Transformation in the Practice of Widow Guardianship among the Luo of Kabunde, Homabay County, Kenya; 1920-2014
Sabato, John Joel
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This study examined the transformation of the culture of widow guardianship among the Luo of Homa Bay County from 1920 to 2014.The study was guided by four objectives namely: to interrogate the importance of widow guardianship in Luo society, examine the extent to which colonialism and missionary activities affected the practice, analyze how the culture has been practiced in the post-colonial period among the Luo and investigate the extent to which it has been transformed in the context of HIV/AIDS. The study was based on the assumption that widow guardianship had psychosocial and economic importance in the Luo society however forces of colonialism and Christianity transformed the manner in which the practice was carried out in the colonial period and that the practice has continued to transform due to HIV/AIDs prevalence. The research was grounded on the social evolution theory which holds that culture generally evolves. The argument was therefore that since the culture gradually changes, the same is true to widow guardianship. The study involved use of various tools such as questionnaires and interviews to collect data. The research then employed qualitative method to analyze the collected data. The study established that widow guardianship had both psychosocial and economic importance in pre-colonial Luo society. However, due to the changing trends which have revolutionized the way people relate in the society, the practice has transformed beyond its cultural obligation. The research therefore recommended among other things that the government and other stake holders need to step up rigorous sensitization to highlight the dangers that this long held cultural practice poses on the society. Additionally, the state should develop measures of poverty eradication especially among the rural dwellers; the government should formulate and implement policies that fight inequality and more importantly, education should be made more affordable especially secondary and higher education. This would reduce the vulnerability of women which at times pushes them guardianship.