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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:From warriors to 'JoNanga': the struggle over nakedness by the Luo of Kenya
Author:Odhiambo, AtienoISNI
Periodical:Matatu: Journal for African Culture and Society
Geographic terms:Kenya
Great Britain
Subjects:culture contact
Western culture
African culture
Abstract:In 1902 the Luo were severed from the Uganda Protectorate and annexed to the East African Protectorate. Eighteen years later their 'Protectorate' status was withdrawn and they were made subjects of Kenya Colony. The nature of the ambiguity and powerlessness which they experienced as colonial subjects emerged amongst others in the issue of dress. While seeing themselves as fully clothed the Luo, or Kavirondo as they were called by the British, fell short of decency in the eyes of European visitors, who saw them as naked. Western Kenya, in the period between colonial conquest and 1939, underwent intense struggles over the adoption of Western clothing. These struggles - verbal, oratorical, spoken and sung - signify the attempts by some people, very ordinary people, to control their body, their aesthetics, and the pace of social change. The cultural debate covered many fields. The aggressors were the Josomo (the literates), who brought into society new material items and new modes of thought, so Josomo were also known as JoNanga ('nanga' meaning new clothes). Their nemeses, the Jokoyo, the real men of culture, impugned all this business of education/culture/clothes. The author analyses songs to illustrate the struggle between Jokoyo and JoNanga. Ref.