Discussions with my old man


I don’t know whether my old man has finally accepted that am an atheist, or he is still in denial. You see, the last time we had this talk, he wasn’t so amused and had many questions and among them he thought that I have moved to the devils camp whatever that is and was worshiping devils to which I told him, he was more likely to be a devil worshiper than I since he at least believes they exist and can be worshiped. This is just a by the way.

I was home on Friday and early Saturday morning and we had this discussion on two main issues: death and marriage. For those who are not in the know, the Luo seem to have an obsession with death, we keep our dead for days on to allow everyone who can come for the funeral to show up, even those who hated the dead guy. There is a neighbor of ours who for reasons that are not clear to me quit life [took his own life] 2 weeks ago and had not been buried by yesterday. I wanted to know from my old man, why should we keep a dead person for so long? Life stops for the living just taking care of the dead. Tell me friends what you think on this matter and how long should it be before a person is buried, cremated or dumped in the sea especially if it is not a contested case where a postmortem has to be conducted.

The next discussion was on dowry or bride price or whatever else you want to call it. I wanted to know from my dad why the Luo in particular gave bride price. This practice is common for almost all the tribes living in Kenya. In his opinion he said, it was a way of saying thank you to the bride’s family, whatever for I don’t know.

These are my questions and your thoughts will be highly appreciated;

1. If it is saying thank you[ I don’t see why for] why is there a limit and a specific requirement? Doesn’t it make more sense if the groom’s family chose the way to say thank you and when to do this?

2. If they claim they have educated their daughter; is this a valid reason? What if the man is also educated? Does the grooms family get to ask for compensation if their son is more educated?

3. If the reason is she will give you children, what claim are they making here? Does she get the children from outer space? Are not the two parties involved in procreation? What if you for whatever reason the two can’t have children? Should you claim the bride price or should we in such a case then waive the bride price?

4. If the bride’s family demands money and they are given, should I then not be allowed to dispose of her as I do my other assets?

My last question is for those people who wed in churches or even for civil marriages, how does the word of the officiating minister make you husband and wife? If two people came to me and I said the same words, do they become husband and wife? What makes my words lack the power to make them husband and wife? I am aware there is a question of law here, but tell me, who gives the priest power to make you husband and wife? Are you not already husband and wife by the time you decide to see the minister?

I would love to hear your thoughts on these matters.

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

6 thoughts on “Discussions with my old man

  1. IMO, the state gives legal recognition of those who ‘get married’ by an authorized person – the words mean absolutely nothing.

    Why dowry is practiced in your location is something I cannot know, but http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dowry There are lots of possible reasons, but I think most of them relate back to a time when arranged marriages were more about the families than the couple to be wed.

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  2. archaeopteryx1 says:

    Unfortunately, you were not clear in your entry as to exactly what your customs are. In medieval Europe, the bride’s father gave a dowry to the man, to help the young couple get started. In the Bible, however, it appears to be the man who pays the father a “bride price.” As I said, you haven’t been entirely clear as to what is the custom among the Luo, so I would have to withhold my opinion until further information is given.

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  3. Where do you live, by the way? Tanzania? Kenya?

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  4. mixedupmeme says:

    It is good that you felt like you could have these discussions.
    So many customs and habits that are well established and so hard to break or change.
    I hope to be cremated. I would like any body organs to be donated for reuse or at least study. But I am finding even that is a complicated process. Another bunch of paper work. 😦

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