The Maragoli community in Kenya is the setting of this book. The first part of this book concentrates on the general social, economic, and political changes brought about in Maragoli as the missionaries and colonialists interacted with Maragoli men and women (and particularly widows). The second part takes on the topic of widowhood in greater detail by describing the ways in which widows and their families interacted with each other, the members of their communities, the missionaries, and the colonialists. It specifically explores a strategy called kehenda mwoyo, or “worries of the heart,” used by widows to get help from male members of their families and communities. The last part focuses on the years immediately after Kenya gained independence and investigates the ways in which widows increasingly turned to a new language of citizenship to demand their rights.
Keywords: Maragoli, Kenya, widows, widowhood, missionaries, colonialists, worries of the heart, citizenship, rights