Ethnography The interviewee in this case is a female whose native language is Swahili.


The interviewee in this case is a female whose native language is Swahili. She was born into a Muslim family and has practiced the religion from birth. She comes from a patriarchal family where the men are placed above women. The women are subject to the men. Females cannot carry out some activities such as going into a mosque. A woman in this community cannot inherit land or make any major decisions in the family. Their opinion is not important and they do not have any voice in the community decisions. The man on the other hand has all the power in the family. The man is allowed by their religion to marry up to four wives and the woman can in no way refuse this aspect. According to this religion, the women are inferior beings as compared to men and they cannot do certain things such as drive cars or marry men from other religions.

The consequences of not abiding to the rules are severe. For instance, if a woman commits adultery then they are punished by public stoning. They children belong to the father and the entire family is known from the father’s side of the family. Their diet is mostly specially cooked rice commonly known as pilau. They cook other special meals during the months of Ramadhan. This is a religious festival where the members eat at specified times. They fast and pray during the month of Ramadhan. They listen to taarab music. The music is in either Swahili or on Arabic. The women are not allowed to dress scantily or in tight clothes. They are required to cover their entire body in clothes known as buibuis. Some very strict ones cover the entire face leaving the eyes only while there are some can leave out their entire faces. The men on the other hand wear kanzus to the mosque and a unique cap.

It was very hard to convince the respondent to answer all the questions because of their religion. The women cannot speak on behalf of the men and if they do, they are required to ask for permission from their husband or fathers. Keeping this in mind, the respondent was very reluctant to speak to me. They had to be assured that the interview was confidential and that they would not be disclosed to anyone. It was very hard identifying the person to talk to since a stranger is viewed as suspicious and people in that community rarely talk to strangers. The easiest target was however reached out to and the required information retrieved. It was also very difficult for her to disclose any sexual issues as their religion forbids it and as the interviewer, I had to give up on that issue.

Issues that would require further research would include the issue of the buibuis and why some women cover their entire faces while some cover only their hair. I would also like to know why they cover their heads in the first place and the significance of the practice. It would also be interesting to know why women are not allowed to pray inside the mosque. I would like to know why women are discriminated against and why they are looked down upon and where this law originates from their culture is quite different from what people are used to in the conventional world.