NAIROBI, Kenya Oct. 12, 2010 -- The relatives of Kenya's most prominent polygamist, Acentus Akuku have started a Facebook page, to connect with each other, and to get as many of them as possible to attend his funeral. Nicknamed "Danger" because women found him irresistibly handsome Akuku Danger was in his late 90's when he died from natural causes earlier this month. He married more than 100 women in his lifetime and fathered nearly 200 children.
Now one of his grandsons, Nickson Mwanzo, has turned to the social network Web site to convince Akuku's children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, to come together for his burial, scheduled for December.
"IF YOU ARE AKUKU'S FAMILY PLIZ JOIN AND SAY MORE ABOUT YOURSELF," Mwanzo writes on the page "THIS IS TO BRING THE RELATIVES TOGETHER."
So far over 2,000 people are fans of the page, but not all of them are relatives. Mwanzo told reporters that the "Akuku Danger Family" page is also a tribute to the man.
Condolences have been pouring in since his death. One Facebook post says that Akuku left a lasting mark, "not only among family" but with the "whole world."
Akuku Danger was legendary in Kenya. He married his first wife in 1939, and his second wife soon after, becoming a polygamist at the age of 22. He's outlived 12 of his wives. He married his last wife in 1992. He had so many children that Akuku established two elementary schools solely to educate his children, as well as a church for his growing family to attend.
Today those schools still exist. At one school, 72 out of the 312 students are Akuku grandchildren; the rest are children from the community. Many of his children have grown up to become teachers, doctors and lawyers. In interviews Akuku had told local journalists he was responsible for naming all of his children, as a way to bond with them.
Members of the family told Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper that despite the clan's enormity, everyone got along well. Son and family spokesman Dr Tom Akuku, told the newspaper his father valued discipline and work ethic, but was not a tyrant.
Changing Roles, Family Values in Kenya
"He was very democratic," said Dr. Akuku "He managed the large family through dialogue and regular meetings during which we talked freely and bonded with one another."
To Kenyans, Akuku Danger represented the ultimate symbol of traditional manhood – and of a time when gender relations seemed simpler than today.
Over Akuku's lifetime, traditional gender roles in Kenya have changed somewhat. While marriage is still the ideal, Kenyan women today are not as reliant on the institution for financial stability. There are now as many women in universities as men, and women hold top level positions in companies. Women are also having fewer children than is the historical norm, even in rural areas.
Many Kenyans said these social changes, along with the continued modernization of Kenya's economy, make a lifestyle like Akuku's unrealistic today.
"I think he was gifted, or something like that," said Mark Njagi, an accountant in Nairobi. "I would never consider getting more than one wife since this would be too much drama."
The widows of Akuku Danger said they have mostly happy memories.
Damaris, who is wife number 13, told the Daily Nation that the secret to keeping everyone happy was treating all of his wives equally. She said he bought all of their clothes and provided them with everything they needed.
"He would say he wanted us to look like queens," she said