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UASIN GISHU

3 things the traditional Kalenjin man was not allowed to do

Edward Kosut
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Kalenjin boys after undergoing an initiation ceremony. Circumcised boys were prohibited from doing certain things. [Source/ Kirui Wilperson‎]

In the traditional Kalenjin society, men were prevented from going to certain places or attending ceremonies which were exclusively for the girls and women in the community.

Here are three things the traditional Kalenjin man was not allowed to do.

1. Attend female circumcision ceremonies

According to John Keny, a Uasin Gishu resident, Kalenjin men adhered to rules that prevented them from attending or participating in girls’ initiation ceremonies.

“Girls' circumcision ceremonies were only attended by women. Men respected this rule and anyone caught going against it was excommunicated from the society and sometimes the culprit would also be cursed by the elders," said Keny, 65.

2. Enter the kitchen

Keny notes that the kitchen was a no-go-zone for the traditional Kalenjin man. Only women were allowed to work in the kitchen and young boys during their circumcision ceremonies were warned not to interfere with kitchen matters.

3. Enter the parent's bedroom 

Parents' bedrooms were considered a sacred and secret place and circumcised boys were not allowed to enter the room. This was meant to avoid finding the parents in a compromising situation.

“This was a forbidden place where men were not allowed to enter. Some of these cultures are however no longer observed due to exposure to education and cultural evolution," said Keny.

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-Edward Kosut

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