Intergenerational relations among the Samia of Kenya: culture and experience

Maria G. Cattell
1994 Southern African Journal of Gerontology  
Culture in the sense of beliefs or norms for behaviour may be at variance with the actual e.>.perience of individuals, as is the case with intergenerational relationships among the Samia of rural Western Kenya. Samia has undergone enormous changes in the 20th century; these changes have created differences in the knowledge and experiences of older and younger generations. While there is consensus across generations about behavioural norms based on principles of seniority, respect and
more » ... , views diverge regarding how well ideals are lived up to in actual behaviour. Young people say that elders often do not understand modern life and they prefer being with other young people; many older people say that the young do not respect their elders, nor do they want to walk or sit and talk with elders. However data reported here indicate that contacts beMeen generations are frequent, providing opportunities for social interaction, skill acquisition, emotional support and reciprocal exchanges. Examples given include patterns of association in daily activities, the nature of intergenerational discourse, and family decision making involving Mo or more generations. Though not always smooth, relationships heMeen J?enerations are important sources of social interaction and mutual assistance, and frequent contacts provide a sense of generational continuity in afast-
doi:10.21504/sajg.v3i2.45 fatcat:7f6et24wcvbmrkhfmcj7dym6li