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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A Gift for Generations to Come: A Kiroba Popular History from Tanzania and Identity as Social Capital in the 1980s
Author:Shetler, Jan B.
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic term:Tanzania
oral history
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/221306
Abstract:Between 1983 and 1988 twenty-five elders representing the five 'milango' ('doors' or lineage subdivisions) of the Kiroba people living in the Mara region of Tanzania sat together to write their history, customs, traditions, and laws as passed on orally to them by their elders. The purpose of these elders was to reaffirm the Kiroba as a social unit of importance and efficacy, with legitimacy as a people among peoples in the world. This was necessary because in the context of the 1980s other identities were making stronger claims on young people. The Kiroba text makes it clear that what it means to be 'Kiroba' has undergone change. Identity is renegotiated in every generation as well as in day-to-day life, taking on meaning only as it is useful for people seeking solutions and understanding of life's problems. This analysis looks at the content of the Kiroba text in terms of oral tradition, identity, and morality. Kiroba identity as a position within a network of regional and internal relationships is explored by looking at the process of creating the text by the elders, the historical context in which it was formed, the organizing idiom of patrilineal descent, and the different political, ritual, and social aspects of that identity. Notes, ref.