Sunday, 7 September 2014

How the system changed from matriarchal to patriarchal

At the beginning Gikuyu people enjoyed a matriarchal system. But somehow the system changed from matriarchal to patriarchal.

It is said that while holding superior position in the community, the women became domineering and ruthless fighters. They also practise polyandry. And, through sexual jealously, many men were put to death for committing adultery or other minor offences. Besides the capital punishment, the men were subjected to all kinds of humiliation and injustice.

Men were indignant at the way in which the women treated them, and in their indignation they planned to revolt against the ruthless women's administration of justice. But as the women were physically stronger than the man of that time, and also better fighters, it was decided that the best time for a successful revolt would be during the time when the majority of women, especially their leaders, were in pregnancy.

The decision was hailed by the men who were very anxious to overthrow the rule of the opposite sex. At once the men held a secret meeting in which they arranged a suitable date to execute their plan. On the day appointed to carry out the initial stage of the revolt, the men started to act enthusiastically. They embarked on a campaign to induce the women leaders and a majority of their brave followers to have sexual intercourse with men. The women were unfortunately deceived by the flattery of the men, and blindly agreed to their inducements without without knowing the wicked plan the men had made to overthrow the women's rule.

The men, after completing the first act, quietly waited for the result. After six moons had elapsed the men then saw clearly that their plan had materialised. At once they organised into groups and finally carried out the revolt without much resistance. For the brave women were almost paralysed by the condition in which they are. The men triumphed, took over the leadership in the community and became the heads of their families instead of the woman. Immediately steps were taken to abolish the system of polyandry and to establish the system of polygamy.

(the tribal legend about the origin of the Gikuyu system of kinship)
Facing Mt. Kenya
By Jommo Kenyatta

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