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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The tradition of 'Ramogi': beliefs and practices of the levirate amongst the Luo in Bondo Division, Bondo District, western Kenya
Author:Nangendo, Stevie M.ISNI
Periodical:Mila: a Journal of the Institute of African Studies
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Kenya
East Africa
customary law
Anthropology, Folklore, Culture
Luo (Kenyan and Tanzanian people)--Marriage customs and rites
Abstract:There are three forms of levirate relationships that are still currently practised among the Luo: one involving a widow who is still in her reproductive years but who has yet to deliver or has never delivered any children; one involving a menarche widow with young children; and the levirate of menopausal widows. Widows in Luo society are culturally allowed and expected but often compelled into one of these three types of levirate relationships after the death of their spouse. Levirate relationships are routinely with an agnate of the husband, but all the children from this relationship are considered to belong to the deceased husband and not to the levir. Based on a questionnaire carried out in 1997 amongst Luo males in Bondo Division, Bondo District, Nyanza Province, western Kenya, this paper shows that the levirate institution still remains salient among the Luo because the origins and justifications for the existence of the levirate evoke a mythological dimension of Luo culture: the tradition of 'Ramogi', which links any transgression of the beliefs and practices associated with the levirate to 'taboo' or 'sin', with subsequent evil consequences, such as 'chira', a supernaturally-induced illness. 76 percent of the respondents felt that the levirate institution should be promoted, but 78 percent thought that the levirate was on the wane in the Luo community. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]