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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Renovation of Custom in Colonial Kenya: The 1932 Generation Succession Ceremonies in Embu
Author:Ambler, Charles H.
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic term:Kenya
History and Exploration
Women's Issues
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Cultural Roles
Genital Circumcision/Cuttings/Surgeries
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/182699
Abstract:Historians of colonial Kenya have focused on the powerful transforming impact of the colonial State and economy; they have had little to say about the processes through which previously autonomous societies negotiated their incorporation into the Kenyan State. Yet by the 1920s and 1930s that State had acquired a substantial degree of popular legitimacy. 'Customary' institutions and rituals played an important part in the development of that legitimacy. This essay examines the institution of the genealogically defined 'generation' in Embu District, central Kenya, and the 'nduiko' ceremonies held in 1932 to mark the transition from one generation to the next. These ceremonies attracted considerable attention because they provided the occasion for the proclamation of rules, supported by the British administration, relating to the issue of genital mutilation in female initiation. The attempt to reform female initiation was, however, part of a larger process, of which the rituals of generation succession were elements, of building the ideological basis of a new 'tribe' in a previously autonomous society. Notes, ref.