Traditional Marriage in Gusii (Enyangi y’Ebitinge), published posthumously, documents the process of old-style marriage in Gusii and related steps, culminating in a wedding ceremony. The process was meticulous and made of a series of steps, each with a very clear purpose and intended not just for the couple but also their families and clans.
Abagusii attached a lot of value to marriage. It was a major landmark in the ‘growing up’ of a man or woman in that society. Marriage marked the transition from the care of one’s parents to being independent and taking care of oneself and one’s family. That transition was possible only after marriage.
The importance of marriage and the honour it was accorded is underlined by the respect that was given to a married woman. For example, if she found herself late in getting home, someone had an obligation to ensure that she got to her home safely; after all, she was a mother and her progeny would be the link to the future.
The book is a flashback to when family and relationships were valued and were at the core of order and success in society. It is especially informative today, especially when modern generations do not appear to associate as much importance to wedlock as it was in the past.