Haramisi and Jumaa: The Story of the Women’s Meetings in East Africa Yearly Meeting 1902-1979


Autumn 1999 No 5 – 01/10/1999


Author: Esther Mombo

Document Code: WJ05

Description: It is with great pleasure that I introduce this edition of The Woodbrooke Journal. I first met Esther Mombo briefly in 1997 at the joint FWCC/Woodbrooke Consultation on Identity, Authority and Community, but I have got to know her far better in these last six months as she came to Woodbrooke as one of the Eva Koch Fellows. It has been a pleasure and privilege to work with Esther and she has given enormously to the Woodbrooke community in her time here.

Esther has been working these last years at the University of Edinburgh on her doctoral research on the position of Luyia women within Kenyan Quaker Christianity. In her thesis, now in the Woodbrooke Library, she shows how the good intentions of Arthur Chilson and the other Quaker missionaries often backfired, given their incomplete understanding of the local Luyia culture (into which they attempted to introduce their own ideas). Luyia women needed to survive within the tensions created between two patriarchal systems as the Missionaries tried to replace one with what they thought was a more egalitarian model.

Esther’s thesis is a wonderful piece of work which I hope will find a wider audience. This journal is but a snapshot of some of the themes she develops more fully in the thesis, a story of women organising themselves and gradually finding a voice for themselves within Kenyan Quakerism.

Ben Pink Dandelion

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