Attitude towards sexual fidelity 

In a previous post I wrote there was no case brought against a man who killed his wife’s lover if he found them in the act. What I failed to mention is that the Luo feared killing believing it would bring bad omen. 

In the event one was so unfortunate to find the wife in such a compromising situation, you were to pretend you didn’t see. Give the man an opportunity to get away and don’t embarrass the wife by bringing the issue up. Cheating on one’s spouse was not ground for separation.

What I also found strange is what appears to be a contradiction. They had a set out way on returning bride wealth in the event a marriage broke down but a woman who eloped with someone else would still return to her position after several years and be welcomed back. One wonders why have laws or rules on returning bride wealth while at the same time look at marriage as permanent? 


About makagutu

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

19 thoughts on “Attitude towards sexual fidelity 

  1. Pragmatism? Women as a purchasable object?

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      Maybe pragmatism. I don’t know if they saw women as a purchasable object or we can arrive at that conclusion because of exchange of bride wealth. This thesis maybe slightly hard to defend because there were animals that also came from the bride’s family.
      One of the reasons I ask my women friends who on one hand insist on dowry while demanding equality whether there are aware of the apparent contradiction in their stand.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. >>> “One wonders why have laws or rules on returning bride wealth while at the same time look at marriage as permanent?”

    I don’t know, but I suspect this custom evolved as a matter of practicality (as previously mentioned). Laws reflect what we wish society to be, not what we humans naturally are. Monogamy isn’t a natural trait of humans. We had to build institutions to practice it.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Tish Farrell says:

    Interesting post, Noel. From what I’ve read about bride price, it’s not really about ‘selling’, more about forging links between the two communities of the bride and groom.This makes it quite difficult to ‘unpick’ if a marriage fails. Also, while bride price might be pledged by the groom’s family, it may not get paid, yet can still stand as a debt after many years. And as you say, a lot of this comes down to practicalities.

    Polygamy and wife inheritance likewise have practical purposes, though neither sits easily with a modern mindset. In the past, due to regular cattle raiding and warfare there probably were more marriageable women than men. And if a woman was widowed, there was the matter of family wealth, and the children she had born with the deceased. The clan would not be disposed to see either leave the family compound, hence the ‘inheritance’ of a brother’s widow. It’s all fascinating stuff, but often hard to accept if viewed through the prism of present sensibilities of human/women’s rights etc.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s funny, I’ve had many brides and their families offer me bride wealth to simply stay the hell away from the bride. This all changed, of course, with the advent of restraining orders. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Ron says:

    Alright, alright!. I confess to cereal infidelity. Some mornings I have cooked oats with cinnamon, mashed bananas or apple sauce. Other days I eat omelettes with whole grain toast. Occasionally, I’ll have granola with almond milk. And sometimes I’m led far astray by yummy fruit smoothies.

    Mea Culpa!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. shelldigger says:

    I have never given much thought to dowrys (what the hell is the proper plural for dowry anyway?) except that I never really liked the idea in general. Mostly because one woman might be worth one cow and a goat, and another woman might be deemed worthy of a cow, a goat, a few horses, and a mule. I never saw it as fair to the women. Granted I don’t know much on the subject. I just wrote the whole thing off as a cultural oddity that has outlived its usefulness.

    …much like religion.


    • makagutu says:

      Again, dowry back then was standard. The women were treated equally. Lately, however, many a parent have been known to say their daughter has gone to university and is worth more.
      If anything, it is present day families that treat women as property and not our forefathers


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