Kenya: In response to the culture of male violence, a village of women

A Women-Only Village Fenced Off From Kenya's Culture Of Male Violence

A Women-Only Village Fenced Off From Kenya’s Culture Of Male Violence

By Simone Kosog, SUDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG/Worldcrunch

UMOJA – In a wooden hut in Archer’s Post, a small settlement in Kenya, three men of the Samburu tribe are drinking tea. The eldest is wrapped in a red-and-white checked cloth; the other two wear shirts and jeans. Nothing much going on, so they are happy to talk.

Question: Why should only men have rights? “Because it’s our tradition. Women are like children; they need to be trained. When they’re untrained, you have to beat them to discipline them.”

There are women who rule entire countries. Are they also children? “These women all have husbands who tell them what to do.” What if a woman beats a man? “Then you have to kill her. If I don’t have my stick, I’ll use my knife.“

Less than two kilometers from here is Umoja, a village of only women. If you want an idea of what it cost the women to build their own separate world, and why they are so happy with the hard lives they live there, you only have to sit down and listen to the kinds of things Wilson, Barasi and Douglas, in the year 2012, say as they drink tea at Archer’s Post. Continue reading