International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

A Gender Analysis of the Influence of Colonial Policies on Access to Land and Agricultural Technology among the Nandi in Kenya, 1895-1954
Prisca J. Tanui

This paper examines the agricultural practices in pre-colonial Nandi in relation to the gender question. Specifically, the paper explores and highlights the gender differences in access to agricultural resources and control over them. It examines the historical changes in Nandi’s economic, political and social institutions and demonstrates how these affected production relations. In particular it looks at gender access to land, division of labour, and technology development and how these affected production. The establishment of colonial rule in the region is also examined in this paper. This, in a way, facilitates the analysis of the effects of British conquest on Nandi pre-colonial gender relations in agriculture. The impact of land alienation, forced labour and new technology is examined and so are their influence on gender relations of production and agricultural production in Nandi. The paper is an outcome of a study that used oral data collected in the field, archival material in Kenya National Archives and secondary data, mostly books and journals on the subject from various libraries. The main findings were that political, social and ideological factors interacted in a complex manner and over time influenced gender access to land, control over labour and, technology. Gender relations are essentially perceived as a notion of inequitable power relations. In the Nandi society, women had less power than men. Consequently, they were unable to control most of the agricultural resources. The strict control over women’s access to resources in Nandi was frustrating to some women. Alternatives did exist for strong-minded women who sought to evade the strict control over access to resources. Some of these activities included running away from their marriage to urban centres, engaging in woman to woman marriage, and also engaging in income generating activities without informing their husbands.

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