The name Kuda Guru – what does it mean?
One of the things that I get asked about regularly is – what does Kuda Guru
mean, and what is the logo about? Both have a special meaning to me and
have been chosen with care.
A lot of my time is spent in Asia, and in Malaysian and Indonesian Bahasa,
kuda means horse. Guru, obviously means teacher. One of the things that I
really work on is the horses welfare and I always try to improve a horse’s
situation in whatever way I can. This may be helping their rider to be more
thoughtful, showing people how to take care of their horse’s health, fit
saddlery, explain how they think and what may be causing a problem etc.
While I was working in Malaysia, the grooms there started calling me Kuda
Guru because I was teaching the horses, and teaching them and pupils about
I firmly believe that the best and most important teacher you will ever have
is your horse. I can talk, persuade, explain, but his reaction is going to
show you everything you need to know. The horse is ultimately the teacher
in this partnership; I’m just there to translate. I took Kuda Guru and put
a slightly different spin on it – Horse Teacher, the horse IS the teacher.
The Logo – the story behind it.
The logo is a slightly longer story. I’m Zimbabwean, and grew up with the
legend of the Nyaminyami. The Zambezi River runs through the Zambezi gorge
between Zimbabwe and Zambia. The Tonga tribe had lived there in peace and
relative isolation for many, many years. During this time, they believed
that the Nyaminyami protected and provided for them. He has the body of a
snake, the head of a fish and no one knows how big he is since he never
shows himself fully, although he is said to be at least three metres wide
with massive length. In hard times he would share his flesh with the people
(hence the fish head) and the snake spirals of his body represent the waves
and white water of the river.
Water is vital for life in Africa, and wherever there is water, the Africans
find prosperity. The Nyaminyami is the ruler of water and his symbol is to
ward off darkness and help to find prosperity. Water is life; there can be
nothing without it and the patterns of nature, flood and drought. Great
bodies of water are considered sacred, and the Nyaminyami was the protector
of this particular body of water.
In the 1950’s, white man decided to harness this river with Kariba Dam, so
creating electricity for the region using hydro power. (The Tonga people
believed that the Nyaminyami lived under a massive boulder in the river and
called this boulder “Kariwa”, or “trap”, hence the name Kariba. It was
known as the trap since there were always whirlpools and hidden currents in
the area, and any one foolish enough to venture near would be sucked under
water and never seen again). The Nyaminyami is always thought of as male,
and the dam would separate him from his wife, further upriver. The building
of this wall was hampered many times by massive floods, earth tremors and
other disasters, each one totally out of season and character. Over 80
people were killed. The people believed it was the Nyaminyami showing his
anger… Water is power, nature needs to be nurtured, the power of nature
There are still earth tremors in the region and many people still believe
that it is the water spirit stirring and turning at the bottom of the gorge.
All Zimbabweans know this story, and most accept it as part of our heritage.
It still offers protection, natures blessing of the abundance and prosperity
of water, a touchstone to ward off evil spirits. It is very much a part of
me and where I come from.
When considering a logo for Kuda Guru, it seemed obvious to use the
Nyaminyami as a base for this. If you compare the picture of the Nyaminyami
and the Kuda guru logo, you can see how the two are based on the spirals,
with the head of a horse rather than the fish.
An added aspect of this, is that the logo looks somewhat like a seahorse.
Again, this ties in closely to me and my love of scuba diving. I will often
refer to diving, breath work and buoyancy when I am teaching riding, as it
has a huge influence. Seahorses have to live in balance with the water that
surrounds them. They are a part of the whole systemic balance of the ocean,
have to move with motion but are independent to it at the same time.
Both the name Kuda Guru and the logo mean a lot to me, and as a pupil of
mine, you will experience this ethos of balance, unity with nature, and
mutual benefit for all those involved.