Rebellion or Revolution, Masculinities at Crossroads: A study of Henry Ole Kulet’s to Become a Man
This chapter interrogates masculinity in the pristine Kenyan society. Pristine means before the communities in Kenya had any interaction with the Western or Arab world. Hence they were strictly following their cultures which were still uncorrupted or unsullied. It focuses on Henry Ole Kulet’s to Become a Man which depicts the Maasai community in Kenya. The setting of the novel is in the Maasai community during the pre-colonial and colonial period. The paper aims to revisit the early forms of masculinity in the early black Kenyan society before Christianity and colonialism. Such an analysis will help the study give a clear chronological interpretation of masculinity in the Kenyan society from the pre-colonial to the postcolonial period. Key to the chapter is to understand how the pre-colonial and colonial Kenyan black man negotiated his masculinity during these two dispensations. Was there any conflict in the various ideas of masculinities? The two key ideas of masculinity the paper will be analysing are traditional masculinity (indigenous) and masculinity brought by the missionaries. Indigenous (Traditional) masculinity is defined by tribal and group practices. On the other hand, the new version of masculinity is strongly influenced by Christian and western beliefs. This study argues that the latter is in a constant struggle with traditional masculinity for space within the Maasai socio-cultural context. The struggle originates in the clash between traditional, indigenous values and exogenous, western values as a result of colonialism.
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