The Widow, The Will, And Widow-Inheritance In Kampala: Revisiting Victimisation Arguments
Walakira, Margaret Emodu
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Widows are often presented as victims of patriarchal sexual dictates in analyses of widow-inheritance. Our study explored experiences of widowhood in Kampala. Ethnographic fieldwork combined participant observation, semi-structured individual interviews, and focus group discussions. Widows are heterogeneous. Many husbands died intestate. Husbands commonly exclude their wives from will-writing. A Muganda man's last funeral rites include widow-cleansing. Widows get omukuza - levirateguardian. Our data contest overt sexualisation of levirate relationships. Exchange and opportunity cost are crucial to sexualising of processes withinwidowhood. Meanings associated with widowhood are transforming. Rather than a frozen construct, sexuality of widows is changing because of HIV/AIDS, intermarriages, religious synchronisations, recurrent deaths, and poverty. While some widows felt victims of circumstances leading to sexual activities with levirate-guardians, many others challenged sexualising the levirate relationship. A few benefited from sexually engaging with levirate-guardians. Victimisation is only one of many meanings interloped within widowhood.
- Social Sciences