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4 He Who Eats with You Kinship, Family, and Neighborhood

1. In the Swahili language, gender is not noted, so the gloss "he/she" would be more nearly precise. Since it is cumbersome, I will follow general practice in the literature and use the masculine pronoun with the understanding that the original is without gender reference. [BACK]

2. Up to and following World War II, the members of an mbari attended weddings as a subunit within their taifa (see chap. 2). Those giving the weddings distributed the materials for betel nut chewing by taifa (see chap. 2) with a subdistribution by mbari. [BACK]

3. It is worth noting that a term, wajoli (sing. mjoli ), is used among people who were, or whose families were, slaves belonging to the same family of waungwana (i.e., free-born community members). Wajoli is not a kin term, but I am told (I have never heard it actually used and would be surprised if it still were since the status of slave descendant has very few openly avowed members) that it is a way of calling attention to the fact that those who refer to one another by it are "like kin," as one informant put it. [BACK]

4. Several young men who were in conflict with their fathers told me that they did not have to worry about their fathers withholding radhi because there was no proper basis for the fathers to do that. Only, they claimed, if they behaved contrary to Koranic prescriptions would God actually give weight to a father's, or presumably a mother's, withholding of radhi. [BACK]

5. Fathers, like mothers, say of a child who has behaved in an intolerable way, "Matumbo yangu hakuzaa" (My womb has not borne), i.e., they disclaim the child as not being their issue. [BACK]

6. Cousin marriage is viewed as "easier" in that the parents of the new couple know one another and are unlikely to raise any difficulties. A badly regarded young man (generally so because of rowdiness, poor prospects, or bad reputation) is likelier to marry a cousin than a nonrelative because, I was told, the bride's family "wants to help their relative." Similarly, a young woman with a bad reputation (much rarer than for males) will also marry a cousin more often than a nonrelative, and the same is true for women who simply have no outsiders asking to marry them. Cousin marriage is also easier because quarrels between the spouses are likelier to be adjudicated by their families rather than exacerbated. [BACK]

7. Elderly women, but not men, are properly greeted with the expression, Shika mo (said to be a form of "shika mgoo," embrace [your] foot) as a sign of the respect in which they are held, and this is true not only of kin of the parental and grandparental generation but of all elderly members of the community. [BACK]

8. Not giving money to sons may contribute to a man's positive evaluation in the father status when the evaluation is by other fathers, neighbors, and, sometimes, wives. The evaluation by the son, however, is at least sometimes highly negative and the father is evaluated as not having shown love. As chapter 8 shows in detail, the importance of the statuses of both the evaluated and of the evaluator are quite as important in determining judgments for general expectations as it is for specific. [BACK]

9. There are Swahili in the restricted sense I am using the term who live outside Old Town in the area immediately to the west of the boundary formed by the Digo Road. Because of my focus on the Old Town group, I spent time in only one household in this area, called Majengo, whose residents are mainly members of Mijikenda and inland ( barani ) ethnic groups. Old Town Swahili say that the descendants of slaves once owned by Swahili families live here as well as some waungwana who through financial reverses, sometimes generations before, lost their Old Town homes. This last may be why the family I visited was here rather than in Old Town, but I never established that that was so. [BACK]

10. A woman was weeping inconsolably at the funeral of her stepfather who had not married the woman's mother until the woman was fully mature. "Mazoeizi," she wept, "mbaya kuliko upenzi" (Accustomedness is worse [more painful] than love). [BACK]

11. People do rent rooms in their houses to nonrelatives, but the few cases I have

both cvvensus data for and a personal knowledge of who lives in the house suggest that "roomers" are not included in answer to questions about who lives in the house. [BACK]

12. The verb and noun should be in quotes because adoption involves the adoptive parents taking on the sole rights and duties of parents, whereas this is not the case, as will become clear, with wazee walezi ("adoptive" parents) who share these rights with the wazee wazaazi (birth parents). For the sake of brevity, however, I will henceforth use "adopted" without quotes. [BACK]

13. Hanithi is a word that applies to passive homosexual males and also to men who are impotent. A community member with serious physical disabilities was said to have remarked several times that he would prefer to be referred to as "hawezi" (He is unable) rather than as "hanithi." [BACK]

14. It is impossible to say precisely how many girls and young women I have talked to over the years. In 1976 and 1980, my friend, the late Gamal Khan, arranged group interviews for me with Swahili students at Coast Girls' High School. There were a total of 65 in those interviews, but less than half participated actively. In addition, I have interviewed 23 girls and young women in private sessions at their homes or the homes of their relatives. I have had no group interviews with boys or young men but have had private, lengthy interviews with 17 and briefer talks with many more. [BACK]

15. In a third case, a young woman was to marry a Persian Gulf Arab who was going to take her with him when he returned to his homeland. She did not directly oppose her family's decision but expressed serious misgivings about leaving Mombasa, her friends, and relatives and living in a society where the restrictions on women are greater than they are in contemporary Old Town. She was subsequently possessed by a pepo (a djin or spirit) who, when asked by a spirit medium ( mganga ) what she, the possessing spirit, wanted, replied through the medium, "Sitaki kilembe. Nataka msuti" (I don't want a turban [man]. I want a suit-man [i.e., a "modern" man]). Her parents called off the wedding and she recovered. [BACK]

16. A young man told me that there are young, unmarried women in the community who are willing to engage in anal or oral sex but not intercourse because they want to preserve their virginity. Although another young man agreed this was so when I asked, a number of others denied it and said that few if any community women will engage in sexual activity of any kind before marriage even if there is reason to think they would like to. [BACK]

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