MARRIAGE

Revisiting traditional marriage process with nostalgia

'The Orror Marriage Process' is a guide to the virtues and moral values of marriage

In Summary

• The book brings out a clear picture of how cultural procedures were strictly followed in the past

President Uhuru Kenyatta's first son Jomo Kenyatta with his Fiancee Achola Ngobi during Itare ceremony at their Gatundu rural home
President Uhuru Kenyatta's first son Jomo Kenyatta with his Fiancee Achola Ngobi during Itare ceremony at their Gatundu rural home
Image: COURTESY

BOOK TITLE : The Orror Marriage Process

AUTHOR       : Michael R. Chesikaw

PUBLISHER  : Kenya Literature Bureau, Nairobi, 2019.

 

 

Reviewed By   : Ken Chelimo

Occupation      : Freelance Journalist

 

Divine, emotive and fragile. These are the three universal terms used to describe the institution of marriage. The process of preparing, entering, formalising and maintaining a long-lasting marriage in a relationship continues to pose a lot of challenges to many young individuals in this digital era.

Many intrigues associated with modern forms of marriages are today witnessed in our daily lives. These include several cases of short-lived marriages, divorce, separation, single parenthood, same-sex marriages “come-we-stay “ relationships and so forth. Compared to olden days, these shortcomings were rarely witnessed in the society, a newly published book, The Orror Marriage Process, says. It encourages the youth and modern parents to learn and embrace the institution of marriage from indigenous point of view. The writer of the book is, for example, averse to two prospective partners from same nucleus clan who unknowingly cohabit and enter into marriage without knowing that they are related by blood. He regrets that such scenarios are common in our present society.

The book puts into perspective moral decadence and erosion of marital values brought about by emerging technologies like the Internet, modern lifestyles and religious beliefs in the context of the Orror people, a sub-community of the Tugen people, a Kalenjin tribe which inhabit the northern part of Baringo county in the Rift Valley region. It aims to make the youth embrace the community’s tradition and culture in matters marriage. The book targets the youth who have been enslaved by modern digital lifestyles after the erosion of their community’s cultural traditions.

 

The book captures records of Orror marriage aspects, including procedures in the identification and engagement of the bride, clan negotiation and eventual settling of a newly married couple in their new home. The issue of paying dowry by cash, unlike in modern society where it has been commercialised, was non-existent in the community, since marriage was regarded as a long-term life commitment.

It goes ahead to expound on different types of marriages, including arranged marriages, assisted marriages, voluntary marriages, woman-to-woman marriages and other forms of marriages. It also highlights curses and consequences associated with breaking traditional marriage vows, which included rigorous and painful steps taken before dissolving a marriage.

The book’s author, Michael Chesikaw, a renowned lawyer and scholar who hails from the Orror community, brings out a clear picture of how the community’s cultural procedures were strictly followed, which ensured stable and acceptable marriages as opposed to modern practices, where the youth and their “civilised” parents have borrowed heavily from the western world and from cultures of other communities. He gives a vivid example of online dating through digital platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter and other dating sites, which he terms “ridiculous” in identifying and courting a partner for marriage in modern days.

Chesikaw states that the book is not a code of conduct or set of rules for the marriage process for the Orror community but acts as a guide to the virtues and moral values of marriage among the Orror and other communities. The information contained in the book has been gathered from research and oral narration given by senior members of the community, who witnessed and practised these oriental cultural practices in their youthful days.

The Orror Marriage Process, published by the Kenya Literature Bureau, will be launched at the Kenya School of Government, Kabarnet , Baringo County on November 9. Guests will include scholars and politicians led by Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis, Dr Lilian Chesikaw ( Director, Gender Development Studies, Egerton University), Victor Lomaria (MD, Kenya Literature Bureau) and Prof Fred Sigor (PS, Tourism), among others.