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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Inheriting Disputes: The Digo Negotiation of Meaning and Power through Land
Author:Ng'weno, Bettina
Year:1997
Periodical:African Economic History
Volume:25
Pages:59-77
Language:English
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:Digo
customary law
family law
land law
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3601879
Abstract:The most striking aspect of Digo property disputes, in Kwale District of southern coastal Kenya, is that they are not disputes about boundaries, chiefdoms, subjects, relocations or settlements, but rather disputes over inheritance. This paper focuses on changes in inheritance of land among the Digo in the early colonial period from 1895 to the 1930s. The author uses the notions of ambivalence and social continuity to understand how land is used to gain control over other people and to define personal and social identities. She shows that disputes in Digo inheritance are not only about land but the people related to the land and control over the symbols of authority over these people. Colonialism and Islam provided alternative structures, symbols and forms of authority for Digo people from the beginning of this century. To show Digo negotiation of these alternative structures of power, the author focuses on conversion to Islam, the demarcating of the Digo reserve, and the 1927 inheritance court case of Ganyuma vs. Mohamed disputing matrilineal inheritance. These events are linked to changes in the colonial administration and changes in Islamic influences in inland societies. Notes, ref.
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