Fatime H Otha
Kenya's music is as varied as the East African country's ethnic groups, regional languages, cultural beliefs and Food Culture. One of the strongest cultural practices that for the longest has held people together while giving identity has been music. Music can move people. And because it can move them deeply, members of communities around the world use music to create cultural identity and to erase the cultural identity of others, to create unity and to dissolve it.
We meet Fatime In a routine cultural music group doing the thing she likes most of getting involved in a music group. She tells us her story.
She is 45 years old and was married to her husband and blessed with three kids. She was only able to give birth to girls which according to their cultural beliefs depicts a bad omen and this forced the husband to leave her with the kids. She recounts that she went to school until she got to grade seven and as a result of the cultural beliefs, her father married her off to her former husband since it is a common practise in the community.
Upon leaving the first marriage she was married to another man as a fourth wife where she encountered another set of challenges. Where even the husband did not love her as well. She struggled to raise her kids by getting into women's savings and credit groups where the husband also would only want to use her.
Her kids got married at a young age with the first one getting married at the age of twelve years, the second one at the age of fifteen and the youngest at the age of sixteen. It is the challenges within the community that has led the girls to get married off at a young age. And with the challenges she has opted to take the grandchildren and stay with them since she does not want her grandchildren to go through what she went through. As a single parent she has been able to build a single room and a nylon shanty where she cooks for the extended family.
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