Chic African Culture Africa Factbook

Weeping for Thousands of Years | Crying Stone of Ilesi

The crying stone of Ilesi, some African myths are real.

The Crying Stones of Ilesi located in Kakamega County of western Kenya is about 18 miles or 30 km north of the Equator. Kakamega County is Kenya's second most populous country after Nairobi. Ilesi was so named because the word kakamega translates roughly to pinch in the Kiluhyah African language. Kakamega was used to describe how white European colonists would eat the Kenya national food dish ugali. 
The crying stone of Ilesi, some African myths are real.
Dry your tears dear Ilesi

To the Luhya tribe of Kakamega, who are mainly 

farmers and fishers, the 131 foot or 40 meters Crying Stone of Ilesi will forever be a sacred and a revered part their everyday lives because it has supernatural powers.  The stone is a place of rituals, healing, resolution, cleansing, and sacrifice. Luhya tribe believes that when the stone cries it is a sign that good things are about to happen. When there is drought, the Luhya performs rituals to bring rain.

Luhya legend has it, a wife left her husband for another man and the heartbroken husband has not stopped crying to this very day. 

Scientists believe the Ilesi stone cries because a large depression behind the smaller stone collects water and from time to time cascades down the large stone giving the impression of the stone weeping.  However, scientists explain the Ilesi stone cries no more in the rainy season and in times of drought because of locals planting eucalyptus trees around the stone. 

Eucalyptus trees are invasive trees in Kenya, sucking up the groundwater around the stone. The heartbroken husband has, therefore, stopped crying for the moment.

Some myths are real, it is difficult to separate myths from the facts about the Crying Stone of Ilesi when the Luhya tribe of Kakamega believes the stone has otherworldly powers. 


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