Masculinities in Colonial Kenya

Length: 827 words

Hodgkin (199) analyses the historical articulation f modernity with the shifting production of Mammas masculinity in Tanzania. Hodgkin (1999) looks at the experience of two different mammas masculinity which depict the traditional/ modern periods and the colonial/ postcolonial periods. The term “Mammas” is a term that depicts a specific type of masculinity. A mammas can be interpreted In many contexts as a warrior and in the Kenya context, as men herding cattle and men of proud patriarchy. However, miscalculates change in different contexts as I have mentioned before.

Missal can mean one thing in Kenya but mean something totally different In Europe. Where one Is situated geographically has a huge Impact on their experiences and how to Interpret concepts like Masculinity or Mammas. How we interpret masculinity is highly influenced by how we have been taught masculinity to be, for example if a child grows up without a father figure; he/ she does not the role of a father in his/her life because there is no father visible. Hence he/she can give a totally different description of a father to someone who grew up in the presence of a father figure.

The same thing applies to masculinity. Our understanding of

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masculinity is measured by what we are taught masculinity to be. Hodgkin (1999) looks at how mammas masculinity changed when AMA-speaking men moved to different geographic spaces. The AMA- speaking people scattered throughout the northern and central Tanganyika suggests that since they moved to different environment, they had to adopt a culture that was dominant and used In that country In order to be accepted as part of the community.

A culture that required them to give up their own culture and move away from what they were taught to be “normal”. It also suggests that maybe in Tanganyika the culture of mammas men was not valued that much hence they changed it. According to Hodgkin 1999) “colonial administrators coerced or forced those who conformed to their images of mammas to move into the reservoir. Anyone refusing to reside in the reserve was perceived as “deliberately severing his connection with his own tribe” (Hodgkin, 1999: 129-130). This gave them no choice but to obey the Tanganyika culture and accept it as their own.

They forgot about their roles and responsibilities as circumcised men and women. In the missal culture, a man and a woman had to go through the process of circumcision In order to gain the mark of their transition to adulthood. In the Xhosa culture, circumcision Is only applicable to men but not omen. Occlusion Is linked to a particular form of masculinity, one that Is heterosexual. The process however, is similar to the one that Hodgkin describes in who takes part in it is the context and the different geographic differences.

When we are situated in different contours of the world, we might follow the same procedures differently because there are other factors around us that we are influenced by which might even result in conflict and controversies The transition that the AMA- speaking people went through resulted in the loss of the things that as mammas people valued the most. According to Hodgkin (1999), they sold their cattle for cash privileges and they reinforced new rules that include men as individually being the owners of cattle and heads of households.

A new type of masculinity was enforced, patriarchy had taken over. Women were over-looked as mammas, their rights were not considered nor recognized. Kenya ended up adapting the colonial rule which over- looked the rights of women and men had all he power. Men were entitled to wealth that at the time was seen through the amount of cattle a man owns and his livestock. In the colonial history of Africa, women were always never entitled to any form of rower. The Kenya mammas men transformed from an equal form of masculinity that was fitted for both men and women in their transition to miasmas’.

As soon as they relocated, their understanding and knowledge of a mammas was questioned and challenged to a new form masculinity that was dominant and was viewed as “normal”. Hodgkin concludes by stating that “the mammas case demonstrates how such a modern/ traditional dichotomy was inscribed on the categories that were formed as part of the imperial project of imposing a modern order on the perceived chaos of the native” (Hodgkin, 1999: 144). This also shows how the shift in practices and policies with other pressures contributed to the mammas change.

The mammas case also raises the issues of the relationship between modernity and the formation of an individual to fit a certain lifestyle. As noted by Hodgkin (1999) the formation of identity is not only about individuals engaging with the structural forces but it is always mediated by a collective, cross-cutting allegiances such as gender, generation, ethnicity and class. The imposition of mammas in the modern/traditional dichotomy has been completely gendered. The mammas masculinity had become the key for the experience of modernity.

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