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Akinyinyo ceremony near to Nadoto

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posted on 2023-11-30, 18:56 authored by Samuel DerbyshireSamuel Derbyshire
Louren Engatuny undergoes the akinyonyo ceremony at her new marital home. This ceremony takes place at the juncture between childhood and adulthood, serving to incorporate her into the life and customs of her husband's family and clan/brand. The father of her new husband sets off to collect grass, which he brings back to the household in preparation for the ceremony. Louren then sits on a cow skin (ejemu) in front of a house while the women in her new husband’s family remove her ngakoroumwa neck beads (leaving her with a small number).Some old ngakoroumwa beads are added to what she is left with, given by the women in her new husband's family, along with an alagama metal torc, reflecting that she is now a wife. Red ochre (emunyen) is applied to her head and hair, she is given an abwo skin to wear, for the first time in her life, and she is then pulled to her feet in a manner very similar to that which sees an initiate raised during the Asapan ceremony. The grass collected by her husband’s father is placed around her neck. Louren then sets off to collect water, due to the long distance to the nearest water source, a jerrycan of water has been placed near to the home. Water is placed in a conical wooden container (an elepit) and then knocked off her head four times by women and girls in her new husband’s family. She then carries an amount of water back to her new marital home in an aluminum sufuria container. The water she has collected is decanted by the women of her new marital home. Once back at the home, her hair is braided. A new coat of red ochre is applied to her head, hair, and shoulders, with oil from an ebur container. and she sets off to collect wood for the home. Having done this, the other women in her new husband’s family come to take portions of this wood back to their respective houses.


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Samuel Frederick Derbyshire

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Ekapwan Esinyen, Ikaru Lokeke, Hellen Elar Ikaru, Veronica Kamate, Louren Engatuny, Margaret Ateit Lorukia




Nakwaapoo, Turkana


Neck beads (ngakoroumwa), metal torc (alagama), red ochre (emunyen), cow skin (ejemu), conical wooden container for milking livestock (elepit), milk storage and souring container (akurum)

Social group setting





The Akinyonyo ceremony, like all customs and rituals in Turkana, is fluid both in terms of its broader implications and the social and material components of its performance. It has definitely transformed in a number of subtle ways over the last century. Emeri Lowasa sets out her memory of her own Akinyonyo, which took place many decades ago, in an interview conducted at her home and included in this archive (2019LG-02-I003-0001). Several notable differences are clear between her recollections and this ceremony, including the absence of any clay pot in Louren's Akinyonyo. Some of the major features of the ceremony nevertheless endure, including the distribution of wealth from the newly married woman (and by extention, from her family) to the family of her new husband, which takes place via the dispersal of her ngakoroumwa neck beads.

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