About Us      ICT Centers      Contacts      Staff      Blog      Webmail      Events & Functions      Survey      Facts or Myths Exchange Rate  


Perspective of the World from Western Kenya
The West Is Rising...
  Home      Programmes      Classified Ads      Downloads      Top Stories      Music Downloads      Photo Gallery     
  |    |    |  
    Search:  
Sponsored Tweets
Get your copy of The Weekly Western Chronicle at only Ksh40  |  Are you a Kenyan living in the USA or UK, listen to West Fm free via your phone. Dial US: 213 493 0195 UK: 020 3519 3770  |  We appreciate sharing of information, we do not condone plagiarism of our work.  |  
Kapchorua Tea Company 137.00  |  Williamson Tea Kenya 275.00  |  Kenya Commercial Bank Ltd. 56.00  |  Safaricom Ltd. 13.40  |  Uchumi Supermarket 9.95  |  Mumias Sugar Company Ltd. 1.85  |   EA Portland Cement 58.00  |   EA Breweries 304.00| 0.66%  |   Cooperative Bank 16.95|-0.29%  |  CMC Holdings 13.50|0.00%  |   CFC Stanbic 64.00|0.00%  |   Centum Investment 21.25|-1.16%  |  
ON FACEBOOK
MKANYAGANO - 10TH TO 11TH MAR 2012 ONE.

More Podcasts

WEST FM EDITORIAL
Elected leaders must be at the fore front of recreating and re-engineering the economies of their counties
The ICC case against the Deputy President will define the political architecture of Kenya going to 2017 and after
The future of the Counties of Western Province can be divined from its education results
PICK OF THE WEEK
CORD leaders caution government officials against land grabbing
OPINION & EDITORIAL
Government should regulate issuance of fire arms to civilians
NCIC chairperson warns political leaders against hate speech
Educational infrastructure should be managed by county governments
PICK OF THE DAY
Trans Nzoia MPs rescue MCAs facing charges at kitale court
No registration of aliens in Trans Nzoia, says Endebes MP
SPORTS NEWS
Vihiga United FC coach Manoah robbed off Sh. 150, 000
Mufutu FC crowned the Makhabila cup giants
AFC Leopards struggle to improve its squad as Harambee stars coach unveils his u-23 line up
LIFESTYLE
50 year old Florence Ludia Sabatia shares her experience as a cobbler
22 year old female mechanic from Lugari storms the male dominated jua kali sector
Confession of a Mandera terror attack survivor Atibu Osinga
WESTERN AND NORTH RIFT FACTS
Residents raise alarm as Ugandans are issued with IDs in Trans Nzoia
NFK, UDF and KANU urged to support new party formed by TNA and URP
luhya leaders panicking after losing Matumbei ward seat
Program Line Up
Tuesday 27 January 2015
05:00 - 09:00 Amka na West FM
05:55 - 06:00 WEATHER FORECAST
06:00 - 06:30 AMKA NA B.B.C
06:30 - 06:45 TAHARIRI
06:45 - 07:00 UCHAMBUZI WA MAGAZETI
07:00 - 07:10 NEWS BULLETIN
07:10 - 09:00 HUDUMA NA MAADILI
09:00 - 09:15 B.B.C NEWS BRIEFS
09:15 - 11:00 SWALA NYETI
10:00 - 10:15 NEWS BRIEFS
10:15 - 10:20 BUSINESS NEWS
11:00 - 01:00 KATA JASHO
11:00 - 11:05 B.B.C NEWS BRIEFS
11:30 - 11:35 SPORTS NEWS
Full Program Line Up



The origin of dowry payment among Bukusu people of Kenya

Written by Timothy Makokha
2012-04-23 12:19:00
Read 4729 Times
Bookmark and Share

A newly married couple exchanging their marriage vows.

In the beginning people were just pairing up basing on a mutual understanding of the man and woman. Whether the person was marrying the first, second or whichever wife, he could not give anything to the parents of the girl despite the fact that she is leaving her parents to start a new marriage life in a new home, new environment and taking up of foreign cultural beliefs as it is believed that it was a woman to get accustomed to the cultural requirements of the clan of the husband.

A time came when elders saw the need for them to bring in the idea of dowry negotiations (eng’anana). There were various reasons for this, first was sirara (granary full of grain). This means that a girl might have been a hard working farmer, who had been doing a lot of farming activities on their farm when she was still under the care of her parents. When she gets married, her parents would feel the loss in terms of labor on the farm and therefore a man was to give them something to make them not mind the departure of their hard working daughter.

The second reason was kumwoulo (the goodness of a wife).  Originally it was believed that a wife is a source of wealth to her husband. For example a wife would do most of the household chores including cooking, fetching water/firewood and other farming activities on the farm. Dowry was to be paid as appreciation and as a sign of respect to the in-laws. For example a man would earn respect from his in-laws after paying dowry.

Another reason was lukosi (love for the girl). Dowry was to be paid as a sign of love for a wife. This would even make the love between a couple to be stronger as the wife will feel valued and respected by her husband.

Kumuliano (feasting together) was another reason for dowry payment. Dowry negotiations were an opportunity for members of the two clans (clan members for the wife and clan members for the husband) to meet and talk freely while enjoying meals and local liquor (busaa). In such sessions the two parties get an opportunity to learn more about the taboos and beliefs of each other.

There was a slight difference between dowry negotiations for the girl who was pure and the one with a child or children. Eng’anana (dowry negotiation) for a girl who had not given birth at her parents’ home was done under a tree outside the house while for the one with children or a child at her parent’s home, the ceremony is done inside a house.

Generally, dowry payment was meant to strengthen the bond in a marriage (khuandalasia bulebe).

It was important to pay dowry just in case a wife dies of child delivery, it would be easier to handle the in-laws in such a crisis. That’s why one of the cows given as dowry was called ekhafu ye lifumo (cattle as a fine in case a wife dies during child delivery. In some cases if the clan members of the wife has prove that the wife was intentionally killed then the husband would pay for the head of the deceased wife (arunga kumurwe).

Elders were also advising people to pay dowry because of the routinely intimacy between a wife and a husband (orunga khuchia mumarango komukhasi).

Just in case a wife dies before dowry payment, only specific number of cattle is given not all the 13 animals. In this case one would be required to pay ye khusera (cow for proposing to the girl), ye lubeko (cow for shaving the pubic hair of the wife in her husband’s home), ye khukwisia situru (in payment of making breasts of a woman flat), yembako/sirara (for the work she had done in her husband’s home), ya khocha (for the brother to her mother). Traditionally, Bukusu people believed that a married woman can only shave her pubic hair only when she is in her husband’s compound but not from any other place not even at her parent's home.

In case a wife was married as a virgin, the blood stained beddings used on the first night are to be taken to the grandmother to the girl together with embusi sisonga (mature she-goat). This was done in respect for the girl who was pure. A goat is as well given to the aunt (sister to the father of the girl). For a girl who had children at home (nasikoko), a husband would not pay ekhafu ye situru as her breasts were already flat at the time of her marriage.

Traditionally one was not allowed to accept or take dowry from his daughters if he has not paid dowry for his wife. In such case, a person pays dowry for his wife first, then after one year demand for dowry from married daughters.

Those were the days when age was highly appreciated. For example, a person was not expected to organize for dowry negotiations (eng’anana) for a young daughter before organizing one for the eldest daughter. The same is applied with sons as the first son in a homestead should be the first pone to pay dowry and hold dowry negotiations as younger ones do the same up to the youngest.

 In case the young son is ready to pay dowry ahead of his elder brother, then he only give the animals but the dowry negotiation is not held until the elder brothers make dowry negotiations. The same is applied to daughters, when the husband of the youngest daughter wants to pay dowry ahead of her elder sister, then the animals are received but the dowry negotiations are not done until the one for the eldest daughter pay.

Later in life after the introduction of circumcision, dowry payment was as well associated with circumcision where a male child was to be taken to his uncles (brother to the mother) a day to the circumcision day.

The reason for a boy/initiate going for likhoni (reward from an uncle, which is normally a young bull) at his uncle’s home means that there were some cultural spirits from the mother’s side that the father’s side are not aware of. The initiates were to call their uncles to oversee the circumcision ceremony and give lubito to the initiates, in the process of handing over to them the cultural spirits from the mother’s side.

Continue paying dowry, as long as mankind exists in respect to the original reasons for dowry payment. The future of dowry payment is bright despite the misinterpretation of the dowry concept by the misguided people. 

Switch to Our Mobile Site



Other Related Stories
Iteso cultural festivals launched by Governor Lusaka in Bungoma
Members of the Bukusu community celebrate their cultural activities
Members of the pokot community usher in New Year 2015 in a cultural event
Bungoma County government plans to establish a cultural centre at Chetambe hills
Norms, rites and traditions by the Tachoni during circumcision pass-out ceremony
Tachoni community performs “Khulicha” rites on 2014 initiates
Cultural practices blamed for increased HIV/AIDS prevalence in West Pokot
45 year old man circumcised by force in Bungoma
Bungoma County government strategize to invest in cultural practises
Nandi County government set to construct a Hall of Fame
Myths about the dead among members of the Bukusu community
Luhya traditional rite of circumcision is not discriminatory to those circumcised in hospitals
Bukusu elders to attend launch of circumcision ceremony in Uganda
Appeasing the circumcision Knives among the Bukusu Community
Why having a male child among the Tachoni is prestigious
Luhyias in Nairobi head home for circumcision frenzy
12 men circumcised by force as circumcision kicks off in Luhyia land
Traditional circumcision attracting tourists in Bungoma
Bukusu elders want churches to stop interfering with traditional circumcision
Nandi Council of elders oppose calls for mass action




LATEST NEWS
The weekly western chronicle issue no: 063, Ford K, New Ford Kenya headed for merger?
The weekly western chronicle issue no: 062, alarm as Ugandans issued with Kenyan IDs
The weekly western chronicle issue no: 061, Mudavadi mulls ODM return
BUSINESS NEWS
MICE expo 2015 aims at diversifying the tourism sector in Kenya
KCB partners with Safaricom to introduce smart loans for smart phones
County governments reluctant to collect revenue
COUNTY REGIONAL NEWS
Butere residents urged to ignore Plans to recall area MP
Kakamega County government urged to stop construction of a weighbridge at Shikunga
KUPPET officials want Bungoma County Commissioner transferred
FUNNY BUT TRUE
Pastor impregnates a minor who is an usher/choir member in a church in Bungoma
Priest arrested for defiling a 6 year old girl in Likuyani
Luanda, a market with the highest number of mad men in the country
ENVIRONMENT
7 million trees to be planted in Busia County this year
Mt. Elgon residents benefit from a Sh. 47 million water project
Bumala residents decry poor sanitation in town
MUSIC SPOTLIGHT
Music festivals kick off at St Luke’s Kimilili Boys high school
A Rift Valley based vernacular musician emerges as the highly paid
A class 8 pupil urges parents to nurture talents of their children

WEST DATA - WEATHER
Kapsabet H30° L17°

Nairobi H 26° L13°

Mombasa H34° L25°

Busia H30° L15°

Kitale H25° L11°

Vihiga H30° L17°

Webuye H30° L17°

Kapenguria H27° L13°

Kakamega H30° L17°

Kisumu H30° L17°

Lodwar H33° L26°

Eldoret H25° L11°

Bungoma H30° L17°


West FM Survey


Username:
Password:


More Videos


© Copyright 2014. WestFM. All Rights Reserved.