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James Ojago

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Letters From My Dad is an autobiographical, biographical and anthropological study of the Maragoli of Western Kenya. This study examines their history, their traditional cultural beliefs and the importance of those beliefs to their society - including male penile circumcisions as a rite of passage to adulthood. Letters From My Dad goes back three hundred years, tracing the roots of the Maragoli and their migration to Vihiga County as well as other parts of East Africa during the 1930's-40's (Kanyamkago, Tanganyika, Uganda and the Kenya Highlands). Also explored are the impact on the Maragoli by American missionaries and British colonialists, the introduction of mission churches and schools, the experiences of Dr. Ojago's grandfather during employment on a sisal plantation at Thika, his father's experiences as a plantation employee at Molo in the Rift Valley (under British colonial rule), the effect of the Kipande on all Africans, the role of Indian immigrants to Kenya during the colonial and post-colonial periods and the effects on the Maragoli and Kenya in general and the establishment of the semi-apartheid state in Kenya during the colonial era and the effects of that system on Kenyans (land theft - use of slave labor).
Everything about Luyia Culture in One Book
Luyia Culture
Luyia of Kenya: A Cultural Profile is a holistic emic view of the customary beliefs of the Luyia people of East Africa.  Written by Shadrack Amakoye Bulimo, an experienced journalist who previously worked for the Nation and Standard newspapers in Kenya, the 660-page book provides a defrosted window into Luyia cosmology separating fact from fiction.  The book is a cradle-to-grave account of how the Luyia live and die, love and hate, and undertake the rituals of initiations and practice witchcraft. The author tackles the taboo subject of witchcraft and how widespread belief in the occult even among the educated and Christians is still a major hindrance to economic empowerment in Luyialand. The author provides an elaborate analysis of rites of passage - child birth, marriage, circumcision, and death - and how these institutions are governed by customary traditions. These institutions served the clan community well in the pre-European days but are now under siege from modern global economy. This book is an attempt at preserving the Luyia culture for future generations. “I was challenged by my children who made inquiries about their cultural heritage and realized how little I knew then,” explains Bulimo.  “I embarked on a learning journey and a discovery of a body of knowledge which this book encapsulates.”

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