Handu Haria

Musical hats on

“Hari maundu twikaga magatuika threati miturireini iitu

ugatura uhahukaga na kwiriraga muno muicoini ukaya kwimena

wakiigua thimu ya rira ukahahuka muno Waririkana handu hau….

Waimagini undu ucio ukahahuka muno waririkana handu hau….

Ha….Handu haria”

Excerpt from Charles Njoroge Handu Hau

(The above should be read/sang in Kikuyu and yes I can read and write fluent Kikuyu in case you were wondering)

Charles Njoroge’s handu hau is on heavy rotation on our airwaves. If at all you like/know/listen/appreciate Kikuyu music you must have heard it/of it or the use of the expression handu hau.

Though a relative new kikuyu musician (or so I assume) Charles Njoroge has given the kikuyu fraternity a summarizing expression when you are in no mood for long stories or when expressing the gravity of a situation that was.

To fully understand the magnitude of Handu hau, Fanaka’s August edition play staged 4th-7th August 2016 was titled “Handu Haria”. Now, tell me of any greater way to show appreciation to a word/song/ expression than to have something named after it.  Any? Any? I didn’t think so.

The most important aspect too was the theatre production house delivered a message befitting the expression.

Having been away for too long, three sisters reunite to plan their mother’s funeral who passed away in their absence.  What can go wrong when you reunite three sisters who are as different as day and night? That you needed to be there to get the answer.

Nyagu the well-off sister is married to Munyi and just flew in from Finland where she resides. Within two minutes of her arrival it was clear to us the only way to refer to her was ‘Nyagu the rich’. The second sister was Waceke married to Njung’e residing in Eldoret.  We got no cookies for guessing she was struggling financially so you also don’t get a cookie for guessing what the last born was having just been freed from jail after serving her term for onslaught charges.

Together with Ng’endo their village cousin and the jail bird’s son, the team under the directorship of Lau Murage, delivered a hilarious but very important message on the need to visit our parents. The mother in this case had faked her own death in an effort to have her own children visit her.

Props on this one go to the person who did the props. Have you ever looked at a stage set up and half the message is already delivered? Me neither but I did on this one. The stage manager (Jay Wangari) had everything to T. One look and you could be looking at any village home (at least before rural electrification) complete with the hanging success cards.

A friend of mine who we had coincidentally booked adjacent seats (7&8) yet we had not spoken nor did not know about the other going for a play gave it a double thumbs u.  His marvel at the stage up was also well noted with the number of times he mentioned about the stage in the course of the play.  so best believe it was well done.


“Handu Hau” is kikuyu for That Place or That Situation. So the next time you want to express how dire a situation was, just shake your head and say Handu Hau….. You will have more than sufficiently delivered your message.

Because I like you too much….. Here is the link to Handu Hau by Charles Njoroge


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