Most Kenyans and the world over only know Gor Mahia as a Kenyan Premier League football team. What many do not know is the origin of this name. According to Luo oral tradition, when a child is named after someone, he or she is expected to live up to that name. If you are named after a wise person, you are expected to be wise too, and if you are named after a great hunter, then the hunting skills must be seen.
Gor Mahia FC was named after a great Luo legend, the great Gor Mahia. Gor lived in the 19th Century and is believed to possess magical powers to transform into different forms. He would change to a woman, a dog or back to himself.
These powers helped him pass through people and not be recognized. Most importantly, he would use these powers to walk with or through his enemies during war. He would also transform other people so that they would escape from their enemies.
The great man had 22 wives; a man with one of the largest number of wives only second to Akuku Danger . He also had 19 children a number that could have been higher given that four of his wives did not give birth.
His clan won so many wars thanks to his abilities to see the future. He would dream of upcoming events and give solutions to problems once they occurred, or even prevented them.
His powers to dream also helped him in healing the sick. He would dream of the right medicine and cure for his patients.
According to one of his sons, this magician who was also a loving father was one of the greatest farmers. He was one of the few people in the early days to have practiced what is now referred to as zero grazing.
Gor Mahia was also a Paramount Chief of Kavirondo. By then, there were only two Paramount Chief and the only other was Mumia.
The great man has over 3000 descendants who are scattered around the world though most of them reside in Kenya. A good example is the former MP for Kamukunji the Late Nicholas Philip Gor who passed on in 1999.
His fifth born son, the late Austine G. Nyamonga Gor was the first court clerk in Kisii. Though he passed away in 1994, his good work is still in record.
Although he died in 1920, he is still idolized in the Luo region. Ruma National Park is the only park in South Nyanza and the only one containing Roan Antelope in kenya the best place to feel what has come to be known as the “Spirit of Gor Mahia”. The park that is off a dusty road about 10km from Lake Victoria and 25km Southwest of Homabay Town.
The park lies on the floor of the Lambwe Valley bordered by the Kanyamwa Escarpment. Mbita District, the area in which the park is situated has a rich history and is better known as the home of Kenya’s post-indipendence leader Tom Mboya. Rusinga Island is also famous for one of the places where renowned archaeologists Mary and Louis Leakey camped in 1948 and made their ground-breaking discovery the skull known as Proconsul, an ancestor of man believed to have lived about 27 million years ago.
One cannot talk about the Ruma National Park without mentioning Gor Mahia because the Oribi Guest House, the only guest house in the park, is situated at the exact point where the Great Gor Mahia lived.
The people living around the park still believe in the magic of Gor Mahia. According to Mr. John M. Wambua, the Warden-In-charge, poachers openly enter the park to poach believing that the magic will make them invisible. “It is very funny and saddening at the same time to see people walking in boldly and thinking that they cannot be seen,” he said, adding that the park’s officials have signed a friendship agreement with the Gor Mahia family and those living around the park to discourage poaching.
Mr. Wambua however explained that this is besides the community education and sensitization of conservation that they have been carrying out to ensure that the community appreciates wildlife.
Having understood what the name entails, you must be wondering whether or not Gor Mahia FC is living up to its name. The team is one of the biggest if not the biggest names in the Kenya Premier League (KPL). Gor Mahia has the largest number of supporters which they have recently baptized into “followers” in Kenya.
Though they have not lifted the national title for the last 16 years, the “followers” as they are referred to, have become stronger and stronger. These fans know how to act tough, trooping in the field with all the confidence regardless of whether they win or lose.
If you are supporting the rival team, then you are in a very problem whether Gor wins or lose. They are known to celebrate their victory with pomp and color and they surely know how to display their discontent.
Gor Mahia fans surely knew how to dress for the occasion. Though no study has been done about this, it is suspected that the Gor Mahia jersey is the most common in Kenya. The green and white jersey with names emblazoned on the back attracts the necessary attention.
The jersey come in different sizes and styles and of late beautiful ladies have been gracing these occasions in them. More often you will sport a couple matching names. On particular example is a man having a t-shirt written “Jack” and the lady having “Nyar-Jack” meaning “Jack’s girl”.
With this growing trend, more men are trooping into the stadiums to admire beauties while the beauties are generously exposing their assets.
Apart from watching the match, the supporters also attend the matches to expose their lavish lifestyles. Big cars, drinking and appending in big hotels and mentioning big names like Obama, Oliech, Odinga, Luanda Magere and of late, Ocampo has been added to the list of names.
Just to show how serious the fans are, they were once in church along Jogoo Road to seek God’s guidance on behalf of their club in order to win the Kenya Premier League.
The team also visited the home of Gor Mahia and paid respect at his grave. Maybe seeking his blessings.
The fans also have a page on Facebook where they share ideas and interact with each other. The page’s name “Gor Mahia is not a club, it is a lifestyle! But do we say” and is very popular with one of the largest number of follower. So does the team, or the fans, live up to Gor Mahia’s name?