Friday, September 29, 2006

tribalism

Yesterday i had one or two heated conversations about tribalism in kenya.It seems that tribalism is on the rise there .Being thousands of miles away i really cant say if what i hear is true ,but i do know that sometimes people like to find a scapegoat for their troubles just as some germans blamed hardworking jews for all their problems,some in kenya are blaming a hard working community . Anyway today i came accross the following article and i must say i too have to change some of my views: When Julius Caesar invaded the south coast of Britain in 55 BC, he met resistance from warring Celtic tribes. But a century later, Roman control had extended all the way north into what is now Scotland. The conquest took 30,000 Celtic lives, but the Roman victory was short-lived. Surviving clansmen soon began a fierce guerrilla campaign against their occupiers. So in AD 122, Emperor Hadrian ordered a wall constructed to separate the Romans from the barbarians to the north. Hadrian’s Wall stands to this day.

In Jesus’ day, a barrier stronger than Hadrian’s Wall stood between God’s people and the Gentiles who were outside their spiritual community. It was the barrier of ethnic prejudice. God’s design was to bless all the families of the earth through Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3; Isa. 51:2). But instead of being a witness to the nations, Israel nurtured prejudice against the Gentiles.
Prejudice and racism remain with us today, even in the church. Such attitudes do damage to our witness of Christ’s love for all people. Jesus laid down His life to redeem people from every tribe and nation. We must not only accept them, we must love them as our brothers and sisters in Christ (Gal. 3:28-29; Rev. 5:9).Thinking It OverAre you willing to take the first step to understandfellow believers who are different from you?How can you befriend believers from other cultures?

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

i agree with what you say.some people think that tribalism is being a gikuyu.yet if you ask them to name in specifics what they are against they cant tell you

m said...

I am still waiting for my answer. Are you a Christian first and then a Kikuyu? Or the other way round

Joseph Walking said...

I am a christian then a kikuyu . i see where you are going but one can hadly compare being a christian to being kenyans .

Zephyr said...

You still haven't answered my question either. What is it that makes me Kikuyu, and my daughter Luo? Especially since I am not married to her father, yet he is actively present in her life?

It is good to see that you say you are having to change some of your views. What re the views and how are they changing?

Joe said...

whats your daughters middle and last name .
my views are changingin that i cant take it for granted that people are hell bent on misunderstanding what i am saying hence i have to very careful in what i state

Ken said...

Joe, you are at the risk of being misconstrued.
Christianity is a matter of choice while tribal affiliation is acquired by birth. Dont mix the two and dont judge or classify people because of either.

Amber said...

Her middle name is a Kenyan name, which is a combination of both her grandmother's names, while her last name is an amalgamation of her father's name and my father's name (one of those hyphenated ones). She speaks neither language and she has only lately began to understand and explore the positives and negatives of being either Kikuyu or Luo. She knows the origins of her names, and it jazzes her.

Does that help you in any way?

Incidentally, I am not middle-class and a lot of my cousins, even from shags have married non-kikuyus,all the way from Luos to Kalenjins to Kambas and Taitas.

Zephyr said...

Oops, that was me above in my alter ego :-).

Joe said...

amber /z

You see there lies the problem .According to tradition there is no such things as amalgamations(i hope i dont sound too harsh)lakini if you are not married according to kyuk custom your daughter should have been named after your mother.However people seem to think that tribe is talk and name .tribal identity is much more. and thats why for people who have lost their tribal heritage its hard to understand those who hold on to theirs . given the information you have given me ur daughter is a kyuk. TH day your luo man marries you or takes cows to your parents she becomes a luo .therefore joining you as luos.you see if we followed our culture we would not have any need to hate other tribes because within those tribes are our sisters ,and daughters.

ken: i think i am talking about a much deeper thing than simply stating i am a christian in this instance i am talking about true christianity i.e salvation which is ordained from above -this is a theological discussion in its own.

casual_observer said...

I have followed this conversation with interest and finally caved in to make a comment, cliche as it may sound. I love my heritage that is based on my tribe.I love the marriage process with regards to dowry, the hustle and tussle on the wedding day, the lamentations during death....etc..etc.I also appreciate it when I attend my friends' weddings when they are from a different tribe and see the pomp and gala of their tribal processes. Its the beauty of that that I believe God intended.He did not want us walking around with those tribal labels plastered on faces for recognition or a status quo.Tribal heritage does not confer any superiority, just unique differences that we bring to the melting pot we call Kenya to make it stronger.For those famed to be great long distance runners, they win us gold medals at the Olympics, for those good in hustling business deals, they liven our economy and create jobs, for those who are great farmers, our nation is well fed....etc.I believe thats why we are different and we should work together instead of going through the nitty gritty of finding our identity solely on what tribe we come from.

Joe said...

i couldnt agree with you more. i hope that more young kenyans will be as dynamic as you have been in your analysis on tribal heritage and its place .

The notion that we should all be the same and speak the same is not in my view of what God intended . I am sure He also did not intend for tribal superiority or tribal complexes.

Embracing who we are is the first step of sharing who we are.

I think if we as kenyans went back to learning our tribal ways, we would see that hate and all other vices practised within the pretext of tribe today were unacceptable.(ps even back then intermarriages between communities occured-it those who pervert culture that teach intermarriages should not occur)


long story short we should always be proud to be (whatever tribe you) and proud to be kenyans.It is individuals that are plundering looting and raping our country and not tribes.

Amber said...

I think the issue that we are kind of losing sight of is mmk's original post, which was a letter by a friend of his to his 'father and others'. The letter was basically questioning why as Kikuyus we are going around posing as victims and stirring up a paranoia, in other Kikuyus about what the other tribes can do to us, or have done to us.

As such the bigger question that noone still hasn't answered is what makes one a Kikuyu? And can this be used as an identity that informs all we do especially in the political space?

Tradition has no amalgamtions, true, however, I think we have trashed most of our traditions, from female-genital mutilation to wearing skins, I am sure changing the naming systems cannot be the one we claim to cling to. Incidentally, if I marry my daughter's father, does her name then change to his mother's name, since as you say she then 'becomes' a Luo?

Joe said...

Amber i think the jist of mmks post was answered in my subsequent posts as uncle joe.so i think we definately sorted the chufff from the wheat on that issue.

As for your daughters name no she would not change her name .so for example she would be Anastasia waitherero Opundo-lol or what ever the case my apply.

On the issue of the dynamism of culture and the need to rid bad cultural tendancies i totaly agree.female circumcision for one had to go. on the skins i must say i have always had an appeal for women in leather skirts. so i dont know if that was right or not .

i guess what i am trying to say is that lets not mistake the things people do as individuals to mean that its a cultural practice.hate,corruption,bad leadership etc are individual vices that have nothing to do with culture and the soooner we stop mixing up the two the better we will all be

Amber said...

*sigh* Clearly, the issue here is one of semantics, and since I stopped winning those ones some time ago...
I only sincerely hope that you are a true seeker, who really wants to know the truth (which even I cannot claim to know), rather than just being out to prove your point. For me, the anti-others sentiments I hear expressed in some of my circles, by my uncles, et al, make me have very real fears for my daughter, because those sentiments are indirected at her. This discussion is not rhetorical or academic for me, and for a lot of us the practical application is one where we cannot ignore these kind of sentiments or wish them away.

Amber said...

Am reading through your archives and I can see why you consider blogging serious business. Have been to a number of you links, and I think I will make time kesho to go back to Paula White.

Joe said...

its practical for me too. the thing is i think as young kenyans we have to move from an 844 type of mentality of cramming information that is put out and thinking it is the truth . we have to develope a thinking nation that critically looks at issues asking the whats,whys and ifs before jumping to conclusions.i hope despite what you read see or hear that you will ask those questions and ask them more in depthly.

Enjoy the archieves and remember God is always in control no matter how happy or sad the situation looks like