Wednesday, 10 July 2013
KISII TRADITIONAL HOUSES (EBISARATE )AND THEIR EDUCATIONAL IMPORTANCE FOR BOYS
This is a stage whereby boys had successfully gone through the circumcision trials and were now men who could marry and be admitted to Gusii governing councils. Their education in the ways of men tactics of war was not complete until they lived in ebisarate. Ebisarate were clan villages that was scattered in all Gusii locations in which the cattle were kept and all young men slept. No woman was allowed, except to bring food and to fetch milk. The ebisarate were strongly fenced wattle and had moats around them and more often, there was an outer fence.
Cattle were taken to the ebisarate by young men. Even young men who had no cattle went to Ebisarate taking with them their spears and shields. These young men were not only to learn and practice tactics of war, but also to take part in cattle grazing. The middle aged and elderly men who acted as leaders and educators also lived in Ebisarate. The young men were taught about the importance of hard work, defense of their group, grazing cattle, how to make shields and spears and how to use them.
Because these young men who live in Ebisarate were many ranging from 20-30, the cattle were grazed in rotation. The youth and the group of youths should have their turn. At the end, good grazers were rewarded by being given enough amaguta (This is a cream from the cow’s milk) and each received meat from a slaughtered cow which he took home to their parents. The quantity of Amaguta and meat that was given to each young boy was governed by his ability toward the understanding the rules of Egesarate especially co- operation.
These young men were instructed that to succeed in life, they have to Co- operate in defending their cattle, their clan and the nation incase of any invasion They were instructed that co-operation was necessary in building Ebisarate to the Gusii activities such as agricultural work and building houses that was an extension shown by their parents in amasaga, ebisangio and ebibosano. All these meaning a group of people performing cooperation together.
If the young boys were disobedient in following up the rules of egesarate (that is any of the young boys) he could be denied his share of milk, meat and Amaguta even if these items were produced by his own cow.
Daniel Momanyi Ogondo, NMK Main Library
Stella Nyambariga (NMK Planning)