Gender and Religion

The Samburu "God" (Nkai) is associated with all of the forces of the world, especially the procreative. The word is itself feminine, as are many (though not all) of Nkai's metaphorical associations. A few people claim to have been taken to Nkai's home, and in these cases Nkai is described as a family with men, women, and children. Men and women both participate significantly in religious life. Men and women have interdependent roles in major ceremonies, with women singing prayers and praises, while men perform most blessings. Both men and women pray to Nkai daily, asking for protection, human and animal fertility, and the rain and grass necessary for survival.

In the event of misfortune Samburu may contact religious specialists (loibonok) who regularly divine Nkai's intentions and desires, or wise men and women (laen'geni) who can make suggestions based on their deep historical knowledge. Loibonok are men, but Nkai may choose to communicate with members of any age-gender category. Some women in particular have gained a widespread reputation for communicating with Nkai (Straight, 1997).

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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