Thursday, 21 April 2016

The Battle of Dignity


 image adapted

Every single day, we take pride in our cultures. You see, they have shaped us. Everyone says Africa is unique, well, indeed it is. It still surprises me sometimes. However, there are certain cultures which harm us than they help us. The rationale behind them was noble, but over time they have become horrible. In my community, out of the 42 tribes in Kenya, we are the only ones who pass on wives like a relay match when her husband dies. I wonder what race we want to complete. You see, it doesn't matter how old she is, she will be inherited by a male relative to the husband. In gone days, this was to ensure security for the woman and her children , but lately, this has become what we commonly call "Team Mafisi"- a team of men who behave like hyenas. Always hungering and lusting for property left behind. They would gladly lick blood on a blade oozing from their very own mouths.

Asked to drop this culture, they would argue they want to remain dignified. In a modern era, women too fell a loss of dignity being inherited (well, am not saying all, some love to be inherited). It has become hard to curb this practice , you see our matrimonial property Act in Kenya clearly safeguards wealth after death of the husband, but the Marriage Act of 2014, recognizes customary marriage (which takes polygamy as a norm). Between these two legal entities are a people who use threats, coercion and blackmail to inherit widows, and it is not a matter of how, it is a matter of when. Sometimes I think even with lots of education, we never learned. Its no wonder, we host HIV/AIDS in our counties, we predominantly live in Siaya, Kisumu and Homabay counties. You could even ask the simsim peddler, they all know what has become of us. You see, it's one thing to be HIV positive and live positively, and it is another to welcome the virus whole-heartedly and host it in our counties. There are times i tend to think this is a love hate situation. We hate to say we are screwing up, but love to keep our dignity and host retrogression.


david ayieko said...

Wow,this is great and inspiring.Kudos,great work.Critical views discussed here on the HIV/AIDS.Interesting relationship on wife inheritance and the HIV/AIDS.Consider other factors that may be underlying this phenomenon in your next blog-post.Do you think the widows are victims of culture?Do you think there is potential for change?Can this trends be reversed through advocacy?

Ina Guya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ina Guya said...

Thank you very much David for your comment. I am incorporating your vies and concerns in the next blog post. And yes, women are victims of culture in most cases, sometimes i wonder, would we have these demeaning cultures if women became extinct?

lilian ochieng said...

Inspiring thoughts right here. It is about time we thought differently about things.