This is why women from Luyha community are barred from eating 'Ingokho'
Sometimes it is a beneficial for young people to create time with elders in our communities and share more on our cultural beliefs. This is where you can get your identity and know why some norms are there and consequences that may follow in case you ignore them.
Last week i got a chance to interact with two bukusu elders, John Sunguti, 78 and Amos Wanjala 80. We discussed on array of Luhya customs and the central topic was on why traditionally women were not allowed to eat chicken. For them it was a custom that was strictly followed that is why some elderly women in western Kenya don't eat chicken.
Furthermore although in present times they are allowed to eat, they are some parts that are "no go zone for women". Gizzard, is a very precious part and infact some men in their households cannot eat chicken if Gizzard is missing in the action.
"There is no way i can eat chicken without that part" he says. He further adds that modern women due to ignorant of cultures have gone against this rule. It may also earn a woman a divorce, and according to the two elders the matter can be settled in court of law. Take for instance a man in Ndengelwa, Bungoma County who beat up his wife because the wife had ate the backborne of the kitchen, the part that is traditionally meant for men. But what could be the real reason behind women being barred from eating chicken traditionally?
According to Derrick Makhanu, 55 he believes that this was a ploy by men to enjoy chicken delicacy alone. He further adds that the fallacious analogy that eggs have healthy implications to women is a mere a lie. "I don't think eggs have side effects, infact they are nutritious" he says.
He further adds that the reason behind it is the fear that women may feast on all eggs leaving the chicken with no eggs to hatch.
This statement left me waging in laughter although is a real fact. For instance a man in Busia County almost killed his wife on learning that his wife had cooked an egg without his permission.
But whisper this idea to modern woman. She will laugh off and blame you of being so conservative.
For instance Anne 36, a financial advisor in Bungoma town says that old traditions have been put in place to demean women. "I feel that traditions were meant to oppress women while they celebrated men" she says.
She further adds that civilisation through education have empowered women giving them a chance in society and equal opportunity as men. According to Anne, some traditional beliefs that are not relevant should be done away with. "I find it of no importance to still practise some beliefs that don't make sense" she adds. All the same is it the right time to outlaw outrageous cultural beliefs that have been in place to discriminate women?
Share this story
By Diana Anyango
By Kirsten Kanja
By Stevens Muendo
By Vincent Kejitan