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Mortgaging the AncestorsIdeologies of Attachment in Africa$
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Parker Shipton

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780300116021

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300116021.001.0001

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Birthright and Its Borrowing

Birthright and Its Borrowing

Inheritance and Land Clientage Under Pressure

(p.109) Chapter 5 Birthright and Its Borrowing
Mortgaging the Ancestors

Parker Shipton

Yale University Press

This chapter takes a look at human territoriality within Africa—who claims to belong where in equatorial Africa, for example, depends upon who can trace relationships to whom. It looks at Luo, for instance, wherein it seems that until recent generations, the people of Luo did not particularly value pieces of land, or ancestral traces of them. Instead they treated these in a rather matter-of-fact and utilitarian way. Today, some Luo are now convinced that their people are permanently based in the Nyanza or lake basin, justified by the myth of Mumbo. In 1932, a Luo argued against some land alienations before the Kenya Land Commission. In a sense, land tenure issues played a major part in the participation of Luo in the drive toward independence, through their leaders such as Oginga Odinga and Tom Mboya. Thus this chapter explores the issues and arguments that Luo has undergone for territorial claims.

Keywords:   human territoriality, Luo country, Luo, Nyanza, myth of Mumbo, Kenya Land Commission, land tenure, Oginga Odinga, Tom Mboya

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