Kilenge - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Some traditional marriage practices like Brideprice persist, while others, such as polygyny and arranged marriages, are things of the past. Today, individuals choose their own partners, and they mark their marriages by Brideprice payment, sanctification in the church, or both. Kilenge elders frown on simple cohabitation and forbid marriage within the naulum kuria. Bride-price payments consist of traditional valuables such as Siassi bowls and pigs, as well as cash. Payments are negotiated by the groom's father, gathered from the groom's parents' kindreds, and distributed by the bride's parents to their kindreds. Debts incurred by Brideprice contributions enmesh young men in the local prestige exchange system. Upon either the bride-price payment or church wedding, the couple set up their own household. Virilocal residence is the statistical norm, but uxorilocal Residence is common and accepted. Divorce rarely occurs: the Kilenge are Catholic, and they find it virtually impossible to reconstruct and return dispersed bride-price payments, even in the face of continued domestic violence.

Domestic Unit. The nuclear family household is the most common domestic unit, providing most labor needed for daily activities. Childless couples usually adopt one or more children for companionship and help with work. Elderly Individuals, even those with limited physical capacity, take pride in maintaining their own households.

Inheritance. The eldest child inherits titles and statuses, contingent on his or her abilities. Children inherit traditional valuables and fixed resources (such as coconut trees) from their parents. People gain rights to land from their naulum membership. Adopted children may inherit material items and gain land rights through both their natal and adoptive families.

Socialization. The nuclear family is the main unit of Socialization of children. Relatives and neighbors also participate in the process. Responsibility for proper initiation rests with parents or their elder siblings. Today, the government school acts as a major agent of socialization. In the past, the period of seclusion associated with initiation during puberty (circumcision for boys and ceremonial dressing for girls) provided time for intense indoctrination into Kilenge lore. Now, such seclusion would interfere with schooling, and Ceremonial initiation occurs at a much younger age.

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