The widow, the will, and widow-inheritance in Kampala: Revisiting victimisation arguments.
MetadataShow full item record
Widows are often presented as victims of patriarchal sexual dictates in analyses of widow-inheritance. Our study explored experiences of widowhood in Kampala. Ethnographic fieldwork combined participant observation, semi-structured individual interviews, and focus group discussions. Widows are heterogeneous. Many husbands died intestate. Husbands commonly exclude their wives from will-writing. A Muganda man's last funeral rites include widow-cleansing. Widows get omukuza - levirate guardian. Our data contest overt sexualisation of levirate relationships. Exchange and opportunity cost are crucial to sexualising of processes within widowhood. Meanings associated with widowhood are transforming. Rather than a frozen construct, sexuality of widows is changing because of HIV/AIDS, intermarriages, religious synchronisations, recurrent deaths, and poverty. While some widows felt victims of circumstances leading to sexual activities with levirate-guardians, many others challenged sexualising the levirate relationship. A few benefited from sexually engaging with levirate-guardians. Victimisation is only one of many meanings interloped within widowhood.