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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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Nothing More Serious

Nothing More Serious

Mortgaging and Struggles over Ancestral Land

(p.160) Chapter 8 Nothing More Serious
Mortgaging the Ancestors

Parker Shipton

Yale University Press

This chapter explores the encounters between claims made to land and positions on land that others associate with their deceased forebears. It looks at the case of Luo, for example, where during Jomo Kenyatta's presidency, loans were directly mainly to the Gikuyu-dominated Central Province, whereas Luo received far fewer than their portion of the population would justify. It looks at the cultural misunderstandings surrounding finance in rural Africa, particularly the misunderstandings behind attempts to use land as loan collateral in places where personal and family identities revolve around lineage settlements and burial sites. It examines public lending in Kenya for farming on collateral security, as well as some of the unhappiness that the mortgaging of homes and farmlands is causing in western Kenya and elsewhere in tropical Africa.

Keywords:   Luo, Jomo Kenyatta, Gikuyu-dominated Central Province, rural Africa, cultural misunderstandings, lineage settlements, burial sites, mortgaging of homes

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