Order of the Homestead and its Boundaries
:The Duruma concept of homestead(mudzi) and sexuality
						Mitsuru Hamamono
						Associate Professor
						Hitotsubashi University
I. Introduction
  In this article I will analyze the symbolic structure of the homestead, and
try to show how it is symbolically bounded, contrasted with the surrounding
'bush', and also to show how the sexual activities of its members must be
regulated in order to maintain this symbolic boundary.

II. Homestead as a sociologically basic unit
(1)Descent system among the Duruma
  Duruma homestead is the most basic unit of the Duruma society, both
sociologically and economically. The Duruma have a system of double unilineal
descent. A man belongs to a certain patrilineal clan(mbari ya kulume, or
ukulume) and a certain matrilineal clan(mbari ya kuche, or ukuche) at the same
  Dispersed matrilineal clans are called ukuche. Ukuche formerly had more
important social functions; inheritance of movables such as cattle and cash was
matrilineal until the 1960's, and in case of homicide it was the ukuche who
functioned in transaction of compensation(kore). Today it still retains its
function concerning kore, but inheritance and succession has long shifted to
patrilineal mode. While matrilineal groups are widely dispersed throughout
Duruma land, each group has its temporary headquarter associated with its
chifudu cult.  Vifudu(sing. chifudu) is a set of pots associated with the names
of matrilineal ancestors. Custodians of vifudu is called bora, who treat
diseases caused by vifudu upon the members of the ukuche. Bora is mainly women,
but there also exist some male bora. Status of bora is only inherited among the
members of the matrilineal clan, who was afflicted by the disease diagnosed as
caused by the chifudu.
  Patrilineal groupings (ukulume) tend to be localized. In the past only land
and agricultural tools, together with bows and other small instruments, were
inherited patrilineally. Today inheritance is wholly patrilineal, including the
movables. There are 14 patrilineal clans (mbari ya kulume) among the Duruma.
They are divided into two groups called mumoto and mumwezi respectively, each
containing seven clans. This division is called murima because one can
cultivate(ku-rima) the land of the different clans of the same group. The
members of the same murima also cooperate in the burial of its fellow member.
Each patrilineal clan (mbari ya kulume) is further divided. These major
segments of a clan are called muyango(which means 'a doorway'). Each muyango
contains several sub-divisions called nyumba(which means 'a house'). Nyumba as
a descent group is a lineage whose depth does not exceed five or six
generations. Nyumba then consists of several independent homestead heads and
their offsprings.

(2)An outline of Duruma homesteads(midzi, sing.mudzi)
  A homestead (mudzi) varies in its size; a smallest homestead may consist of
a man and his wife with their children, while some homestead contain members of
even four generations of a lineage. A typical homestead may consist of a man
and his wives and their married male sons with their wives and childrens. Every
homestead recognizes the authority of the most senior male member called the
head of the homestead (chitswa cha mudzi). When the head of a large homestead
dies, the homestead may break up into smaller independent homesteads each
headed by a son of the deceased. Sometimes, even after the death of their
father, these smaller units may still consider themselves as belonging to the
same homestead called by the name of its former head, recognizing the eldest
among the remaining sons as their chitswa cha mudzi.  Today there seems to be a
tendency that both the size of the homestead gets small, and its generation
depth shallow, particularly in the eastern part of the Duruma land, while in
the western more arid region where cattle husbandry is more economically
important large homesteads are still the general feature.
  Physically a homestead consists of a number of huts(nyumba). Each wife of a
man has her own hut with a cooking hearth(figa). They surround a small plaza
called muhala, with its doorway facing muhala. Adrescent sons are supposed to
build their own huts in or adjacent to this circle of huts, while girls and
small boys sleep with their mothers in the latters' huts. When married, sons
develop their own circles of huts attached to the main circle. A particularly
large muhala of the homestead head may be called rome where all the male
members of the homestead gather and eat food together.
  A homestead is the most basic unit of production and reproduction among the
Duruma. Members of a homestead have common interests to its land and property.
A homestead is in many respects an autonomous unit, and a homestead head can
make decisions concerning its properties by himself, though a more important
decisions, such as permanent land transfer and scheduling of a second
funeral(hanga ivu, which means a 'ripe funeral') of its dead member, must be
decided by a body of elders of the minor lineage(nyumba). Though younger
members of a homestead today have come to enjoy greater freedom both in their
social and economic activities, they are still subject to the authority of the
homestead head who still controls its members and their properties.
  It is not my aim here to analyze its economic and social function. I would
like to concentrate on how the homestead is conceptualized in the Duruma
semantic universe.

III. Internal structure of the homestead(mudzi)
  As I mentioned earlier, the internal structure of a homestead is
hierarchical. But this hierarchy based on seniority among the male members of
the homestead is not intrinsically political in nature.  It is rather symbolic.

(1) Order of house construction
  An example of this hierarchy is manifest in the sequence of building huts in
the homestead.  When a homestead is to move to a new location, the first hut to
be built is that of the homestead head, i.e., the hut of his first wife. Then
the huts of the other wives are to be built in a strict order of seniority.
When this completed, then the huts of the married sons of the homestead start
to be constructed with that of the eldest built first, followed by those of the
other sons in the order of their seniority irrespective of the seniority of
their respective mother. This building order is very strict. If a junior member
should build his hut earlier than his senior, the skipped senior would not be
allowed to join the homestead.  If an elder brother were to build his hut
without proper ritual treatment after one of his younger brother have already
built his hut, the homestead would be 'destroyed'(wabanangb'a) and disastor,
such as its members' death, might follow upon the homestead. Therefore either
the skipped elder brother should never build his hut within the homestead, or a
rectifying ritual should be performed.
  If the skipped elder brother wants to join the homestead, the following is
the necessary ritual procedure. The huts of his younger brothers might be
totally decomposed, or the doorways of their huts be blocked. Now their huts do
not have any doorways. Then the elder brother builds his own hut, whose
completion is marked by a ritual sexual intercouse called matumia; he 'gives
birth to his hut.' Then younger brothers, one by one in order of seniority,
start 'giving birth to his hut'; he opens a new doorway of his hut on the
opposite wall to the former doorway, then he has his hut born by ritual
intercourse with his wife.

(2) marriage order
  The same hierarchical ordering applies to marriage of homestead members. An
elder brother should marry before younger brother. If a younger brother should
marry when his elder brother is still single, the skipped elder brother will
never be able to marry a wife until a special ritual procedure is followed to
rectify the marriage sequence in order. If he brings his wife to the homestead
without taking this necessary procedure, either his wife would die or be
childless. The following is the procedure. First all the wives of younger
brothers must be returned to their natal homesteads, or be gathered within a
single hut and be prevented from contacting their husbands. Then, formerly, all
the fires within the homestead must be extinguished and all the footpaths which
lead to the homestead be blocked. Then the skipped elder brother brings his
future wife, but sexual intercourse with her is still prohibited. The father of
the brothers, who is usually the homestead head, has a ritual sexual
intercourse (called matumia, which I will discuss later) with his first wife.
The following morning a new fire is made with fire sticks. The brothers enter
the homestead through the untreaded path in the bush, one after another in the
order of seniority, and wash themselves with cooling medicine water containing
cool medicine (mihi ya peho). From that evening on, brothers including the
newly wed one start sexual intercourse with their respective wives, one couple
a day in a strict sequence according to their seniority, until the last
youngest couple finishes their turn. Then ,the proper order now being restored,
the homestead returns to its normal state of everyday life.

  It must be noted that the hierarchical order within a homestead are of two
kinds; one is vertical and generational, the other is horizontal among the same
sex siblings. This can be shown in the following diagram. This tree-like image
well accords with the Duruma conceptualization of kinship group. A saying
'Mukale kare tsatsa muvimbe muyu,' which can be translated as 'Let you people
be growing points (of a tree) and cover the baobab with many leaves,' and which
emphasizes the unity and cooperation of the descent group, compares explicitly
the trunk of a tree to the intergenerational axis of a descent group and its
horizontal branching to the intragenerational axis of a descent group, i.e.,
relationship within sibling groups.
		|	@
		|	|	@...
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		@	@	@
		| @	  @	  @
		|	@

  It must also be noted here that this sequencial ordering, the rule of
seniority, is insisted upon only within the homestead. A younger can build his
hut in the homestead before his elder with impunity, if the latter has chosen
not to join the homestead. As far as the latter remains outside the homestead,
no redressing ritual is necessary. The same applies to the marriage.  The
skipped elder brother can marry at any time as far as he does not bring his
wife to the homestead in order to join it. No ritual would be necessary. The
homestead remains normal and intact so long as its acting members are
sequencially ordered in terms of hierarchy.

IV. Disorders from within
(1)Reversal of seniority
  The internal structure of the homestead is hierarchical and sequencial. The
most explicit manifestation of this is, as we have seen, the building order of
huts and marriage sequence, which suggests this order is closely related to the
sexual activities within the homestead. For a hut is the space most closely
associated with sexual activities. It goes without saying that the ordering of
marriage is at the same time the ordering of the sexual activities of the
members. The order of the homestead consists in segregating one another the
sexual activities of its members, and in maintaining its sequencial arrangement
according to seniority. Partial reversal of this sequence, as in the case of a
junior building his hut or marrying before his senior, is itself a threat to
this order, which must be rectified through proper ritual procedures.

(2)Distinction neutralized: maphingani
  Breaking down or mixing up the segregation of sexual activities of its
members is another kind of transgression which threats the order of homestead.
As I argued in the previous report, maphingani is the notion that coressponds
to this kind of transgression. It resembles the Western concept of 'incest'
only superficially. Even where the same sets of relation are prohibited, such
as Mother-Son relation, the underlying conceptual scheme is quite different.
The Duruma say such  sexual relations destroy the homestead (bananga mudzi), or
mixing up the homestead (tsanganya mudzi). Or they say it mixes up Father and
Son (tsanganya mutu na abaye). Note they do not say it mixes up Mother and Son.
Maphingani is the transgression of the relation between the same sex members of
the homestead. It amounts to, in this case, that Father and Son share a common
woman(Mother), breaking down the segregation of the members' sexual activities
that constitute the internal order of the homestead. For more details I would
like to refer to my previous report which exclusively deals with the notion of
  The consequences of maphingani are generally called vitiyo(sing. chitiyo).
Vitiyo manifest in various diseases(sever vomitting and diarrhoea, pains in
joints are some of its main symptoms), in physical deformities, in stillbirths
and death of newly born babies, in continuous bleeding, and so on. Vitiyo can
afflict any member of the homestead and not the culprits alone. In some well
delineated mixing up such as two brothers having intercourse with the same
woman, its affliction may be more limited; when one of them gets injured or
ill, however trivial the nature of his disease may be, he could immediately die
when seen by the other.

(3)Prohibitions during funeral or mourning period(hanga)
  It is convenient here to discuss briefly the transgression of prohibitions
during the first funeral or mourning period which is called 'hanga itsi'
meaning an 'unripe funeral(or mourning)'.  A lot of prohibitions are imposed on
the members of the homestead(plus offsprings of homestead head) during the
period following immediately the death of one of its members. Such everyday
activities as cooking, washing, shaving, laundry and sweeping are all
prohibited for homestead members of the deceased during this period. They must
also not use a bed and must sleep on the ground, women sleeping in and around
the huts and men sleeping outside the homestead site. Especially all the sexual
activities of the homestead members must be suspended during this period.  I
mention this prohibition because its transgression, which is called 'surpassing
the funeral(ku-chira hanga),' receives the same ritual treatment as in the case
of maphingani. Why it is so I will analyze more fully in my final report,
together with the description and analysis of the funeral ritual itself.  Here
it is sufficient to say that during the funeral period following its member's
death the order of the homestead itself is suspended, which must be re-created
after the end of the funeral by ritual sexual intercourse arranged
sequentially. Unregulated sexual activities during this period simply threatens
this re-creation of the orderly homestead.

(4)ritual treatment of the internal disorder of a homestead
  It is now clear that internal disorders of the homestead are either related
to the reversal or confusion of hierarchical separation and sequencing of
sexual activities. Ritual treatments for each of the above mentioned cases are
all subsumed under the same category of 'ritual treatment (uganga)' called
'kuphoryorya.' The Duruma sometimes consider this category of ritual treatment
as belonging to a wider category called 'treatment of cooling (uganga wa
kuphoza)', which I will discuss later.
  The most typical case of kuphoryorya, i.e. the treatment of vitiyo, involves
slaughtering of one or more sheep(up to eight according to the seriousness of
the case). The victim is first dragged round the homestead(in serious cases) or
round the culprits of maphingani, then stabbed alive in the stomach and its
chyme(content of the first stomach) is taken out. Then the victim is put to
death by cutting its throat. In the less serious cases actual slaughtering does
not occur and a piece of dried first stomach of a sheep is the substitute for
chyme. Chyme thus acquired is mixed with water and certain combination of
herbal 'cooling medicine (mihi ya peho)' in a half-cut calabash.  This
medicinal water is then splashed and rubbed over the culprits or is splashed
all over the homestead. After this treatment the homestead head reestablishes
the order of the homestead by means of ritual sexual intercourse called

(5)Various forms of sexual activities
  Sexual activities of the members are perceived, in Duruma thoughts, as
closely related to the internal order of the homestead. The only 'legitimate'
form of sexual relations among the Duruma is the one between a married couple.
Within a homestead they must be carefully separated from one another and
arranged into a hierarchical sequencial order which is established by
regulating the sequence of marriage within the homestead. We might even say
that they constitute the very internal order of the homestead.  Maphingani, or
more accurately any sexual intercourse which causes maphingani, is the
antithesis of this legitimate form of sexual relation, in that it mixes up and
destroys the very distinction which is the basis of the internal order of the
  However other forms of sexual relations, which are all designated by a
single term 'sleeping outside (ku-lala konze),' are not so directly related to
the internal order of the homestead. They are extramarital sexual relations.
Partners of such unions are called 'a wife of the outside (muche wa konze)' or
'a wife of the bush (muche wa weruni)' in the case of women, 'a husband of
outside(mulume wa konze)' or 'a husband of the bush(mulume wa weruni) in the
case of men.
  Though it is certainly not a recommended form of sexual relation, 'sleeping
outside' itself is neither intrinsically good nor evil. Among the unmarried
young it is a recognized prelude to the marriage. Even among the married, where
it can cause a scandal and a severe dispute, it is never the object of severe
moral criticism.  Moreover 'sleeping outside' is the form of sexual relations
that are most closely associated with the joyous and entertaining aspects of
sexuality, while 'legitimate' sexual relation between a married couple
sometimes involves a slight sense of obligation.
  Nevertheless 'sleeping outside' can sometimes put the homestead in mystical
danger.  Firstly it may result in maphingani; if two brothers or a father and
his son happen to sleep with the same 'wife of the bush', it would be a typical
though not very serious case of maphingani. Moreover if a husband sleeps with a
'wife of the bush' while one of his wives are pregnant, it would result in a
birth of an abnormal weak baby.  If either a husband or his wife commit
'sleeping outside' while they have a new born baby who is still breast fed, the
result may be disastorous; the baby becomes abnormally thin and weak and even
may die. Such abnormality of a baby is called 'kirwa', and the baby is said to
'have been surpassed (wakirwa).'  Therefore though this form of extramarital
relations are not as antithetical to the order of the homestead as is
maphingani, it nevertheless can be a danger to the married members of the
homestead. I assume that the danger of 'sleeping outside' is related to the
danger of boundary transgression; intrusion of the outside=bush into the
homestead, which I will discuss in a short while.
  Finally there exist still another form of sexual relations which I have so
far only mentioned; the ritual sexual intercourse called matumia.  This ritual
intercourse is directly related to both the internal order of a homestead and
its external boundary.  I will discuss it later.

V. Homestead as a bounded entity
  I have so far argued that a Duruma homestead is conceptually constructed as
an entity with internal structure of hierarchical ordering and that this order
is closelly associated with the sexual activities of its members arranged on
this hierarchical basis. Now I discuss its external boundary.

(1)homestead/bush opposition
  Though the physical space of a homestead does not have a very clear boundary,
a homestead is conceptually a well bounded entity opposed to the surrounding
outer space.  Conceptually a homestead, an orderly world, is opposed to the
bush, which is regarded as the realm of disorder or chaos.
  Things and activities whose proper sphere is the bush are rigidly separated
those which belong to the realm of the homestead. Intrusion of the former into
the latter is intrinsically dangerous. Intrusion of bush animals into the
homestead is itself a bad sign predicting successive death of its members. The
opposition between the homestead and the bush is reflected upon people's
perception of a certain kind of anomalous or ambiguous animals.  Take only one
example of dogs. Many Duruma keep dogs but regard them as a very, even the
most, dirty animal. In a Duruma folktale, a dog was formerly the brother of a
hiena and lived in the bush with his brother. One day they quarreled and part
with each other, the dog choosing to live in the homestead, while the hiena
choosing to remain in the bush. From then on the hiena attacks the homestead
and the dog tries to protect the homestead from his former brother's attack.
According to this tale, a dog is intrinsically an ambiguous animal who belongs
to the homestead at the same time has its identity as a bush animal.  As Leach
and Douglas formulated, things and beings who occupy the ambiguous place
between two cosmological categories tend to be regarded either as a being
endowed with supernatural power or as a dirty creature(Leach,E.,1964,
  The nature of danger which may accompany 'sleeping outside' may well be
understood in this perspective. 'Sleeping outside', by its very name, is the
activity which belongs to the bush. It is rigidly separated from the sex within
the homestead, and thus safely conducted, in normal situations. But if it is
done in the moment when the order of the homestead is still in a fragile
condition such as when accepting its new but not fully established member(a
baby) or when losing one of its member(during funeral period), it can
dangerously intrude into the homestead and put it in danger.

(2)ritual of cooling the homestead(uganga wa kuphoza mudzi); the case of a fire
  Conceptual boundedness of a homestead is most clearly seen in cases of
disastor diagnozed as indicating the intrusion of external disorder. Such
disaster is generally designated as 'chera' or 'mvanga.' This category include
following misfortunes or accidents; one of its members being killed or injured
with a knife(the primary meaning of 'chera' is cutlery in general), by falling
from a tree, by being hit by a car, and so on; one of its members being put
into jail; a hut being burnt in a fire; death due to 'bad illness (ukongo
uii)'; one of its members committing murder or killing a large animal of the
bush. These incidents require a ritual procedure called 'cooling the
homestead(ku-phoza mudzi).' Without being cooled down by this ritual, the
homestead would be revisited repeatedly by the same incident or disastor.
  At first sight these disastors have nothing to do with the homestead/bush
distinction.  But a close look into the ritual procedure which is aimed at
curing such situation, that this is the case will become clear. Let me take an
example of a fire.
  When a hut is burnt down by a fire, a medicine man is called for on the very
day and he 'cools down the homestead (ku-phoza mudzi).'  The medicine man first
prepares medicinal water by mixing various 'cooling medicines (mihi ya peho)'
and a dried piece of the first stomach of a sheep(chipigatutu cha ng'onzi) in
water. While doing this he repeatedly spells over the medicinal water. A black
hen is slaughtered and its blood is added to the medicinal mixture. He splashes
the medicinal water all over the site of the burnt hut, over the pile of partly
burnt logs and utensils, over the owner of the hut and his wife together with
their children. This being done, the owner of the hut can now dispose of those
remains of the hut and half-burnt utensils, throwing them away. If he did this
before the ritual treatment of cooling, it is said that the fire(moho) would
run away into the bush and would later return to the homestead to burn another
hut. The ritual treatment 'confines (ku-funga)' the fire on the very spot.
  In the spelling the medicine man makes during preparation of the medicinal
water, he states repeatedly that the fire belongs to the bush and that it
should remain there. He also refers to the incident of the fire as 'chitiyo cha
moho', which reminds us of the notion of maphingani.  It shows the incident of
the fire is here considered to indicate internal disorder of the homestead.
  After this treatment, the medicine man instructs the owner of the hut some
regulations to be followed before he builds his new hut. On the night of the
treatment the owner and his wife should sleep on the ground of the site of the
burnt hut, where they should make ritual intercourse called matumia. He can now
start building his new hut. But it should be built on the same spot where the
burnt hut was, using the same pillar holes. Otherwise the fire would escape and
burn the new hut again.
  It seems now clear that the basic idea underlying the notion of these
accidental disastor, chera or mvanga, is that of internal disorder of the
homestead caused by the intrusion of things of the bush, i.e., external chaos.
The homestead is a bounded entity whose boundary separates its internal order
against the disorderly outside, bush. If this boundary breaks down, disorder
enters the homestead bringing about disastor.  Though the Duruma never say that
the homestead in the disorderly condition is 'hot,' this is implied by the very
name of the ritual treatment of such situations, 'cooling down the homestead.'
In my final report I will discuss this in more details by covering the other
instances of chera and mvanga.

(3)Internal and External danger to the homestead and its remedies
  A Duruma homestead is conceptualized as an entity or the realm externally
bounded and separated from the surrounding 'bush', while internally organized
hierarchically on the principle of seniority. It is an orderly world quite
contrasted with the disorderly world of the bush. Its order manifests itself in
the regularized and regulated sexual activities within it which are arranged
hierarchically and separated with one another.
  This orderly world of a homestead faces two kind of danger, one coming from
within, the other from outside; maphinagni and chera respectively. Both bring
into the homestead disorder which must be remedied through ritual means;
kuphoryorya and kuphoza mudzi. As is shown in the fact that the former is
sometimes considered to be a sub-category of the latter, these two ritual means
are not unrelated. Though each ritual treatment differs in its procedure and
uses different sets of medicines, both rely on the same category of medicine,
i.e., 'cooling medicine (mihi ya peho)' for its main ingredients and both
utilize a bodypart of a sheep, which is also considered to be a 'cool' animal.
Both ritual treatments equally aim at transforming the 'hot' disorderly state
of the homestead into the 'cool' orderly state. Difference lies in the fact
that while the main objective of kuphoryorya is to set internal hierarchy in
order, kuphoza mudzi tries to reestablish the external boundary of the
homestead by blocking boundary transgressison in either direction. However
neither treatment is complete by itself. Both must be accompanied and followed
by the ritual sexual intercourse, matumia, which I have repeatedly mentioned.
I will now turn to this particular form of sexual relation.

VI. Matumia; ritual intercourse
(1)matumia and its rules
  Among the Duruma there is known a very special form of sexual intercourse
called matumia which I have tentatively translated as ritual sexual
intercourse. The act of doing this form of intercourse, 'kuusa matumia', is
variously referred to metaphorically as 'giving birth (ku-vyala),' 'to create
or to compose(ku-tungiya)' and so on.
  Matumia has some peculiar regulations; it must be done on the ground without
using a bed, and sometimes even in the bush; you must not utter a word
throughout to the end; you must not use hands when copulating; you must do it
quickly and you must not ejaculate more than once.  Actual performances of
matumia may be a compromise with the circumstances. For example except for some
very marked occasions, it is often done on a bed inside a hut. Nevertheless
bundle of these peculiar regulations justifies enough to call this act ritual.
  Occasions which require matumia are quite many and diverse. Many of them
seem to have nothing to do with misfortunes or disastors as what I have
described so far suggest.  Let me briefly describe some of these occasions.

(2)Some typical occasions of matumia; matumia as giving birth
  There are a number of occasions where the act of matumia is metaphorically
referred as 'giving birth (kuvyala)'. Matumia is considered to be a kind of
inaugurating act for some project.
(2-1)'giving birth to a homestead (ku-vyala mudzi)
  When a homestead is to be moved to a new site, the homestead head and his
first wife go to the would-be future homestead site and spend the day there. In
that evening they sleep on the ground 'with their back facing each other', that
is, without having sexual intercourse. Next morning they look for some
omens(ku-heza nyuni) to know if the spot is auspitious for building a new
homestead. If it has proved auspitious, they spend another day there, and in
the evening they conduct matumia on the ground. They will start cutting trees
the next morning joined by other members of the homestead.  This matumia is
called matumia of 'giving birth to a homestead.'
(2-2)'giving birth to a garden (ku-vyala munda)'
  When a homestead head clears a new communal garden, he and his first wife
go to the garden site in the bush and start cutting tree. In that evening he
and his first wife abstain from doing intercourse.  The next day, after
completing the day's work of cutting tree, they conduct matumia. This may be
done on the ground in the bush they are clearing, or may be done in the hut.
This being done, other wives join the work.  This matumia is called 'matumia of
giving birth to a garden.'
(2-3)'giving birth to property or bridewealth (ku-vyala mari)'
  When one's daughter is betrothed and the first part of bride wealth (one
female goat and its kid called 'goats of the center pillar(mbuzi ya
mulongohini)') arrives, these goats are tied to the center pillar(mulongohi) of
the hut of the daughter's parents. That night the parents sleep 'with their
back facing each other'. The next evening they sleep on the ground by the
center pillar and conduct matumia. If they fail to do this, herds received as
bridewealth would die away and their daughter would be childless. This matumia
is called 'matumia of giving birth to bridewealth (matumia ga kuvyala mari).'
  Or when one purchased an animal, before it is put into one's herd, the
animal is kept alone one night.  That night the owner and his first wife sleep
'with their back facing each other.' The next evening they conduct matumia.
Otherwise the herd would diminish or even die out.  This matumia is also called
'matumia ga kuvyala mari.' In this case it means matumia of giving birth to
  The same applies when one's son brought back his earnings. The same
procedure is followed, and it is called 'matumia of giving birth to money.'
(2-4)'giving birth to a wife' and 'giving birth to a child'
  When a homestead head marries an additional wife and brings her to his
homestead, he cannot sleep with her that day. He must sleep with his first wife
without intercouse that night. Next night he sleeps with his first wife again
and conduct matumia. He must go through with every other wives of his, one each
day in the order of seniority. All this done, he can now sleep with his new
wife in his homestead.  This matumia is called 'matumia of giving birth to a
  Similarly when one's son marries a wife and brings her to the homestead,
matumia must be conducted by his father and his first wife before the son can
sleep with his wife.  This matumia is called 'matumia of giving birth to a

  All these matumia seem to have nothing to do with misfortunes or disastor.
However these occasions for matumia, though at a first glance they varies
without any principle, have one feature in common. They all indicate those
situations of incorporation where things and beings outside the homestead are
to be either incorporated into the homestead or transformed into the things and
beings of the homestead; bush space transformed into the new homestead site or
gardens, property originating from outside the homestead incorporated, people
outside the homestead changed into members of the homestead. All these matumia
also share the same syntagmatic structure; (1)the introduction of what belongs
to the outside into the homestead followed by(2)the suspension of sexual
activity (even if it is only one night) followed by(3)matumia.  This shows very
clearly how the sexual activities within the homestead is correlated with the
symbolic boundary maintenance of the homestead. For the purpose of the
incorporation of things outside, the symbolic barrier or boundary which
separate the homestead from the outside must be lifted at least temporarily,
then it must be established again. These two moments clearly correspond with
the one night suspension of sexual behaiour and the followind day's matumia.

(3)matumia as an act of enclosure
  A large numbers of matumia are performed more personally on occasions which
do not concern the homestead as a whole.  Such matumia seem to be related more
to the establishment of one's monopoly over some goods and indirectly to the
internal hierarchy of the homestead than to the boundary of the homestead as a
  Let me cite here only a few cases. I witnessed a case of a man who stole a
wooden pole, which his elder brother had obtained in order to use it later for
building his hut, and used it as a center pillar of his own hut.  When the
elder brother realized this and came to claim it back, the man replied that he
had already 'composed it', which meant he had already conducted ritual sexual
intercourse with his wife. This was enough for the aggrieved brother to resign.
If, despite of this, he gets back the pole and uses it for himself, he might
even die.
  If an unmarried man builds a hut and sleeps with a girl in it, and later
marries another girl, the latter could die or be childless. For he has already
'composed the house' with his former lover. For his marriage to be fruitful,
the doorway of the hut should first be blocked and a new doorway should be
opened on the opposite side of the hut, and then he should 'compose the hut'
with his new wife.
  This kind of matumia does not seem to be preceded by the suspension of
sexual activity. Its sole function is to establish one's private sphere within
the homestead.  These minor casese clearly show that matumia itself is the act
of enclosure or boundary making.  And this is also related to the internal
hierarchy of the homestead. Internal hierarchy of the homestead is, after all,
established by demarcating each member's sphere within the homestead, which
itself is the most inclusive sphere of all.

(4)matumia of throwing bad things away
  Matumia occasion of quite another kind is that of the death. On the day
after the last day of the funeral (or mourning) period, whose length varies
according to different patrilineal clans and during which various prohibitions
and regulations inculuding the ban on sexual activities are imposed on the
members of the homestead of the deceased, people of the homestead make a
procession to the river where they wash themselves. This marks the lifting of
the bans on everyday activities; washing, laundry, cooking and so on.  The
whole homestead is 'cooled down' by a ritual specialist, lest the sharing of
sleeping mats among the homestead members during the funeral, which in ordinary
settings might be regarded as maphingani, should leave its bad effects. All the
rubbish that has accumulated during the period and the other remains like the
leftover of food and firewood are gathered at one place, and are set on fire.
That evening matumia is to be conducted. This matumia is called 'matumia of
throwing away death (matumia ga kutsupha chifo).'
  Matumia of this occasion is the one whose regulations are most strictly
adhered to as far as circumstances permit. It should be conducted not only on
the ground but also in the bush under a certain special tree(mukone), without
uttering a word, without using hands, quickly, ejaculation only once. This
being done, one must wash the lower part of one's body (especially genitals)
with special medicine water contained in a half-cut calabash, which must then
be trampled into pieces. When returning to the homestead one must not look
back. The most peculiar feature of this matumia is the fact that the partner of
the intercourse must be a stranger, possibly from another tribe.
  If the dead is a homestead head, it is all of his widows who must conduct
matumia that night. They are told to go to a certain place in the bush and to
wait there lying on the ground. A young stranger is chosen by the elders and he
makes intercourse with each of the widows. If the dead is a married woman, her
husband has the obligation of doing matumia. Even if he has another wife, he
cannot perform this matumia with her. The partner should be a stranger. When no
such partner is available nearby he can postpone it until he goes to Mombasa to
buy a prostitute for that purpose. If the dead is a dependent of the homestead,
it is its father who should conduct matumia with a stranger woman, though these
days this rule is not strictly obeyed and its father more often chooses his
wife as a partner.
  This matumia marks the lifting of the ban on the sexual activities within
the homestead.  But not so immediately. The next evening the next most senior
member of the homestead and his wife can resume their sexual relation. Only one
couple can resume their relations each day according to seniority.  A junior
member must wait for his turn until all his seniors have finished their turns.
This completed, the internal hierarchical ordering within the homestead has now
been re-established.
  Though 'matumia of throwing away death' has many features in common with
other matumia, in more apparent ways it is contrastive with them.  It follows
the same sintagmatic sequence; it is preceeded by a period of suspended
sexuality, which matumia puts to an end. But unlike the other types of matumia,
the occasion is neither that of incorporation nor enclosure. Its very name
suggests it is the occasion of expulsion, removal, rejection, of death.
Required participation of a stranger and the insistence on it being done
outside the homestead contrast this matumia with others.
  Nevertheless it should be realized that both incorporation and exclusion are
the two faces of the same coin. They are both an operation on the boundary, or
rather a creation of the boundary itself.  The act of demarcating the boundary
is, seen from positive perspectives, to incorporate something in its enclosure,
but at the same time, seen from negative perspectives, it is to exclude
something out of it. Thus it is the very inaugurating act of founding the order
against disorder. It has now become clear that the act of matumia, a ritual
sexual intercourse, is this symbolic boundary demarcation itself.
  The double meaning of boundary-making, i.e., matumia, is most clearly seen
in the cases of matumia which follows the ritual treatment of 'cooling the
homestead (uganga wa kuphoza mudzi)', which I discussed in the previous section
V..  Here matumia plays this double role; it is the act of re-establishing the
order of the homestead as well as that of throwing away the disorder which has
threatened the homestead in the form of various misfortunes.

VII. Conclusion: Sexuality and the Symbolic order of the homestead
  In Duruma semantic universe the symbolic order of the homestead, as
conseptualized as externally a bounded entity opposed to the disorder of the
bush and internally an entity with hierarchical arrangement of its components,
is closely connected with the ideas of sexuality.
  Four types of different mode of sexuality are distinguished; 'legitimate'
matrimonial relations, extramarital relations of 'sleeping outside', forbidden
incestuous maphingani, and finally, ritual sexual intercouse of matumia. The
first, as mutually separated and aranged hierarchically within a homestead,
constitutes the very symbolic order of the homestead. It is legitimate but at
the same time obliging. The second that belongs to the bush and associated with
purely free and joyous aspects of sexuality is in itself outside this order. It
is dangerous only when it intrudes the realm of the homestead in its weakest
moments. The third is the antithesis of the homestead order in that it confuses
the very distinction and separation of sexual relations which constitutes that
order. Finally the fourth ritual form of sexuality is the very act of providing
the foundation of that order, i.e., demarcation of the realm of order from
  All four types of sexuality are related to one another in a complex
relations of similarlity and oppositions. Again matumia occupies the most
peculiar position. Its muteness (one must not utter a word) opposes it to the
disorderly noisiness of the bush. Its curtness (must be done quickly without
using hands and with a single ejaculation) opposes it to the form of sexuality
which aim at the sensual satisfaction most characteristic of 'sleeping
outside'. On the other hand its association with the ground puts it in the
realm of the bush. For as I showed in another work, upper-lower opposition in
Duruma semantics is analogous to order-disorder and homestead-bush opposition
(Hamamoto 1992). Therefore it shares with 'sleeping outside' the feature of
externalaity, while at the same time it is antithetical to the latter. All such
relationships among the four types can be shown in the following scheme based
on Greimas' semantic square (Greimas 1970).

internal to	matrimonial relations ------------- maphingani
homestead	 maintaining Order			destruction of Order
		 indifference to joy			overindulgence to joy

						(privative opposition)

external to	matumia		------------------- sleep outside
homestead	 creating Order				indifference to Order
		 negation of joy			affirmation of joy

		affirmation of			    negation of
		Order				    Order

  As Greimas explains, when one semantic unit is negated in two different
ways --one contradictory and the other privative--, the resulting system of
opposition must consist of four terms instead of three. Maphingani and
'sleeping outside' are without doubt two different ways of negating the
matrimonial relations within the homestead. Therefore according to Greimas'
semantic theory, it is not surprising to find the fourth term of opposition,
which matumia fills. This forth term will be the product of semantic (not
logical) operation of double negation i.e., 'negation of negation'. One needs
not appeal to the Hegerian notion of dialectics in order to realize that Duruma
concept of matumia is a cultural synthesis in their own dialectics of Order and

References cited
Douglas,M.,1966, Purity and Danger, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul
Greimas,A.J., & F.Rastier,1970, 'Les Jeux des Constraintes semiotiques,'
	In Greimas,A.J., Du Sens,Paris: Seuil
Hamamoto,M.,1992,'The Possessing Spirits as Children: Duruma Ritual of
	 "taking out a gourd-child",' Afurika Kenkyu Vol.41:1-22
Leach,E,R.,1964, 'Anthroplogical Aspects of Language:Animal Categories and
	Verbal Abuse,' In W.A.Lessa & E.V.Vogt(eds.), Reader in Comparative
	Religion:An Anthroplogical Approach(third edition) ,pp.206-220.

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