Sunday, May 19, 2024

Why Luo men had to cane their dead wives before burial

The rich African culture continues to fade off due to modernization taking over the continent.

With westernization, a number of cultural practices by various ethnic communities have been dropped, as religion gain traction.

Religion has either rendered some of these cultural practices outdated, evil and anti-development.

One such practice is the caning of the dead.

Sign of love

According to the Secretary of the Luo Council of Elders Mzee Adera Osawa, men would cane their dead wives as a sign of love.

Osawa says this would only happen if the wife dies before having been beaten by the husband.

“In our traditional marriage, caning a wife was a critical aspect of showing love to her,” said Osawa.

He says the man would find a reason to cane the wife, or the wife would do something to motivate the husband to cane her.

And the wives would feel not loved without this.

“Remember this was caning to discipline, and not the kind of battering we witness today,” said Osawa.

Repercussions for failing to cane

And the repercussions for failing to cane your wife while she is alive would be dire.

According to Osawa, the husband would have to cane the corpse of his wife.

“If this is not done, the man would not be expected to cane another wife should he remarry, as this would lead to automatic death of the subsequent wives,” said Osawa.

Today, caning a wife has attracted strong names such as wife battering, assault, molestation, gender-based violence which makes it criminal.

Osawa however notes that with the modernization, people have fast embraced religion which is the base of many laws which govern communities.

“I do not know if there are some people practicing this culture, but it was a practice which meant well for marriages,” he adds.

Kevine Omollo
Lake Region Bulletin is your one stop multi-media platform for news from Lake Region Counties of Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Vihiga, Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, Nandi, Kericho and Bomet. Email:

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