Performance in propitiatory reconciliation among the Nandi community




propitiation, reconciliation, performance, Nandi


Propitiation is part of what it means to be human. Traditionally, propitiation has been studied from a broad sociocultural perspective with little consideration of the performance processes at play. Among the Nandi community in Kenya, propitiatory offering reconciliation forms the core of restoration of inter-communities relationships. It defines and enriches their culture, but what is propitiatory offering reconciliation? How is it performed? Are there any steps followed in its execution? Is there a specific place of performance? In this article we provide a framework to understand the Nandi propitiatory reconciliation through a literary perspective. We expound on the steps followed: investigation, interrogation, and cleansing, and the three features of performance: that is, place of performance, actions and signs, formulaic expression, costumes, and audience. The data collection took place in Kabiyet and Kipkaren Wards in Nandi county and was collected through participatory observation, interviews, and questionnaires. The sample population was 30 adults between the ages of 45–90 years who were selected using purposive and snowball sampling techniques. The data collected on performance in propitiatory reconciliation rites was analysed by use of functionalism theory as expounded by Foley. We found that the stages of propitiatory reconciliation must be religiously adhered to for its effectiveness and that the success of its performance heavily depends on the participation of its performers and audience. This article also brings out performance in form of particular acts, singing, and chanting.


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Author Biographies

Anthony Biwott, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya

Anthony Kipkoech Biwott is a PhD student in the Department of Kiswahili and Other African Languages, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya.

Collins Kenga Mumbo, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya

Collins Kenga Mumbo is lecturer in the Department of Kiswahili and Other African Languages, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya.

Robert Oduori, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya

Robert Oduori is associate professor in the Department of Kiswahili and Other African Languages, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya.


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How to Cite

Biwott, A., Mumbo, C. K., & Oduori, R. (2023). Performance in propitiatory reconciliation among the Nandi community. Tydskrif Vir Letterkunde, 60(3), 27–35.



Research articles