|Specialised barbers shave and decorate the hair during the initiation into adulthood. [photos: maureen odiwuor/Standard]|
By Maureen Odiwuor
John Ekamais, 26, has been thirsting to tie the knot with his wife of two years not for any other reason, but to earn respect among his peers and become an elder.
He is among the few Turkana embracing tradition and modernity judging from his dress code. He is wearing a red Manchester United T-shirt and Jeans. Still, he believes in the culture of hair shaving, which signifies maturity after one pays bride price.
Ekamais, who lives near the Kakuma Refugee Camp, says he wants to follow requirement to make his married culturally acceptable.
Reasons for the hairdo
“Nilioa mke wangu kwa njia ya town, lakini lazima nifanye harusi ya kitamaduni kwao ndiyo ninyolewe emedot” (I married in town, but I must do a traditional wedding so that I can be allowed to have the cultural hairdo), he says.
He says wants the hairdo for cultural and aesthetic purposes.
“Even when one is married, you are considered a child because we shave our hair clean,” he says.
This, Ekamais says, demeans men and they are usually urged to marry traditionally to earn respect from women, children and other young men who shave their hair clean with no decorations.
He says he cannot attend any major functions where there are elders.
Lokosen Nyangatom, 55, a traditional barber says ceremonies performed before marriage mark transition from childhood to adulthood.