Traditional Marriage Education among the Kipsigis of Kenya with Application to Local Church Ministry in Urban Africa


Cook School of Intercultural Studies

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The Church in urban Africa is seeing an increase in marriages and homes experiencing disruption due to divorce. In a bid to forward discussion on marriage issues, the church has developed material on premarital education. However, much of this material has been adapted from the West. The contribution of an African system to education remains largely unexplored. The purpose of this study is to explore the Kipsigis community's marriage preparation customs with a view to recommend ways they might inform a local church's efforts to develop a more culturally relevant curriculum that includes points of integration. While reintroducing principles on marital instruction from a traditional African culture is an unlikely panacea to marriage and family dysfunction in a contemporary context, the study suggests that from an early age, within the context of God's community, children, youth and adults might learn and value the place of family life. Data collected from in-depth, semi-structured interviews with seven participants in the Kericho District were analyzed using grounded theory procedures of open, axial and selective coding. The study uncovered a cycle of influencers and educators, with the core being family and widening to mentors and the community at large. The context of learning was imbedded in everyday life and moved from unstructured to focused learning as children entered adolescence. The article concludes by suggesting four transferable points of application for integrating principles from traditional culture's practices: 1) intentional community, 2) intergeneration interaction, 3) integrated learning, and 4) carefully chosen mentors.


Kipsigis (African people); Family life education

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Mission Studies: Journal of the International Association for Mission Studies





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