Attainment of Adulthood

Adulthood (obukhulundu) is a time of meeting responsibilities to others. For girls it begins with marriage. A married Samia female is addressed as omukhasi, "wife" (also "woman"). However, a wife's early years of marriage are ruled by her mother-in-law; it is not until she has been married for several years and has two or three children that she gets her own kitchen and is considered to be truly adult (omukhasi mudwasi), able to manage her children and make her own decisions about food preparation and her work schedule. Some women today are refusing their mother-in-law's domination by setting up kitchens when they marry or going with their husband to live where he works away from home. When a man marries he is addressed as omusacha, "husband" (also "man"), but he too achieves full adult status through parenthood. Children make him omusacha omukhulundu, an elder of his family and clan. In the past, most women became fully adult in their twenties, men not until their thirties or even forties. Now, with earlier marriage for men and later marriage for women, this is changing. However, though women become socially adult, they remain jural minors and must be represented by male relatives in formal situations such as court cases.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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