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Images and Circles of Life: Motherhood, Ancestors and Spirits

Warigia Bowman


Wairimu Tabitha Gethaiga Bowman was a pioneer. She was a Gikuyu woman who got access to formal education early, made the most of it, and traveled to a foreign land. However, like many immigrants, Wairimu also suffered from being caught between several worlds. She was never really able to build a career in her new world. In the end, her American children thrived, but her Kenyan children did not. She died young, estranged from her African birthplace. Indeed, Wairimu represents the changing role of women in both the societies she inhabited. Her daughter, Warigia returned to Kenya to build a family, and reconnect with her mother’s family. She attempted to finish some of the work started by her mother, and has tried to memorialize her mother’s life through her work. Methodologically, this is a memoir. It is based on reflections, memories, interviews with relatives, and some reference to Kenyan historical sources.


Kenya; Kikuyu; Women; Career; Marriage; Motherhood; Othaya; Daughter

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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