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«By Johnson Ng’ang’a Mbugua A Dissertation Submitted for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Theology at the South African Theological Seminary ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

A STUDY TO FORMULATE A MODEL FOR AGIKUYU CHRISTIAN FUNERAL

RITES THAT WOULD INTEGRATE RELEVANT CULTURAL, SCRIPTURAL AND

PRACTICAL NORMS

By

Johnson Ng’ang’a Mbugua

A Dissertation Submitted for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in

Theology

at the

South African Theological Seminary

AUGUST, 2014

Supervisor: Dr Kevin Gary Smith DLitt; PhD

A STUDY TO FORMULATE A MODEL FOR AGIKUYU CHRISTIAN FUNERAL

RITES THAT WOULD INTEGRATE RELEVANT CULTURAL, SCRIPTURAL AND

PRACTICAL NORMS

by Johnson Ng’ang’a Mbugua In accordance with the South African Theological Seminary policies, this dissertation is accepted in fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Theology Committee Members Date The opinions expressed in this dissertation do not necessarily reflect the views of the South African Theological Seminary.

DECLARATION

I hereby acknowledge that the work contained in this dissertation is my own original work and has not previously in its entirety or in part been submitted to any academic institution for degree purposes.

___________________________

JOHNSON NG’ANG’A MBUGUA

KIKUYU TOWN

KIAMBU COUNTY

KENYA AUGUST, 2014

ABSTRACT

As far as can be ascertained, no one has undertaken an in-depth study with respect to formulating a model for Agikuyu Christians’ funeral rites. Again, as far as I have been able to ascertain, neither has it been done for any other African tribe. This study surveyed traditional funeral rites that were observed by the Agikuyu before they interacted with other cultures and religions. Also surveyed was how the contemporary Agikuyu are coping with death; what the funeral rites were during Biblical times, as revealed in Scripture; how did the early Christians cope with death and how did the Church fathers teach the faithful how to handle issues surrounding death. The issue of resurrection and of the resurrected body was also surveyed. A critical correlation of all these aspects was done, which compared all those aspects with each other in order to establish what relationship the various traditions have with each other and with the current Agikuyu Christian practice of coping with death.

The study has shown that the Agikuyu traditional funeral practices are neither known nor followed by the contemporary Agikuyu. Also observed isthat funeral practices of the Jews in scripture were not normative. Additionally, it was shown in the study that funeral and burial rites practised by the early Christians were not directed by the early Christian fathers to be necessarily observed by future Christians.

The study has revealed that the current mode of coping with death of contemporary Agikuyu Christians differs substantially from Agikuyu traditional funeral practices; are not in line with those observed and practised during Biblical times as revealed in scripture, and have little resemblance to those of the early Christians.

Consequently, contemporary Agikuyu Christians, through ignorance or for other reasons, have developed practices for coping with death that have little connection with those of Agikuyu tradition, scripture and those of early Christianity. Their current mode of coping with death is termed “customary”, while in fact it is an adaptation from practices of other races, tribes, cultures and religions. Were the Agikuyu to curb numerous practices and demands which they deem necessary and “customary”, when in actual fact they are not, funerals for them would become cheaper, faster, simpler, and at the same time would be decent enough for the dead. Additionally, it would take care of those left behind and would bring glory to God. Pertinent recommendations are made to the Agikuyu Christians in this regard.

–  –  –

To God Almighty who gave me life and the ability to accomplish this task.

To my supervisor, Dr Kevin Gary Smith (DLitt; PhD) whose guidance was invaluable in the accomplishment of this study; for his reacting promptly to all my submissions and numerous requests. Dr Smith and the South African Theological Seminary Registrar of Postgraduate Studies, Mrs Leschenne Rebuli, were there when needed and they never stepped back. To the assistance and understanding I have received from SATS, including from the Principal Dr Reuben David van Rensburg, who authorized a partial scholarship for me when my studies almost came to a halt due to a cash flow problem I was facing near the completion of my doctoral programme.

My darling wife Dr Naomi W Mbugua PhD and our children Waithera, Nyokabi, Dr Njeri and Njoki who gave me love, support and encouragement during this study. To my sons-in-law for their moral support.

My gratitude and appreciation goes to the Chief Librarians and staff of Tangaza College, Nairobi; the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), Nairobi;

Africa International University (NEGST), Nairobi; Saint Paul’s University, Limuru and Daystar University, Nairobi. Also to the personnel of Kenya National Archives, Nairobi, Kenya.





Finally, to my respondents and all who gave me assistance and their views on numerous issues that were required in the completion of this dissertation.

May the Almighty God bless you all and your families now and always.

–  –  –

To all the Agikuyu, living and dead who are the subject of this study.

Also to all Christians the world over who might find this study helpful in coping with the death of their loved ones.

Finally to theologians, scholars, students, researchers, pastors, academic institutions and other readers who might find this study helpful.

May Almighty God shower His blessings on you all.

–  –  –

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abstract

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

DEDICATION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

LIST OF FIGURES

LIST OF TABLES

ABBREVIATIONS

CHAPTER 1

1.1 Introduction

1.2 Purpose of the Study

1.3 Problem Statement

1.4 Objectives of the Study

1.5 Research Questions

1.6 Significance of the Study

1.7 Scope of the Study

1.8 Limitations and Delimitations

1.9 The Current State of Scholarship

1.10 Methodology

CHAPTER 2

2.1 Introduction

2.2 The Agikuyu

2.3 Origin of the Agikuyu

2.4 Agikuyu Society and Culture

2.5 Relationship of the Agikuyu with their Neighbours especially the Maasai 43 2.6 The Kikuyu Traditional Religion

2.7 The Agikuyu Ancestral Spirits (Ngoma)

2.8 Agikuyu Traditional Burial Rites

Death Ceremonies – Members of the Agikuyu Guild

2.9 Death Ceremonies of an Elder – Agikuyu Guild

2.10 2.11 Extramarital Sex, Sex Taboos and Some Other Aspects Of Agikuyu Sex Life That Were Observed in the Past but not Presently

Disposal of the Dead – Agikuyu Guild – Others

2.12 Disposal – Abnormal Deaths of Kikuyu Guild Members

2.13 2.14 The Ukabi (Maasai) Guild Burials and Accompanying Rites

2.15 Summary of the Kikuyu Rites Concerning Death

2.16 Traditional Funeral Rites of Selected African Tribes

2.16.1 Akamba View of Death and Their Burial Rites

2.16.2 Kenya - Gusii Tribe

2.16.3 Tanzania - Sukuma People

2.16.4 Ghana - The Ga-Adangbe people

2.16.5 Nigeria – The Urhobo People

2.16.6 English Funeral Rites

2.17 Some Examples of Bizarre Funeral Rites and Practices

2.17.1 Zoroastrians of Persia and India Funeral Practices

2.17.2 Funeral Rites – The Poor of the Philippines

2.18 Funeral Rites of Other Religions

2.18.1 Judaism Funeral Rites

2.18.2 Islamic (Muslim) Funeral Rites

2.18.3 Hindu Funeral Rites

2.18.4 Buddhist Funerals

2.18.5 Humanist Funeral Ceremonies

2.19 Economy of Burial Grounds

2.19.1 The City of Paris

2.19.2 Italy

2.19.3 West Germany

2.19.4 Mexico

2.19.5 Final Observation about Future Cemetery Space

CHAPTER 3: PRESENT-DAY BURIAL RITES OF THE AGIKUYU CHRISTIANS107

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Changes that have Taken Place over the Last 120 Years to the Agikuyu Methods of Disposing of the Dead

3.3 Noticeable Development of Agikuyu Funeral Rites since Independence (1963)

3.4 Present-day Agikuyu Funeral Rites

3.5 Recent Development Touching on Modern Agikuyu Christian Funeral Rites

CHAPTER 4: BURIAL IN THE BIBLICAL PERIOD

4.1 Introduction and Methodology

4.2 Burial in the Biblical Period

Burial of Patriarchs and Matriarchs – Old Testament

4.3

4.4 Burial of other Biblical Patriarchs and Matriarchs

4.5 Burial During the Period of the Exodus and Conquest Generations....... 154

4.6 Burial During the Period of the Judges

4.7 Burial During the Monarchic Period

4.8 The Pentateuchal Legislation on Burial and Mourning

Burial Practices – Israel in Palestine

4.9

4.10 Burial Practices in the New Testament

4.11 Summary of the Biblical Rites of Burial and Burial Customs.................. 166

4.12 Conclusion

CHAPTER 5: BURIAL RITES FOR THE EARLY CHRISTIANS FROM AD 33 TO

AD 600, AND ALSO DURING THE MIDDLE AGES

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Synopsis of Early Christianity

5.3 Early Christian Burial Rites

5.3.1 Introduction

Acts Performed Before Death – Early Christianity

5.3.2 5.3.3 Acts Performed Soon After Death

5.3.4 Clothing of the Dead

5.3.5 Crowning the Dead and Significance of Crowns in Early Christianity..... 190 5.3.6 The Wake Held Over the Dead

5.3.7 The Funeral Procession

5.3.8 The Singing of Psalms during the Christian Procession

5.3.9 Interment and Why the Early Christians Were Against Various Pagan Practices

5.3.10 The Christian Vale

5.3.11 Place and Mode of Burial

5.4 Christian Burial From the Middle Ages

5.5 Conclusion

CHAPTER 6: THE ISSUES OF RESURRECTION AND THE RESURRECTED

BODY

6.1 Introduction

6.2 The Concept of Resurrection and its Development among the Jews and Christians

Resurrection – the Biblical Teaching

6.3 6.4 Centrality of Resurrection in the New Testament

6.5 Denials of Resurrection

6.6 The Resurrection of Believers and the Resurrected Body

6.7 Conclusion

CHAPTER 7: CRITICAL CORRELATION OF THE STUDY

7.1 A Table Offering a Visual Summary and Correlation of the Funeral Practices of the Various Traditions Discussed in this Study

7.2 Regarding this Chapter

7.3 How the Idea of Burial Arose

7.4 Actions Performed Before Death

7.5 Actions Done Soon After Death

7.6 Clothing of the Dead

7.7 Crowning the Dead

7.8 The Wake Held Over the Dead

7.9 Mourning

7.10 Funeral Procession and Time of Burial

7.11 Interment

7.12 Place of Burial

7.13 Rituals Performed After Burial

7.14 Life After Death

7.15 Economy of Burial Grounds and Spaces

7.16 The Chapter that Follows

CHAPTER 8: RECOMMENDATIONS, CONCLUSION, AREAS OF FURTHER

RESEARCH AND CONTRIBUTION TO THE FIELD OF

PRACTICAL THEOLOGY

8.1 Introduction

8.2 Recommendation Towards Formulating A Model For Agikuyu Christians’ Funeral Rites That Integrates Relevant Cultural, Scriptural and Practical Norms

The Recommended New Model For The Agikuyu Christians’ Funeral 8.2.1 Rites And For Comparative Purposes The Visual Summary Presented In Chapter 7 Of Funeral Practices Of The Various Traditions................ 282 8.2.2 Range of Recommendations

8.2.3 Legal Aspect

8.2.4 Acts to be performed before death including leaving a will, and similar. 289 8.2.5 Indicating how and where one wishes to be buried

8.2.6 Fear of death

8.2.7 Respect to the Body

8.2.8 Acts to be performed soon after death

8.2.9 Same day as death funeral or an immediate funeral

8.2.10 Planning of Burial if it will take place a few days or weeks after death... 297 8.2.11 Planning for the burial of those who die far from home, especially outside the country

8.3 Simplifying Funeral Procedures, Reducing Costs and Adopting Alternative Funeral Practices

8.3.1 Simplicity

8.3.2 Mortuary

8.3.3 Delaying Burial

8.3.4 Announcements

8.3.5 Clothing the dead

8.3.6 Funeral procession

8.3.7 Funeral photographs and Videos

8.3.8 Taking the body to church

8.3.9 Cost

8.3.10 Graves

8.3.11 Tombstones

8.3.12 Flowers

8.3.13 Feeding mourners

8.3.14 Giving to the poor

8.3.15 Cremation

8.3.16 Unveiling the Cross

8.4 Conclusion

8.5 Areas of Further Research

8.5.1 Similarity between the Wa Sukuma of Tanzania and the Agikuyu of Kenya

8.5.2 The issue of widows succumbing to tradition

8.5.3 Before the current High God (Ngai or Mwene Nyagah) of the Agikuyu which was their Deity?

8.6 How This Study Contributes to the Field of Practical Theology.............. 321 WORKS CITED

APPENDIX I: Saturday Nation – National News: October 10, 2009, Page 9..... 340 APPENDIX II: Respondents Interviewed Regarding The Kikuyu Culture, Tradition, Religion and Traditional Funeral Rites

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1: The layout of a traditional homestead of a man with four wives.............. 122 Figure 2: The layout of a traditional homestead of a man with four wives, a widowed mother and three married sons

LIST OF TABLES



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