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How Kamba Traditional Drink Kaluvu is made

Below is the process of making Kamba traditional drinks Kaluvu and Mawa and their importance to the community.

Kaluvu, also called kimee, is one of the most popular traditional drinks among the Kamba community. Kaluvu is a fermented brew made using ‘muatine’, a Sausage tree fruit (Kigelia africana), and honey.

The drink can be brewed in a barrel or a calabash (dried gourd). It is made naturally, without any additives. This drink was mainly Consumed by older men, especially during wedding ritual ceremonies. It was also used in Prayers in shrines especially when asking for rains.

Traditionally, a few drops of the drink would be poured out at the beginning of the prayer to “share” with the ancestors, usually speaking the words kundia vau, meaning “drink from there.”

Kaluvu was an integral part of wedding ceremonies. It was a ritual for a groom to offer a Dried gourd filled with this drink, along with a blanket, to the parents of the bride before she was married.

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When both sets of parents would share this drink, it was considered to Indicate a sealing of the marriage accord.

Friends will also take this drink together to show an agreement. As a homemade product mainly for rituals or special occasions, it was sold directly by brewers, but not in bars.

‘Mawa’ is Millet beer, also known as Bantu beer which is an alcoholic beverage made From malted millet that is common throughout Africa. It is served in calabash gourds.

Its production involves soaking millet kernels in warm water until they sprout, with the goal of increasing the content of maltose in the grain. The millet is then dried out to arrest the Germination process. The malted grain is then pulverized using a grinding stone and mixed with water.

This mixture is commonly known as ‘ukiie’ (wort). The wort is later boiled in order to remove any potential bacterial threat. Once the boiling process is complete and the Wort cools down dried millet floor is added. The mixture is then allowed to ferment.

The Entire process takes five days. Traditionally village women would open their homes as ‘pubs’ one day a week, mostly on Saturdays or Sundays to sell millet beer.

This gathering point provided social cohesion In the village. Drinkers would hold the calabash with the right hand, pouring a few drops on the ground in honor of their ancestors before drinking. After drinking, drinkers pour the dregs on the ground in a straight line.

This week, Kitui businessman Kyalo Muli went to court seeking to have these two drinks Kaluvu and Mawa legalized. Missed the story? check it out below;

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