church of Scotland Mission on its onset among the Gky community denounced these practices terming them as devilish without logically evaluating the value they held in Gky aspects of life. The imposed beliefs and practices as revealed in the study failed in offering complete physical and spiritual elements in solving problems hindering the wellbeing of the community. This resulted to Gky PCEA Christians revert to go in search of this spiritual elements a trend that continues to the present day. This scenario is spurred by the Gky  PCEA Christians understanding of health, illness and healing from African perspective that takes into account both physical and spiritual aspects. This brings about the evidence of religious dualism among Gky PCEA Christians. The study recommends inculturation procedure whereby Gky culture elements in tandem with biblical teaching are incorporated into Christianity and those incompatible are replaced. The integration and the replacement help in enriching the mission Christianity, therefore as a result, overcoming dualism.


Keywords: Gky, beliefs and practices in go, Presbyterian Church of East Africa, inculturation. Dualism, Indigenous healing, Ritual purification. 







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