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Cutural Anthropology Essay

1901 words - 8 pages

The Nandi People

Cultural Anthropology

Joseph D. Middleton

July 22, 2011

The culture of the Nandi people


In the Nandi community, girls help in taking care of the children, doing domestic work, weeding in the fields, fetching firewood and water. Boys herd the cattle, help with plowing the fields. They also help in sorting out other miscellaneous tasks and errands. Boys may care for children and girls may also herd the cattle. This always happens if there is no child of the ideal sex in the family. All family members play a part when it comes to the process of production. During planting, the clear the land and do the initial ...view middle of the document...


For the women, marriage takes place after initiation; this is a practice both in the past and present. After initiation, a girl stays in seclusion as she waits for people to come and ask for her hand in marriage. This is normally referred to as (koito). These people are normally both men and women akin to the groom. It is during the second visit that the bride price discussions take place. These negotiations are normally done by both men and women. The Nandi practice arranged marriages. (Oboler)

A Nandi marriage begins after the groom has paid the bride price. This is the case among pastoralist communities through out East Africa. During her marriage, the husband gives the woman her own cattle which will be the household herd. In case of polygamy, ever wife has her own home and share of the household herd. A husband is not allowed to sell or give out these cattle without consulting the wife. However, a man normally has his own herd that has not been allocated to any of his wives. He does as he pleases with these cattle. He could sell them without consulting his wives. This gives the husband more powers with property than his wife. In the resent times, wives have some powers over property such as cattle, land and money. She can prevent the husband from selling them. Marrying more than one wife was prestigious among the Nandi men. With influence from Christianity, fewer men are now polygamists. Monogamy has also been enhanced with the introduction of the private land ownership. This has made it difficult for a man to provide inheritance to a family of more than one wife. (Oboler)

A Nandi wife is not allowed to object the husband if he wishes to marry other wives. Divorce was unheard of among the Nandi especially if the wife had a child. Once a Nandi woman is married, she will forever remain the wife to her husband. Even in an instance where they separate, any children she bears outside the marriage will still be regarded as the original husbands’ children. Therefore, these children have the right to inherit the property of the original husband. A young widow is not allowed to remarry; she is to cohabit with her husbands kinsmen for her get children. The children then inherit the late mans property. These practices give the wife a stronger security with her husbands’ property. (Oboler)

The Nandi also practices women to women marriage. This is where an old woman marries a younger woman. This normally happens when a woman is not able to bear sons. A young woman moves into the old woman’s household, where she gets children. The father of the children in most cases is selected by the older woman. The children of the younger woman then become heirs of the old woman’s property. There are, however, no sexual relations among these two women, but the old woman has all the other rights of a husband. The younger woman who is the “wife” respects the older woman who is the “husband” just like in the normal marriage between a man and a...

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