Death and Human Sexuality among the Precolonial Bukusu Community of Western Kenya. c. 1895

This paper was extracted from a Doctor of Philosophy Degree (History) Thesis that was submitted to Graduate School of Laikipia University, Kenya in March 2023. The overall objective of the research was to interrogate mortuary and funerary practices among the Bukusu of Western Kenya in a historical perspective and it was contended that death rituals in this community play significant role of aiding the transformation of individuals from the earthly life to immortal state. In this paper, the inalienability of death and human sexuality has been argued from a miraculous perspective of transmitting life through sexual intercourse and the transformation of the same life to immortality through death. In other words, death in itself is not an end to the earthly life but rather a stage at which the said earthly life was transformed into immortal nature that was expected to last forever. Arising from the above foregoing, the Bukusu people were very cautious when handling death and human sexuality and for this reason, they developed important death rituals that guided sexual affairs upon the occurrence of death.

Keywords: Sex and gender, Sexual Abstinence, Sexual intercourse, Immortal, Transformation