Download Worries of the Heart: Widows, Family, and Community in Kenya by Kenda Mutongi PDF

By Kenda Mutongi

Growing up within the Maragoli neighborhood in Kenya, Kenda Mutongi encountered a difficult contradiction. whereas the younger lecturers at her village tuition railed opposed to colonialism, lots of her elders, together with her widowed mom, praised their former British masters. during this relocating publication, Mutongi explores how either the demanding situations and contradictions of colonial rule and the frustrations and screw ups of independence formed the lives of Maragoli widows and their advanced kinfolk with one another, their households, and the bigger neighborhood.             through the 20th century and into the twenty-first, charges of widowhood were remarkably excessive in Kenya. but regardless of their numbers, widows and their households exist on the margins of society, and their lives act as a barometer for the tough realities of rural Kenya. Mutongi the following argues that widows live on by way of publicly airing their social, fiscal, and political difficulties, their “worries of the heart.” firstly geared toward the boys of their group, after which their colonial rulers, this method replaced after independence as widows more and more invoked the language of citizenship to call for their rights from the hot leaders of Kenya—leaders whose failure to fulfill the wishes of normal electorate has ended in deep disenchantment and adjusted Kenyans’ view in their colonial earlier. An cutting edge mixture of ethnography and old examine, Worries of the Heart is a poignant narrative wealthy with insights into postcolonial Africa.

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Extra info for Worries of the Heart: Widows, Family, and Community in Kenya

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9 The missionaries were met at the train station by Hobley, that infamous subcommissioner who had recently subdued the people of western Kenya. Having come to know the area well through his exploits, he offered to show them around and help them settle on a place that would be suitable for an industrial mission. With the help of twenty-eight local porters, they wandered through western Kenya, camping in various places—and like Thomson, the Scottish explorer who had visited the area in the 1880s, the missionaries found the Luyia to be affable.

People were scared. ” I continued to press, asking if she was aware that African doctors performed postmortems in several major hospitals in Kenya. “Yes, I know that,” she replied, and to exhibit her knowledge of the subject she offered up the names of people she had known whose bodies had been surrendered to postmortem. ” In these cases she felt that the postmortems had been justified because they helped rule out the possibility of poisoning. ” For people in western Kenya, apparently, slicing open the stomach of a dead man conjured up the image of an animal, a goat or sheep, being slaughtered for food or, worse, the image of a hyena feasting on a carcass.

This, apparently, was little consolation to his mother. Her story is not unique. James Ahonya, yet another one of the first “feeble little lads” to visit the mission station, also caused a great deal of trouble for his mother. Ahonya had become an enthusiastic Christian convert, but his mother was not at all pleased with his conversion. 7 Our conversation was revealing. ” “Ahonya wouldn’t have listened the same way, because kids fear men more than women. Don’t you know that men have more power?

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